Frank Stella's Day Job, Rapper Drake Restores Luna Luna Art Park

Frank Stella’s father emigrated from Italy and worked as a house painter to put himself through medical school to become a gynecologist. Stella worked as a house painter, went to Princeton and became one of America’s most beloved artists. 

 

Andy Warhol was a successful commercial illustrator in New York, before giving up his day job to devote his life to his art. James Rosenquist painted signs. Donald Sultan worked at construction and incorporated leftover materials, like linoleum tiles and tar, into his paintings. Jeff Koons was a ticket taker at MoMA.

 

Sol Lewitt worked at MoMA’s book store. Jonas Wood worked as a studio assistant for painter Laura Owens and sculptor Matt Johnson after completing his Masters Degree from the University of Washington. (And, just for the record, Kathy Bates was a cashier in the MoMA gift shop before her acting career took off.)

 

Frank Stella’s Benjamin Moore paintings are part of an exhibit at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin that explores the way in which their Day Jobs affected the works of dozens of artists.

 

Day Jobs will be on exhibit through March 11th.

 


 

On May 17, 1903, a New York Times story headline read: LUNA PARK FIRST NIGHT: Coney Island Visitors Dazzled by Electric City. The article went on to describe the magic that the 45,000 visitors to Coney Island experienced on that first night. (Luna is the international name for amusement parks around the wold.) 

 

In 1987, Austrian artist Andre Heller dreamed of putting together an art amusement park, featuring rides that incorporated the works of great artists of the day. To that end, he called Andy Warhol. Warhol referred Heller to Jean-Michel Basquiat. Heller then got in touch with Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Salvador Dali.

 

Luna Luna, the world’s first art amusement park, was opened in Hamburg, Germany for thirteen weeks during the summer of 1987. It was a great success, but legal battles ensued, it was sold to a charitable foundation and placed in storage for more than thirty years. 

 

Through much serendipity, Canadian rapper, Drake, found out about the project and, through his company, DreamCrew, is restoring the artwork and getting it ready to go on a world tour, hopefully, some time this year.

 

To accompany the park’s revival, Phaidon has issued Luna Luna, a book written by Andre Heller in 1987. The book has been translated to English, with an updated preface by Andre Heller. The cover contains moon graphics that each artist created in 1987 and a special UV ink spine text that glows in the dark, like the moon.

 


 

References:

Michelle Harvey. Aer Work: Famous Former Staff. Inside/Out. The Museum of Modern Art Archives. July 1, 2010.

Austin Monthly. When Artists Don’t Quit Their Day Jobs, Amazing Things Can Happen. February 20, 2023.

Natasha Gural. ‘Luna Luna’ Art Amusement Park Revives Rides By Basquiat, Haring, Scharf, Hockney, Dalí, Other Masters, And Via Phaidon Tome. Forbes. February 7, 2023.

Joe Coscarelli. How Drake’s $100 Million Bet Saved the Long-Lost Art Carnival Luna Luna Luna. The New York Times. November 17, 2022.

The New York Times. Luna Park First Night: Coney Island Visitors Dazzled by Electric City. May 17, 1903.

March 10, 2023
45 
of 213