LUNA LUNA in LA; Debbie Carfagno at VFA

The works of some of the most playful Pop artists of the twentieth century were showcased at the Luna Luna carnival that opened in West Germany in 1987. A carousel by Keith Haring, a Basquiat ferris wheel, an enchanted tree by David Hockney, a glass labyrinth by Roy Lichtenstein, a house of mirrors by Salvador Dali, a swing by Kenny Scharf were all part of the playground.



Money, politics and other factors played a part in the end of the magical carnival after just one season. It was dismantled, and stored away in a warehouse in the Texas desert for more than thirty years.


Much serendipity, the rapper Drake and nearly $100 million has brought Luna Luna to Los Angeles. 


The rides are just for viewing and can’t be ridden, but the park is now open to visitors, who are coming from around the world to experience Luna Luna.



Debbie Carfagno (b.1957) is not just a smart and talented artist, she was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. After earning her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, in 1977, she began working with master printer, Rupert Smith.


Smith was Andy Warhol’s printmaker from 1976, until Warhol’s death, in 1987. Smith was also a fine artist. He used diamond dust in his own prints to enhance the light and color properties of his works, something that was also incorporated in many of Warhol’s prints. Smith also helped with the business side of Warhol’s production, by coordinating with publishers, overseeing the editioning process, and managing the distribution of the prints. 


Carfagno became a master seriographer. While she worked on her own art, she also helped Smith create works for Warhol. Carfango said that, unlike other artists, Warhol welcomed input from the people he worked with. “Normally artists like to tightly control all that, but Warhol's genius relied on incorporating energy and ideas from those around him.” Carfagno wrote, “If we were working on an image -- say Uncle Sam from the "Myth" series -- we would produce many color combinations until we came up with the perfect one which was chosen to be in the edition.”


Carfagno also taught at the printshop at the School of Visual arts, where Keith Haring was a student.  “One of my greatest memories,” she wrote, “was working with John Lennon on a portrait of Yoko Ono.”


Her most recent works are created in oil, some on canvas, some sculptural on aluminum. She uses a bold and unique color palette to create works that combine realism and abstraction. 




NiteTalk: Debbie Carfagno Pops Off About Warhol Et Al. NBCMiami. February 9, 2011.

Stroke of Genius: Rupert Smith. The Guardian/Television Industry. March 3, 2005.

Lauren Herstik. Take a Look but Not a Ride. The New York Times. January 1, 2024.

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

January 31, 2024
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