‘There’s something hypnotically compelling about seeing his monumental cartoon sculptures in the historic, bucolic YSP’
This was the first UK museum exhibition of work by the renowned American artist KAWS, whose wide-ranging practice includes painting, sculpture, graphic design, toys and prints. The expansive Longside Gallery featured the artist’s large, bright, graphic canvases immaculately rendered in acrylic paint, alongside towering sculptures in fibreglass and wood. The historically designed landscape of YSP became home to a series of monumental and imposing sculptures in KAWS’s trademark style – nostalgic characters in the process of growing up.
Brooklyn-based KAWS is considered one of the most relevant artists of his generation. Within the Pop Art tradition, he has created a prolific body of influential work, which both engages young people with contemporary art and straddles the worlds of art and design to include street art, graphic and product design, paintings, murals and large-scale sculptures.
KAWS developed a passion for popular culture in art and design early in life and studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in the early 1990s. By then he was already well versed in graffiti, having frequently tagged walls and freight trains with the letters K A W S. KAWS continued developing his visual vocabulary conceiving his soft skull with crossbones and crossed-out eyes, which would become a signature gesture. After college, he worked as a freelancer for animations studios, which further catalysed his appropriation of iconic characters from popular culture and comic books.
KAWS regularly exhibits in museums and galleries internationally and his work continues to appeal to a loyal fan base as well as the commercial sector. He has collaborated with industry leaders including Nike, Vans, MTV and Kanye West.
KAWS's work at the YSP shows his love of the kind of art that stops people in their tracks- iD Magazine
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