When the Austrian artist André Heller unveiled Luna Luna in the summer of 1987 in Hamburg, Germany, the expectations were grand. Envisioned as the first art-themed traveling amusement park, Luna Luna combined avant-garde and mainstream culture into a practical carnival spanning art, music, food, and irresistible activities, now subject to “one of art history’s best-kept secrets.”
Of the unique aspects, Heller sought out artists between 1976 and the late 1980s to transform the park’s rides into psychedelic artworks. The first art amusement park had David Hockney’s geometric forest pavilion, Keith Haring’s carousel, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Ferris wheel, Roy Lichtenstein’s glass labyrinth, and installations by Salvador Dali; amongst others.
Though short lived due to legal ownership and changes; the park was forced to close; and is set to relaunch after decades of being unseen, in 2023, with a multi-city tour through North America. The original collection of rides and attractions, which are currently being restored in a Los Angeles warehouse will be able to be ridden and new commissions from today’s most influential and innovative artists are slated to be released.
Phaidon will reissue the original Luna Luna book, which documents the creation of the original park, newly translated from German to English.
The relaunch comes with the help of a $100 million fund from producing company DreamCrew, led by musical rappers Drake and Future. He tells The New York Times when addressing the return of Luna Luna, “it’s such a unique and special way to experience art. This is a big idea and opportunity that centers around what we love most: bringing people together.”
Other art-themed rides include ones designed by artists Jean Tinguely, Rebecca Horn, Sonia Delaunay, Georg Baselitz, Hermann Nitsch among other artists.
The relaunch of Luna Luna invites the world to browse through a sea of stilt walkers, mimes, and theater characters, participate in a variety of carnival games, and ride up in the air while admiring hypnotic installations.
Visitors to Luna Luna can browse through a sea of stilt walkers, mimes, and theater characters, participate in various carnival games and ride up in the air while admiring hypnotic installations.
Partners of the project include Michael Goldberg (the founder of Something Special Studios), Daniel McClean (an international art attorney), and Justin Wills (an entrepreneur working at the intersection of art, culture, and technology). The force behind Luna Luna will help the three-decade-old initiative eventually realize its vision of viewing art as entertainment that can speak to various audiences by reinterpreting a pop spectacle through works that become the protagonists and objects of experience.