In the 1980s, the stylistic signature of Viennese multimedia artist André Heller revolved around extravagant works with a strong scenic impact. Flying statues and fireworks displays in the summer of 1987 turned on a light bulb for Haller, who wanted spectacular art that could actively entertain fans. Thus was born Luna Luna, the first art-themed traveling amusement park, in which Ferris wheels and rides were painted and decorated by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists.
The project, which wanted to bring attractions by such art giants as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Salvador Dalí, David Hockey, and Roy Lichtenstein around the world nevertheless failed to pass the first stage in Hamburg. Bureaucratic problems related to the sale of Luna Luna and some legal disputes shut down the amusement park for 35 years, until 2022, when the project was taken over by André Heller and his son.
The rides, which had been sitting idle in storage for all these years, were cleaned up in a new warehouse in Los Angeles, and thus the works of the various artists began to resurface.
The idea of Luna Luna is the idea of conceiving art as entertainment capable of speaking to different registers, reinterpreting a popular spectacle such as the playground through the works, which become protagonists and objects to be experienced in a physical way. Through a playful approach, therefore, art becomes an object to be explored thanks to references close to a wide range of people, a communicative, before artistic, idea proper to Pop Art, a current to which some of the artists involved such as Haring and Lichtenstein belong.
Now the project is ready to tour North America again, years after that first experiment in the 1980s, and after a debut as early as January 2022, when the rapper Drake and his company DreamCrew also funded the project with $100 million.