The internet broke in late October and has yet to stop because of one thing, the KAWS exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. You would literally have to be hiding under a rock to not follow at least one person who has posed next to the famous sculptures, drawings and paintings of Brian Donnelly (KAWS). I was fortunate enough to experience this genius first hand and to say I was wowed would be an understatement. The larger than life sculptures left me breathless and I had to control my urge to touch the paintings. If you haven’t visited the exhibit, you have a couple of week to do so. It is absolutely fabulous and I am so excited that I chose this to be my first cultural experience of 2017. KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS exhibition books are now available at Barnes & Noble. With contributions from Andrea Karnes, Michael Auping, Dieter Buchhart, and Pharrell Williams, the hardcover edition has more than 150 color reproductions. The book is definitely worth the $35 cost. Below are the cool highlights of my best moments.
KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS is 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. Featuring key paintings, sculptures, drawings, toys, and street art interventions, this exhibition examines 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.