Closing Date20 December 2019
These dual sculptures by KAWS feature the same subject matter: two iterations of the artist’s recognizable cartoon character, Companion, in firm embrace. While identical in composition, choice of material sets the two apart—one sculpture is produced in vinyl while the other, an edition of twenty-five, is crafted from bronze. Similar in appearance there exists a wide gulf in price. KAWS, through his long-standing production of toys and figurines, breaks the division in the art world, giving consumers a chance to purchase almost the same work cast in bronze. Displayed in the same vitrine, both sculptures are given equal footing, interrogating the blurred divisions between high- and low-art.
The works also reflect KAWS' nontraditional path in the art world. Rather than seeking institutional approval, KAWS attracted a strong following from his street art and early brand collaborations. He also maintained a Tokyo retail space, OriginalFake, which sold toys and merchandise featuring his cartoon characters. Bypassing blue-chip galleries, KAWS transcended established boundaries maintained in the art world. These sculptures thus speak to his experience as an artist, as well as providing commentary on his exclusionary encounters.