If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen my KAWS overload, I’d say sorry, but I’m not, I bloody love this American artist, there really is something so mesmerising about his imposing sculptures and I’ve been a little obsessed since I saw his Passing Through Companion sculpture sat outside The Standard in New York in a contemplative pose. I’d never seen a sculpture like this, it was modern, fresh, fun, and I adore the idea that all of his nostalgic characters are in the process of growing up.
Well, I finally got to see the KAWS exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the first UK museum to exhibit the American artist’s work, which funnily enough included the one I’d already seen. I have given you much time to get to Yorkshire to see his work, the main exhibition closes on June 12, I know, sorry, but I couldn’t go until this weekend and I’m so glad I got the chance. But there is some good news the six outdoor structures will be staying in the countryside location of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park until the end of the year, so even though you’ll miss the inside Longside Gallery exhibition, I think the outdoor sculptures are what set KAWS apart from other modern artists.
There’s an innocence about his signature cartoon-like character, with its criss-cross eyes and Mickey Mouse ballon-like head and hands, I found myself walking around his imposing sculptures completely hypnotised about its beauty, then I found myself looking closely at the construction and being amazed by the fact that some are made from slices of hardwood, like my favourite Small Lie, with his head bowed and dejected posture. I love that KAWS sculptures stir up emotional responses, from sadness to hope, and even love.
For some, KAWS’ work is probably too commercial, he is also known for his limited edition toys and T-shirts, but I think that’s why he appeals so much to me, he’s a modern artist with a product that can span across retail as well as being a piece of art.
If you do get the chance to visit embrace the beauty of the KAWS sculptures, walk around them, look up at them, even imitate them, I’m telling you that you’ll leave the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with a smile on your face.