Fort Worth, TX
A major survey exhibition of the work of Brooklyn-based artist KAWS (American, born 1974), organized by Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth curator Andrea Karnes in close collaboration with the artist, this presentation will feature key paintings, sculptures, drawings, toys, and street art interventions to examine KAWS’s prolific career in depth, revealing critical aspects of his formal, conceptual, and collaborative developments over the last twenty years.
Spanning the worlds of graffiti, pop art, and consumer culture, KAWS’s bodies of work are highly charged, each conveying his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times, as well as his agility as an artist. He has primarily looked to and appropriated from pop-culture animations (including The Smurfs, The Simpsons, SpongeBob, Hanna-Barbera, and Peanuts) to form his artistic vocabulary for his paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Now well known for his larger-than-life sculptures and hard-edge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon/human characters, with similarities to popular cartoon figures and logos like Mickey Mouse and the Michelin Man, are perhaps the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. These figures have amicable names—Chum, Companion, Accomplice—and express and provoke an array of human emotions, from sad, overwhelmed, pathetic, and weary, to shy. They reflect feelings and situations we can empathize with in presentations that are balanced with humor, heartening in their cartoon aesthetic.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, KAWS: Where the End Starts, published in hardcover with more than 150 color reproductions, is a major survey of KAWS and his eye-popping work, from collectible art toys to UNIQLO T-shirts, from grafitti to museum exhibitions. KAWS: Where the End Starts explores the artist’s prolific career in depth, featuring key paintings, sculptures, drawings, toys, and fashion and advertising designs. This extensive monograph, including contributions from Andrea Karnes, Michael Auping, Dieter Buchhart and Pharrell Williams, reveals critical aspects of KAWS’ formal and conceptual development over the past 20 years, as his career has shifted from graffiti to fine art and collaborations with designers and brands such as Comme des Garçons, SUPREME, Nigo (A Bathing Ape) and Nike.