May 1, 2015
The Brooklyn Museum presents KAWS: “ALONG THE WAY,” an exhibition of work by KAWS, the internationally acclaimed Brooklyn-based artist who bridges the gap between art and pop culture in his large-scale sculptures and meticulous, brightly colored paintings. The exhibition, on view June 10 through December 6, 2015, will highlight ALONG THE WAY, an 18-foot-high wood sculpture that will occupy a prominent position in the Museum’s lobby; it is the first piece by KAWS to be acquired by the Brooklyn Museum.
Rounding out this long-term exhibition will be two paintings, SHOULD I BE ATTACKING (2013), on loan from the collection of Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, and GLASS SMILE (2012), on loan from a private collector. The works will have a prominent place in the Martha A. and Rubin S. Pavilion. KAWS: “ALONG THE WAY” will introduce the first phase of the transformation of the Lobby and Pavilion, part of the Museum’s visitor engagement initiative taking place this summer. KAWS’s work has been presented at venues ranging from traditional museums and galleries to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012) in New York City and the MTV Video Music Awards (2013) in Brooklyn.
About ALONG THE WAY ALONG THE WAY (2013) was originally exhibited at the Mary Boone Gallery in 2013 and is one of KAWS’s COMPANION sculptures. The COMPANION figure first appeared in Japan in 1999 as a limited edition of small toys. In ALONG THE WAY, a pair of figures, heads lowered and one arm on each other’s back, embrace in a pose of gentle solace. The two wood figures employ several of the artist’s signature motifs: their allusion to childhood characters, and their use of inflated skulls with soft-appearing crossbones and crossed-out eyes.
In this colossal sculpture, the two gigantic yet bittersweet figures seem to bring out hidden emotional aspects of popular cartoon characters, asking us to consider their multiple facets—as figures beloved by generations of children, as monumental cultural presences, and as lucrative commercial commodities.
Brooklyn-based, KAWS is a world-renowned artist who regularly exhibits in museums and galleries internationally. KAWS’s art stands within the historical continuum that began with Pop art, straddling the line between fine art and global commerce. From his 16 1/2 foot-tall sculpture COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) to his 29 1/2 foot-tall wood sculpture SMALL LIE, presented during London’s Frieze Art Fair (2014), his works are immediately recognizable, as he transforms iconic pop-culture characters into thought-provoking works of art. He possesses both a sophisticated humor and a refined graphic language that revitalize figuration with big, bold gestures and keen, playful intricacy. By producing fine art via thoughtful interplay with consumer products and collaborations with international brands, KAWS moves beyond the exclusive art-gallery sphere to occupy a more complex, global market.
KAWS was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He has presented exhibitions in museums and galleries of world over, including CAC Málaga, Spain; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong, New York, and Paris; and Mary Boone Gallery, New York. KAWS will be participating in an outdoor group exhibition of sculpture, ArtZuid, in Amsterdam in May, where a related version of ALONG THE WAY will be on view in front of the Rijksmuseum. Additionally, a mid-career survey of his work will open at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in the fall of 2016.
KAWS: “ALONG THE WAY” is organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.
This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Mary Boone Gallery.