For the first UK museum exhibition by the renowned American artist KAWS, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is showing over 20 works – large-scale sculptures in bronze, fibreglass, aluminium and wood, and bright canvases immaculately rendered in acrylic paint – inside the Longside Gallery and outside in the grounds of the park itself. Within the grounds will be several looming sculptures drawn from characters such as Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse and children’s clowns, which give rise to ideas of childhood nightmares and the difficulties of growing up. At up to 10 metres tall, these pieces are larger-than-life giants within the landscape, cartoon-like and yet beautifully rendered.
Based in Brooklyn, KAWS works within the Pop Art tradition and is currently considered one of the most important artists of his generation – also engaging young people with contemporary art, and working between the worlds of art and design to include street art, graphic and product design, painting and sculpture.
Like the first Pop Art artists, KAWS collages and appropriated icons of contemporary culture to create new and uncanny works, with his sculptures often evoking a range of characters and narratives. His significance as a Pop Artist of the moment has led to collaborations with leading brands such as Nike, Vans Comme des Garcons, Lucas Films, and MTV, for whom he created a huge inflatable version of the iconic Moonman for the 2013 Video Music Awards; and to projects creating cover artwork for the October 2015 W Magazine Art Issue and for Kanye West’s 2008 album, 808s and Heartbreak.
KAWS, 6 February -12 June, Longside Gallery and open air, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF4 4LG.
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1. KAWS. Courtesy of YSP.