SLAMDANCE 2021 Premiere – When it comes to Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide, which covers Kenny’s life in the art world from nowish back about 40 years, I’d say it’s more of a hangout documentary than anything else. That style works for some more than others, but I’m quite fine with it when done well and I think it’s done well here. 

What makes something a “hangout documentary” as opposed to whatever other kind of doc? If there’s no real overarching narrative or event to cover and it’s more of a day in the life or, in the case of Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide, a decades in the life look back then we’re in hangout territory. That’s not a criticism, by the way, as oftentimes a great way of getting to know someone is walking a mile in their shoes for the good times and the bad–which is exactly what this accomplishes. From the highs of young love to the lows of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s when it seemed like a third of Kenny’s art community friends & family slowly wasted away and beyond, the viewer gets a brief window into Kenny’s world.

I prefer the raw footage elements of Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide over the talking heads, personally, as I’m just less interested in what some random art collectors/curators/critics/etc have to say about what his art means than seeing it for myself (I’m not unaware of the irony and I *could* go on a tangent here, but I promise I won’t). Also, this is neither here nor there, but I was rather amused how several of the people I just mentioned seemed like they’d fit right in with the characters of Velvet Buzzsaw

Even though it isn’t my perfect world edit of raw footage, displays of his art, and present day Kenny Scharf giving his POV I still found this an interesting enough way to spend 80 minutes thanks overwhelmingly to Kenny himself. From everything presented here he definitely seems like a guy who always lived his life the only way he knew how without much concern for what’s “appropriate” or “normal” and I can sympathize. 

One of those atypical things Kenny embraced long ago is his love of using what we all commonly refer to as trash in his art. Old bottles, random knick-knacks, bits of seashells, plastic berry containers, and all kinds of stuff society discards as useless is given new life. For example, he decorated a bathroom wall of his with all kinds of sea shells he’s collected so it’s now become great for “bathroom shellfies”–ba dum bump!

If you’re happy with an affable remembrance to honor a person via lots of footage from the last several decades, talking heads as per usual, and a good deal with the subject himself (plenty of art on display, too) then give Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide a rent/download/whatever else one day.

Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide is currently playing at Slamdance 2021.


7 out of 10 Bathroom Shellfies


Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide
RATING: NR No Trailer Available
Runtime: 1 Hr. 17 Mins.
Directed By:
Written By: /


About the Author: Adem Cohen

Adem lives with his husband, dog(s), & cat(s) in an Arizonian city where any time not spent with/on the previously mentioned creatures is filled with writing, rowing, baking, and whatever else the day brings.
By Published On: February 25, 2021Categories: FIlm Festivals, Movies, Reviews, SlamdanceComments Off on KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE Lovingly Summarizes An Artist’s Life So Far–SLAMDANCETags: ,