Even if you don’t know his name, you’re almost certainly familiar with Brian Donnelly’s (aka Kaws) larger-than-life sculptures and paintings. Kaws take icons from cartoons and pop culture and reimagines them in vulnerable and unexpected situations. His signature? Their hands are marked with sharp crosses.
Brian Donnelly (born 1974), aka KAWS, is one of the most prominent and prolific artists of his generation. His body of work straddles the worlds of art, fashion and design to include paintings, murals, large-scale sculptures, street and public art, and fashion, graphic and product design. His work is infused with humour, humanity and affection for our times. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and colour-filled paintings, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon and human characters are drawn from pop-culture animations and form a distinctive artistic vocabulary.
For several decades, Kaws has been one of the world’s most prolific contemporary artists and his work is equally in demand with major modern art galleries as it is with brands and pop artists. He’s collaborated with MTV (and redesigned their Moonman in his signature style), Nike and Uniqlo, designed album covers for Kanye West and Towa Tei, and crashed New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s website when they sold a limited edition Kaws action figure.
This new exhibition at the NGV (which is running at the same time as the gallery’s Basquiat and Haring blockbuster) features paintings, sculptures, graphic design and product design, covering the full spectrum of his creative output. Central to the exhibition is a monumental sculpture, which is his largest work in bronze so far.
And which characters should you expect to see? Well, definitely his take on Mickey Mouse, probably The Simpsons (or ‘Kimpsons’ in the world of Kaws) and maybe even Spongebob.
KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness
KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness is a major contribution to the growing international reputation of this contemporary artist. It follows KAWS’s recent solo presentations at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2016), the Yuz Museum Shanghai and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017) and the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation (2019). This exhibition introduces audiences to the full range of KAWS’s artistic output, including a newly commissioned monumental sculpture (his largest bronze sculpture to date), paintings reworking pop-culture figures and an impressive collection of human-scale sculptural figures. KAWS’s collaborations with other artists will be explored in the exhibition and those with major brands on display in the dedicated pop-up shop along with his own products.
About the NGV
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia. Situated over two magnificent buildings – NGV International and NGV Australia – the Gallery hosts a wide range of international and local artists, exhibitions, programs and events; from contemporary art to major international historic exhibitions, fashion and design, architecture, sound and dance.
Founded in 1861, today the NGV holds the most significant collection of art in the region; a vast treasury of more than 70,000 works that span thousands of years and a wealth of ideas, disciplines and styles. It is a collection that is yours, and it’s free! We warmly welcome you to share in these riches and the many activities, exhibitions and events developed at the NGV for us all to enjoy.
Buy tickets online
You can buy tickets online here, 10% off is available now.