Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy Featuring Ferris wheel by Basquiat, Carousel by Haring & more

Luna Luna back in 1987 was a conceptual art amusement park created in Hamburg, Germany by Austrian multimedia artist and performer André Heller with the help of a few contemporary artists of the time— it includes a bizarre ferris wheel by Basquiat, a hand-painted swing set by Kenny Scharf, an ultra cool carousel by Keith Haring, a Dali funhouse and more…

The amusement park was established and functional just one summer. It included works by 30 of famous artists who contributed and customized classic theme park rides in their own vision. It was more of an experiential art show, and museum if you will, disguised as a Carnival fair.

Heller took 10 years to bring together the team of artists and build his dream project, from meeting with Delaunay in Paris in 1976 and Keith 10 years later in NYC.

Delaunay entrance structure with colorful concentric circles for Luna Luna and Painted chair swing ride by Kenny Scharf
Delaunay entrance structure with colorful concentric circles for Luna Luna and Painted chair swing ride by Kenny Scharf

After that summer, dues to budget issues the Luna Luna attractions were disassembled, and put in containers. Heller had plans to exhibit them internationally but that never materialized. All the treasures were sealed in 44 shipping containers and forgotten in Texas till they were resurrected by Drake.

Musician Drake who heard of these artworks were sitting in storage saw the immense potential in these fun artworks and along with the help of his team DreamCrew has restored the rides to bring us Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy! It is said to have cost him (and Live Nation) around $100 million.

Luna Luna’s attractions are fabulously creative, provoking, poking fun and some outright crazy. The artistic visionary in all the carnival attractions makes you feel like a child again longing for a box of paint or crayons to go town with… that’s pretty magical, I think. Tell me, does it get your creative spirit up?

Luna Luna Forgotten Fantasy, an Art Museum & Amusement Park

The new Luna Luna (when we visited December 2024 in Los Angeles) included installations, rides, and performances that range from a pavilion called Enchanted Tree by David Hockney to a carousel by Keith Haring and a Ferris wheel by Jean Michel Basquiat, colorful entrance structure by Sonia Delaunay, a mirror house by Salvador Dalí, hand-painted swing set by Kenny Scharf, and glass labyrinth by Roy Lichtenstein.

There is also a Spiral labyrinth by Susanne Schmögner, and a Palace of Winds by Walter Navratil. Inside, specialist “performers” farted into microphones and it was played for a live audience accompanied by classical music! More storage containers are being opened and the team is working on restoring the carnival pieces they find inside these treasure troves of modern art.

Keith Haring, Luna Luna Forgotten Fantasy, Art Amusement Park
Keith Haring’s iconic line drawing appeared on large tarps in the amusement park of Luna Luna

Sonia Delaunay co-founded Simultané (“Simultanism”), a movement which was based on geometry and color theory. She worked in visual art, textiles, fashion, furniture design, experimental dance, and theater. Her pursuit was always color and she viewed her dresses as color studies, not to be separated from her painting practice.

Keith Haring's iconic line drawing appeared on large tarps in the amusement park of Luna Luna

Delaunay is defined by her trademark use of concentric circles and simultaneous color contrasts and had discussed her ideas to create an entrance for Luna Luna with André Heller. Executed by Heller’s team, the entrance to the carnival archway incorporates a steel-frame entrance gate and double-sided electric “LUNA LUNA” sign inspired by her custom-designed alphabet.

Painted chair swing ride and freestanding sculptures by Kenny Scharf

Roy Lichtenstein designed exterior panels for this glass labyrinth. Each side of his Luna Luna Pavilion follows the logic from his 1985 “Perfect/Imperfect” painting series. See his paintings at The Broad.

Dali’s Dalidom, is based on the Dream of Venus surrealist funhouse designed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He often combined distorted figures and everyday objects to form reimagined worlds. If you want to see more of the cultural movement that favored the subconscious over rational human thought, a visit to Salvadore Dalí’s Theatre-Museum in Figueres is a must.

Painted Ferris wheel with music by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

For Luna Luan Arik Brauer from “Vienna School of Fantastic Realism” made a carousel designed with eight mythical characters—a butterfly, a she-wolf, a mermaid, and hand-horse that double as seats.

André Heller created two attractions for Luna Luna: The Dream Station, an inflatable structure with spikes that housed a cafe (which is outside), and a Wedding Chapel installation where guests could marry whomever or whatever they wanted. We saw a group of three getting married…

Panels of blue, red, and green abstract trees – David Hockney, Enchanted Tree

Keith Haring’s a brightly colored carousel featuring seats in bubble-gum pink, lime green, and tangerine orange. All of them look like three-dimensional versions of the characters from his iconic drawings. Other characters from his line drawing appeared on large tarps displayed throughout the park.

Throughout early 2024, there will be limited entry to most of the attractions at the new Luna Luna amusement park. If you are lucky you might even see some performers like juggles, puppeteers, fire swallowers and stilt walkers—just like it was back in the day in Hamburg.

How you can visit Luna Luna Forgotten Fantasy

Tickets are under $40 for adults and $20 for kids for visiting this Artsy Carnival. Luna Luna currently sits in a 60,000-square-foot warehouse complex in Los Angeles and you can buy tickets at Luna Luna’s website. They also a collection of Luna Luna merchandise you can buy. For the entering a few attractions like the Dalidom and the Enchanted Tree by David Hockney you will need the Moon Pass tickets.

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