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Founded 1987

AF has acquired the original posters and a Keith Haring T-Shirt from 1987, rescued from Hamburg, Germany and a storage facility in the Texas desert.

If you visited Hamburg, Germany, in the summer of 1987, you might have been one of the lucky 250,000 people to attend the original Luna Luna.

It was a carnival designed by some of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Visitors got to ride a small Ferris wheel adorned with paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. They could waltz inside a cylindrical pavilion created by David Hockney. They could wind through Roy Lichtenstein's pop art glass labyrinth, with music by Philip Glass. Fairgoers could also walk inside a mirrored geodesic dome decorated by surrealist Salvador Dalí, and they could ride a carousel painted with bright graffiti figures spray painted by Keith Haring.

"I thought the idea sounded great because it is, in a way, something that has been a fantasy of mine since the first time I went to Disneyland or went to amusement parks in America when I was a kid," the late Keith Haring said in 1987 in a documentary about the park.

Luna Luna was the brainchild of Austrian multimedia artist André Heller — an avant-garde poet, singer and impresario. He was known in Europe for his hot air balloon sculptures, acrobatic circuses and firework spectacles that could be seen over the Berlin Wall.

Luna Luna closed down after just three months, dashing Heller's grand plans to tour the park around the world. "It was an absolute masterpiece," he recalls in a documentary. "I had it in my hands, and I let it slip away."

Details of exactly what happened are as muddy as the fairgrounds had been that rainy German summer. Michael Goldberg, a creative director in New York, says some fundraising deals fell through, and then Heller went back and forth with an American foundation that wanted to bring Luna Luna to San Diego. "The foundation basically tried to back out of the deal and it ended up going through litigation in three different courts," he says. In the end, everything that was in Luna Luna — dismantled rides, artwork and original merchandise — was packed into 44 shipping containers. They languished on a desert ranch in Texas for decades.

Excerpted from this NPR article:



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