NYC///OPENING NITE RECAP: KAWS AT GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY
Roadtripping in NYC last week it was easy to get caught up in the flourish of first-rate openings while falling behind on the blogging. Time to play a bit of catch up now starting with the opening of KAWS‘ eponymous show of new work at the esteemed GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY, located, most appropriately, in a suite of the Playboy Enterprises building on 5th Avenue. The artist’s first proper show of art since his seismic debut at the New Museum in 2000, this collection of new and mostly large-scale paintings finds the Brooklyn-based artist and Pop Culture provocateur mining new artistic territory by breaking down the structure of his now-iconic cast of miscreant characters in a series of abstract paintings. Breaking from his recent streak of strict figurative renditions of classic cartoon characters in portrait series that portrayed and parodied the Simpsons, Fat Albert, Spongebob, and The Smurfs, among other, KAWS has now reduced his own player’s bodies & limbs to broken components of bigger and more colorful geometric compositions. Keeping true to his commercial aesthetic, the linework and color fills in all the works is so precise that it could easily be mistaken for a silkscreen or other mechanically-produced print, a further commentary on the commodification issue KAWS relentlessly addresses in all of his work. Adding some distinct physical presence to the show is a new 7-foot-tall sculptural interpretation of the artist’s classic “Chum” character alongside a series of thirty-three kandy-colored bronze replicas of his own head, displayed in neat rows like ancient Aztec trophy skulls for all his fans to see. Despite the highbrow environment of the gallery, KAWS’ starpower remained undiminished throughout the evening as a seemingly endless throng of young fans queued up for over three hours to get all manner of ephemera signed by the elusive phantom himself. Keep an eye out for our in-depth interview with KAWS dropping later this week. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK:
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