KAWS’s signature COMPANION figure appears in two new sculptures fabricated in wood – each over eighteen feet high – that rise to the ceiling of the soaring skylit space. In ALONG THE WAY, a pair of the figures, heads lowered and one arm on each other’s back, embrace in a pose of gentle solace. The other work, AT THIS TIME, presents Companion standing alone with head arched back and hands covering the eyes. The posture at once conveys a reluctance to face the world and a withdrawal from what has already been witnessed.
KAWS at Pennyslvania Academy of the Fine Arts
KAWS transformed the walls of PAFA by integrating over 70 paintings and sculptures within the 19th century landmark which is both a museum and academy. Creating a dialogue between traditionalism and contemporary, Kaws placed works accounting for scale, composition and context of the pre-exisiting pieces making a connection between both. Six tondos, sized at 8ft interact with the design set forth byFurness & Hewlitt capture attention from various vantage points within the space. Toying with scale, the presence of Companion, Dissected Accomplice and Chum feel natural within the PAFA vestibule. Sliding doors reveal Gallery 6’s ‘salon’ style experience, a wall composed of 42 varying canvases that reflect its opposition in number accompanied by two ceramic profiles of the artist. A few works were present from prior shows at Honor Fraser and Galerie Perrotin.
In correlation to KAWS in the galleries, the outer facade has a new feature, BORN TO BEND, unveiled at the opening which marks the beginning of an annual series of temporary sculptures on the plinth of the building.
KAWS was born in 1974 in Jersey City, New Jersey, and is based in Brooklyn, New York City. Since receiving his BFA from Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts in 1996, he has continued to refine his transformations of icons of popular culture into characters that have in their own right become instantly recognizable.