Kurt Wenner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Iskandar, the last king of Singapore in the fourteenth century by Kurt Wenner at the National Museum of Singapore

Kurt Wenner is an artist best known for his development of 3-D pavement art. Wenner was inspired by anamorphic perspective, but had to invent an entirely new geometry in order to create 3-D pavement art images.

Early life and education[edit]

Kurt Wenner was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 17, 1958, but grew up in Santa Barbara, California. Kurt Wenner produced his first commissioned mural at the age of 16, and within a year he was earning his living as a graphic artist.[citation needed] He attended both Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design.[citation needed]


Wenner worked for NASA as an advanced scientific illustrator, creating conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes.[citation needed] In 1982 he left NASA, sold all of his Mantua.[further explanation needed]

In the mid-1980s[1] Wenner first introduced 3-D pavement art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.[citation needed] Shortly after that he founded the first street painting festival in the United States at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara, California. The Old Mission festival, also known as I Madonnari, continues to this day as do many of the festivals and events Wenner started throughout the country.[citation needed] One often-overlooked fact of Wenner's career is that he dedicated one month every year, for ten years, to teach more than 100,000 students from elementary through university level how to work with chalks and pastels.[where?] For his dedication, he was awarded the Kennedy Center Medallion for his outstanding contribution to arts education.[citation needed]

With the increasing popularity of Wenner's images, hundreds of artists around the globe became inspired to create their own versions of three-dimensional pavement art. Artists such as Julian Beever, Manfred Stader, and Edgar Müller, as well as others can trace their roots back to his deveopment in the early 1980s.[citation needed]

Wenner's images always tell a story and challenge the public to reconsider the use of classicism, which had been rejected during the era of modernism. Wenner believes that the language of classicism is a critical tool that has been overlooked for far too long. He developed 3-D pavement art precisely to illustrate that a new art form can be expressed within this language. Wenner has not only become known for his own body of work, he has inadvertently become the father of an art movement.[citation needed]

After participating in countless festivals, Wenner returned to fine art painting on commission and also creating sculptures, decorative stucco relief, ceramic murals, architectural designs, and numerous images for publicity and advertising. Wenner's latest creation is his book, Asphalt Renaissance, which documents the history of pavement art and his role in transforming it from a dying tradition to a dynamic multi-dimensional art form.

Wenner lived in Rome for 25 years before returning to the United States.[when?][citation needed] His work has been exhibited in 30 countries.[citation needed]

He was featured at the Sarasota Chalk Festival in 2011 as a lecturer, and he also created a street painting at the event with students, as an instructional lesson on perspective.[2] He was to return to the 2012 Sarasota festival for lectures and street painting.[citation needed]

Media coverage[edit]

1987 – Masterpieces in Chalk, a National Geographic documentary featuring Wenner's work in Europe, won first place in the fine arts division at the New York Film Festival, and in 1991, Swiss-German Television created a 45-minute documentary on his work in Italy.[citation needed]

1988 – I Madonnari alla festa delle Grazie, director Paolo Mercurio, cultural Project Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Mantua – Grazie di Curtatone, Italy, August 1988.[citation needed]

1996 – Wenner created a print ad for Absolut Vodka as part of its commissioned art series. The ad is known as Absolut Wenner, and the creation of the image was portrayed in a television commercial.[citation needed]

2010 – Greenpeace called for a ban of genetically modified crops and presented the European Union members in Brussels with one million signatures on a petition at the site of a 22-by-22-metre (72 by 72 ft) image in 3-D by Kurt Wenner that had been created for the ceremony.[3] The giant composition set a world record for the largest image of its kind drawn by a single person.[4][5]



  1. ^ I was director of the museum at the time and commissioned him to create a chalk mural on the plaza of our new Alice Keck Park wing[citation needed]
  2. ^ Ed Bertha (November 17, 2011). "Kurt Wenner Anamorphic Chalk". allthingsrealestate.com. Real Magazine. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ Pispini, Myrto, Over a million EU Citizens finally have their say on GM crops,December 9, 2010
  4. ^ Pyramid Visuals, Avaaz and the Citizen's Initiative
  5. ^ Pyramid Visuals, Kurt Wenner

External links[edit]