Posts Tagged ‘KAWS’
TAG, THIS ARTIST IS DEFINITELY IT
KAWS becomes a brand name as his images appear on hip-hoppers' clothes and on gallery walls.
By Chris Lee
February 21, 2009, LATimes
Over the course of a career that has variously infuriated anti-graffiti task force officers and enthralled Japanese street couture collectors—meaning winning props from hip-hop superstars Kanye West and Pharrell Williams—the pop artist KAWS has carved a unique niche for himself. The soft-spoken 34-year-old Jersey City native, born Brian Donnelly, created a new business model that bridges the high-low culture divide in ways that would have made steam come out of Andy Warhol's ears.
By parlaying vandalism into a brand identity as a purveyor of mass-produced collectible toys, KAWS became a bona fide subculture celebrity with a recognizable presence in street fashion.
But now, KAWS is at a career turning point. In spite of his renown in subcultural circles (which galleristas and museum directors have historically snobbed), he is now being mentioned in the same breath as pop art luminaries, such as Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring and Jeff Koons. And while KAWS has proven himself perfectly capable of trafficking his own pop offerings—on skateboard decks, stickers, T-shirts and sneakers—KAWS has infiltrated the rarefied world of institutional art after being held at arm's distance from it for much of his career. Pretty fly for a graf guy.
"When I grew up, I never thought I could enter a gallery," KAWS said over lunch at Chateau Marmont this week. "I looked at them as these pretentious places that did not welcome me." Click HERE to continue reading...
KAWS fans already going into synaptic overload at the thought of Mr. Donnelley's opening of new works at HONOR FRASER this Saturday nite can rejoice in the news that Friday nite, February 20th will see an additional event by the XX-eyed imagist featuring new artwork at the Culver City hotspot ROYAL T. You just better hope you RSVP'd in time. Needless to say, keep it locked on ST for coverage tomorrow...
Rabid KAWS fanatics are literally counting the hours till the Brooklyn-based Pop phenomenon opens the doors to his new solo show "The Long Way Home," at HONOR FRASER gallery in LA on SATURDAY NITE, FEBRUARY 21st. Featuring an incredible array of new paintings and sculptures, the exhibition is a real stylistic breakthrough for the artist and promises some good surprises for longtime fans who thought they'd seen it all. Pictured here are some tight details of the epic new paintings just to get the drool factor pumping in advance. Full coverage of the show starts on Saturday at 6pm, stay tuned...
Few moments in KAWS' multifaceted and unpredictable career have been as surreal as this segment on him that aired this weekend on CBS, most notable of which is the old dude introducing the clip alongside a 4ft Companion. Just in time for his hotly anticipated opening at HONOR FRASER this month in LA, the incredibly well aged SERENA ALTSCHUL tries to put her finger on the XX-eyed phenomenon. Click HERE to read CBS' article on KAWS...
It seems KAWS has finally hit the big time with his artwork for the special edition packaging of KANYE WEST's new "808s & Heartbreak" album hitting Times Square this week. Based on a painting featured in KAWS' recent NY show at GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY, the cover is available for a limited time on physical copies of the CD at select retailers.
Just in time for this week's kickoff of ART BASEL 2009, Miami resident & baller extraordinaire PHARRELL has just taken delivery of a brand new 7' fiberglass KAWS "Chum" sculpture at his oceanfront pad. The only one of its kind in this color, the sculpture is part of the extremely limited-edition series kickstarted by the Brooklyn-based XX-eyed artist at his NYC show last month at the GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY where a hot pink version of the familiar Michelin Man awed fans. Look for a new colorway to debut at KAWS' upcoming show at LA's HONOR FRASER GALLERY in February '09...
Supertouch buddy and self-proclaimed "voice of a generation" KANYE WEST has upped the ante on his highly anticipated new album "808s & Heartbreak" by drafting fast-rising Pop Art star KAWS to design a custom cover available exclusively on the iTunes version of the album dropping Tuesday, November 25th, and in stores on December 16th as a sepcial Christmas edition of the record.
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: Read More
Miami was ground zero for KAWS' official re-entry to the formal gallery art world this weekend when his first formal solo painting show in several years, "Saturated," was finally unveiled to an adoring public at GALERIE EMMANUEL PERROTIN in Miami. Focusing on two thematic series of artworks based on the cartoon "Smurfs," and "Spongebob" series commissioned by ultra-producer and international tastemaker PHARRELL, the show featured a new extended edition of Spongebob pieces that were quickly snapped up by an array of international collectors. On site for the opening was the XX-eyed artist himself who to greet his public and sign autographs like the art star he is. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Carefully cultivating his highly personal and multifaceted career outside the mainstream gallery world to this point, Supertouch buddy KAWS is about to dive headfirst into the shark-infested waters of the "real" art world with upcoming solo shows in NYC, Miami, and LA. Taking note of his career arc is NY TIMES writer ROB WALKER who penned the following profile of Mr. Donnelley for the paper's August 3rd edition:
New Looks: KAWS
By Rob Walker (Published: August 3, 2008, NY Times)At 33, Brian Donnelly is enjoying a successful art career. Working out of a studio in Brooklyn, he has sold paintings to Pharrell Williams, the rapper and producer; Nigo, the designer-entrepreneur; and Takashi Murakami, the international art star, among others. He has also created a variety of products including toys, apparel and even pillows — and indeed he has his own store, Original Fake, in Tokyo. He has also been widely known in the “street art” world for years; one of his early altered-phone-booth-ad posters recently traded hands on eBay for $22,000. One thing Donnelly had not done until lately, however, is forge a relationship with a dealer or art gallery. This wasn’t because he shunned or had a problem with the traditional gallery system. He says it’s just that “nobody asked.” READ ON: Read More