Kaws exhibition ‘GONE’ at Skarstedt Gallery is from November 8 - December 19, 2018 (YES TODAY IS THE LAST DAY) and is my absolute favorite kind of exhibition. Fun, colorful.. and a magnet for a diverse crowd.
Art lovers, skateboards, sneakerheads and many more were lined up around the corner of Skarstedt’s Upper East Side location...not just the opening day, but for many weekends after.
The show is a perfect mix of KAW’s iconic sculptures and neon paintings, so it’s no surprise it appeals to the masses. Because let's be honest...if you don’t love neon and/or giant Disney-like sculptures then something is probably wrong with your inner child.
Notable Exhibition Press
KAWS - aka ‘Brian Donnelly’ starting experimenting with art in the form of graffiti (and growing up in Jersey he lived very close to a very large city ready to be tagged). After art school he worked as a freelance animator on famous shows and movies such as 101 Dalmatians, Daria and Doug. So, it’s not shocker where some of his inspiration comes from.
“Jersey City is so close to Manhattan. You took the PATH train in for a dollar, so it would only cost $2 for a whole day of skating from Brooklyn Banks to Tompkins Square Park. I would meet tons of kids from different boroughs, and that parlayed into graffiti. I got mixed into that.” - KAWS for Interview Magazine
KAWS has managed to strike a rare balance between having street cred and widespread success in the Fine Art world as well
Not unlike artists Takashi Murakami or Daniel Arsham, KAWS has had massive commercial success collaborating with brands like Nike, Uniqlo, and even MTV (remember the Moon Man awards!! That was him - mind blown right!!!).
“Art is its own peculiar little world. It was only in late 2008 that I really started to focus on a body of work for an actual show. My first one was at Emmanuel Perrotin in Miami. Then I did a show at Gering & Lopez in New York. And then with Honor Fraser in L.A. in February 2009. I went from no shows to a show every two months.” - KAWS for Interview Magazine
He’s not shy in expressing his desire for his art to reach as many people as possible.
“As far as my opinion on galleries, I think they are a great thing. I see them as another outlet. I'm sure by now you've figured out that I do my work for everybody to see. That's the whole point.” - KAWS
Kaws is represented by top art world galleries such as
His market has absolutely exploded in the past year.
He’s set records this past year for his most expensive works sold at auction
In the Phillips New York (20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale) on November 15th, 2018 he sold 2 works for the following:
UNTITLED (FATAL GROUP) - Was estimated between 700,000 - 900,000 USD and it sold for 2,716,500 USD
CLEAN SLATE - Was estimated between 900,000 - 1,200,000 USD and it sold for 1,995,000 USD
In Christies (Post-War and Contemporary Sale) on November 15th, 2018
CHUM (KCB7) - Was estimated between 300,000 - 500,000 USD and it sold for 2,412,500 USD
At Sotheby's London (Contemporary Art Evening Auction) on Friday, October 5th, 2018 he sold his work AGAIN AND AGAIN for 1,349,757 USD when it was only estimated between 327,611 - 458,655 USD
...hmm maybe the fine art world is (literally) underestimating the power of KAWS
But where KAWS has the deepest roots are in the world of streetwear. When he traveled to Japan, he met a peer group (starting with Bathing Ape) that he would continue to work with throughout his career
“I met these guys around my age who were just killing it…To me that was where it was happening,” - KAWS
Not only is KAWS an artist, but he’s also an avid art collector. He has the MOST incredible apartment in Brooklyn, filled with his impressive art collection of Takashi Murakami, Crash, Peter Saul and many more. He even contributed a Peter Saul painting to The Met Bruer’s recent show - Everything is Connected.