Drake saved the Art Luna Park created by Basquiat, Dalì and Haring.


In 1984, André Heller had an extraordinary vision: create a large, 'Avant-Garde' themed amusement park in which every ride would be designed by contemporary artists, modelled on the famous Luna Park in Coney Island.

The Rapper pledged $100 Million to bring the ‘Carnival of the Vanguard’ Luna Luna, back to life.

In 1984, André Heller had an extraordinary vision: create a large, themed amusement park in which every ride would be designed by contemporary artists, modelled on the famous Luna Park in Coney Island. The purpose of the amusement park would have been – apart from fun for adults and children – to bring ‘ordinary people’ closer to the world of Modern Art, creating a ‘bridge’ between the artists – often entrenched behind a latent snobbism that prevented them from coming into contact with the masses – and the fairgoers.

In 1985, Heller received a grant of $350,000 to build the project of his dreams: he searched for leading artists and the first names popped up: Kenny Scharf, Philip Glass, Rebecca Horn, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michael Basquiat, Keith Haring. The only one to refuse, the reason is unknown, was John Cage.

Utopia was getting closer and closer: 220 craftsmen built 1900s-inspired rides, working alongside the world’s most famous artists, who had created the initial designs, manually decorating every single attraction in the park.

Highlights included a Ferris wheel designed by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a house of mirrors designed by Salvador Dali, and the classic carousel ride with horses, replaced by Keith Haring’s cheerful little men. Thirty huge pavilions, each dedicated to an artist.

First day of Luna Luna Park, Hamburg 1987

Luna Luna, the ‘Carnival of the Avant-Garde’, finally opened its gates in June 1987 in Hamburg, to an estimated audience of 250,000 people.

Ferris wheel designed by Jean-Michel Basquiat – Luna Luna 1987

Classic carousel ride designed by Keith Haring – Luna Luna 1987

House of mirrors designed by Salvador Dalì – Luna Luna, 1987

The initial idea for Luna Luna was that of a travelling fair, touring Europe and the United States, but the problems Heller had to face to realize the tour were insurmountable. As a Viennese, the artist also wanted to bring Luna Luna Park to his own city, but this proved to be complicated: the Viennese municipality planned to purchase and exhibit Luna Luna permanently but withdrew due to political issues.

Heller had to get into debt to keep up the high management costs: his wonderful utopia finally died in 1990, when he sold all that remained of the amusement park for $6 million to the Stephen and Mary Birch charity foundation, which intended to exhibit the fair permanently in San Diego. The idea, however, never materialized.

In 2007, the Luna Luna pieces were moved to a storage facility in rural Texas and there they remained, along with Heller’s many thoughts of a revival, but in 2009 something magical happened.

The founder of Something Special Studios Michael Goldberg learns about the story of Luna Luna and is deeply moved by it; he begins to share the unfortunate vicissitudes of an incredible project and looks for investors who can lift its ill fortunes. And he finds them, in the person of Drake, albeit more than ten years later.

Drake and DreamCrew begin negotiations with the Birch and Heller Foundation, bringing the rumored $100 million deal to a successful conclusion.

Luna Luna, Hamburg 1987

Luna Luna now lives in a 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, and despite the anxiety over the state of the artwork, they have held up by preserving the quality and original designs, which will still need to be restored, as they are too fragile to be commissioned and open to the public.

Next autumn in 2023, ‘Carnival of the Avant-Garde’ will return to its historical splendor, even improved: new rides, interactive experiences, restaurants, musical events and educational programs will be created. A team of curators, whose members come from Tate Modern, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Shed, will oversee the project under the guidance of art historian Helen Molesworth. This will be followed by a world tour in 2024 produced by Live Nation.

The great absentee of the project will – paradoxically – be André Heller himself, expelled for selling the drawings Basquiat made for Luna Luna. The incredible story of Art Luna Park will also become a docu-series by DreamCrew, the same company that produced HBO’s Euphoria, to be launched next February.

Visitors to Luna luna Park, Hamburg 1987

We just have to thank Drake and his philanthropy and eagerly await the official news of a Luna Luna tour in Europe!

For more info visit the official website: lunaluna.com



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