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Two Kenny Scharf coconut donut paintings on left (top: “Coconut Donut in Space” and, bottom, “Coconut Donut at Dawn”), and the real live thing under black light! (Donut paintings via 1, 2, and GIF by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

When we first heard that artist Kenny Scharf would be teaming up with Doughnut Plant to create a limited-edition line of donuts, we knew we had to have them.

Four kinds of Kenny Scharf Doughnut Plant donuts (click to enlarge) (all photos by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)

On the occasion of his new exhibition at Paul Kasmin (which, as far as we can tell, does not include any pictures of donuts), Scharf teamed up with Doughnut Plant and contemporary-art-dessert commissioners Kreemart to turn seven of his famous donut paintings into real, live, edible treats. The flavors include Coconut Donut in Space, Cosmic Donut, and Pink Frosted Donut with Chocolate Sprinkles Over a Desert Landscape, and they are made with such esteemed ingredients as fresh coconuts, fresh organic raspberries, and organic sprinkles — though one is naturally left to wonder why the sprinkles aren’t artisanal and organic (hello?!).

Our box of donuts was relayed in a Doughnut Plant box, and each one wrapped in its own tissue paper and looking quite gooey and delicious. They also looked convincingly like Scharf’s paint creations, but for one disappointment: the donuts did not appear to actually be floating in space.

Before we could eat them, we needed to test a very important point: their promised ability to glow under a black light. (Note: donuts do not come with black light; purchase is necessary.)

Huddling around it, we glimpsed some effects — glowing sprinkles, most notably (must be all those organic ingredients!) — but also felt a little let down. It was only after we had eaten four out of the five donuts that we realized we hadn’t bought the proper black light. The fifth donut — as you can see above — did what it was supposed to do. Behold “Coconut Donut at Hyperallergic HQ” (2013).

The donuts themselves were quite decadent, as a donut should be; all of them were entirely glazed in addition to being frosted and sprinkled (or coconuted) on top. It may have been for that reason that some of us found them a bit too sweet. But their texture was wonderful — just the right balance of lightness and substance, and appropriately gooey.

We tried to feed a Pink Donut with Sprinkles in Space Fresh organic raspberries in the glaze with organic sprinkles on top to Chris Uphues’s wooden drooling/vomiting heart, but it didn’t take a bite.

Here are the one-line reviews from our office:

  • Kimberly (who ate a Pink Donut with Sprinkles in Space Fresh organic raspberries in the glaze with organic sprinkles on top): It’s the biggest and prettiest donut I’d ever eaten in my life.
  • Veken (who ate a Pink Frosted Donut with Chocolate Sprinkles Over a Desert Landscape Organic blueberries in the glaze, organic chocolate sprinkles on top): I wonder if the colors made it super sweet.
  • Hrag (who ate a Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles in Space Valrhona chocolate glaze with organic sprinkles donut ): Nice asymmetrical sprinkles, good taste, moist, but I wanted the coconut to look fluffier like in the paintings.

On the whole, we’d give Kenny Scharf’s first foray into edible donuts a rating of 4 donuts out of 5. The ingredients were clearly fresh, and they made for a great afternoon snack. Considering, however, that they cost $5 each, it would have been nice if they’d made us feel just a little more cosmic.

Kenny Scharf’s Doughnut Plant donuts will be for sale at the artist’s customized donut cart, Carzy Roy Al, in the Plaza at the Standard, High Line (848 Washington Street, Meatpacking District, Manhattan), beginning today and continuing through May 4, Thursday–Saturday, 7–10 pm.

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...

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