Suco Mermaid, 1994 , Oil on panel, 46.5 x 96 inches

Kenny Scharf's colorful street art murals capture something so simultaneously nostalgic and alien, familiar and straight-up weird, it's nearly impossible not to smile. The iconic artist, who rose to fame in the 1980s alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, injects his massive paintings with heavy doses of psychedelia and science fiction, tweaking any childish cartoons into their bizarro beast counterpart. For years Scharf has eschewed art world elitism to create images that are undeniably happy, goofy and strange, invoking an otherworldly block party wherever they pop up.

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