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Must-See Exhibit: KAWS At The Modern Art Museum

By Maddie Grussendorf
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kaws wheretheendstarts Must See Exhibit: KAWS At The Modern Art Museum

Where the End Starts, 2011 Acrylic on canvas 84 x 120 inches Courtesy of Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Photo courtesy of KAWS STUDIO

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth continues their FOCUS exhibition series highlighting emerging contemporary artists with the work of Brooklyn-based Brian Donnelly, who is better known by his alias, “KAWS.”

“The exhibition featuring KAWS has been much anticipated since it was announced [last year],” said Andrea Karnes, curator at the Modern who organized FOCUS: KAWs and other FOCUS exhibitions. “KAWS’ work speaks to viewers of all ages with humor, critique and vivid imagery. We are thrilled to host this exhibition of almost all new works.”

On view at the Modern through February 19, contemporary and pop art lovers have a little over a month left to experience KAWS’s colorful imagery, brand-like symbols, and unique take on modern culture.

KAWS, who began as a graffiti artist in the 1990s, is an excellent example of how modern day artists can capitalize on their creativity while also having a pragmatic approach to making a profit with merchandise. Instead of keeping consumer culture and artistic innovation on separate ends of the spectrum, KAWS brings them together by blurring the boundaries between the two with his altered forms of familiar animated characters including: a 16-foot grey Mickey Mouse entitled “Companion (Passing Through)”, the Michelin Man, SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Simpsons in a series entitled The Kimpsons. KAWS is a consumer man himself, implementing his signature style onto shoes and clothing, working with labels like A Bathing Ape, Marc Jacobs, Burton, Nike, Vans and distributing toys through Original Fake, a collaborative store in Tokyo. The exhibition shows how KAWS is influenced by both sides of the spectrum and allows commercial appeal to seep into his work but also keep his artistic vision.

KAWS was born in 1974 in Jersey City, New Jersey and started his career there as a graffiti artist. After receiving a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1996 he traveled to Japan to work on street-art projects with Hectic and Jun Takahashi of Undercover, a Japanese clothing and designer label. KAWS would later feature his work across the US and internationally in Paris, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. KAWS indulges in a wide range of mediums including: designing limited edition vinyl toys, designing album covers for Kanye West, tagging his work over billboards and bus stops and creating 16-foot-tall sculptures.

FOCUS: KAWS is on view at the Modern from through February 19.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

3200 Darnell Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 738-9215

Hours: Tue 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wed to Thurs 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sat to Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
General $10; Students and Seniors $4; Children 12 and under Free
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