For twenty-five years, Brooklyn-based artist KAWS (Brian Donnelly, American, born 1974) has bridged the worlds of art, popular culture, and commerce. Adapting the rules of cultural production and consumption in the twenty-first century, his practice both critiques and participates in consumer culture. KAWS: WHAT PARTY is a sweeping survey featuring more than one hundred broad-ranging works, such as rarely seen graffiti drawings and notebooks, paintings and sculptures, smaller collectibles, furniture, and monumental installations of his popular COMPANION figures. It also features new pieces made uniquely for the exhibition along with his early-career altered advertisements.
KAWS’s practice acknowledges that works of art can occupy multiple realms—the aesthetic and the transcendent, the commodified and the priceless—and emphasizes that even within a cultural environment shaped by image and consumption, universal emotions such as love, friendship, loneliness, and alienation remain constant. KAWS invites us to engage with his work, both in person and virtually, and explore our own relationship with and connection to objects. Teaming up with Acute Art, a digital art platform directed by acclaimed Swedish curator Daniel Birnbaum, KAWS presents new augmented reality works, allowing visitors to interact virtually with his sculptures using their smartphones to create their own experience.
A fully illustrated catalogue, co-published with Phaidon Press, accompanies the exhibition. Essayists include Daniel Birnbaum, art critic, curator, and director of Acute Art, and Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.
KAWS: WHAT PARTY is curated by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.
KAWSxCampana is a collaboration between American artist KAWS and Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana, leading creative forces in contemporary art and design. Considered one of the most relevant artists of his generation, KAWS (b. 1974) engages audiences beyond the museums and galleries worldwide in which he regularly exhibits. KAWSxCampana is one of the latest projects from the artist’s acclaimed multi-disciplinary practice, which includes paintings, murals, large-scale sculptures, graphic and product design. With humor and playful intricacy, he draws inspiration and appropriates from pop culture animations to form a unique artistic vocabulary across various mediums. Pioneers in the global design landscape, Fernando (b. 1961) and Humberto Campana (b. 1953), formed Estudio Campana in 1983 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A radical departure from the modernist aesthetic dominant in Brazil of the time, Estudio Campana fearlessly combined sculptural and design sensibilities to create a revolutionary new discipline. Pairing traditional craftmanship with industrial techniques and unconventional materials, Estudio Campana investigate concepts of cultural over-consumption, transformation and reinvention through their designs. Estudio Campana’s works can be found in over 40 public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.