July 14–October 13, 2024
The Parrish Art Museum will be presenting a major solo exhibition devoted to the artist KAWS, including a wide array of sculptures and paintings. This exhibition marks the first KAWS survey on the East End.
KAWS is curated by Executive Director Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, with additional support from Brianna L. Hernández, Assistant Curator.
KAWS is a Brooklyn-based contemporary artist who has achieved widespread recognition for his graphic style and iconic characters. Working in a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, and product design, KAWS’ practice transgresses borders between “high” and “low” culture, questions the conventional hierarchies of the art world establishment, and seeks to democratize the way art is experienced for a new generation.
Fulfilling the promise of predecessors such as Duchamp and Warhol, KAWS has reinvented that legacy for the 21st century and taps into the zeitgeist of contemporary American life. With a deep appreciation for pop culture and a fascination with rampant consumerism, his inventive and graphic sensibility is used to deftly examine the flaws of conspicuous consumption, while also reveling in the joys it sometimes brings. Through his riffs on beloved childhood characters, the work also explores universal emotions of joy, innocence, and love, as well as despair, loneliness, alienation, and a “real life” that doesn’t live up to the promise of youth, or Instagram. Inherent to the work is the question of our role in the current cultural landscape, a moral quandary that asks questions, but provides no easy answers.
Born in 1974, in Jersey City, New Jersey, KAWS received his B.F.A from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1996. He began his career as a graffiti artist on the East Coast of the United States, where he developed some of the forms that would later become part of his signature iconography. While working as an animator for television and film in the late 1990s, he began to gain underground recognition for his series of advertising interventions, in which he would stealthily remove and paint his characters onto existing commercial ads before returning them to their original locations.
KAWS has exhibited extensively in renowned institutions worldwide, including solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2023); Serpentine Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2022); High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia (2022 & 2011); Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2021); The Brooklyn Museum, New York (2021); The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2019); Fire Station, Qatar Museums, Doha, Qatar (2019); Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, Michigan (2019); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri (2017); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2016) which traveled to the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2017); and many more.