|Photo: Writers Clearinghouse News Service|
PAFA, in collaboration with Amtrak, has arranged for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to be the next location, through 14 May, to host KAWS’ popular, 16-foot COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) sculpture.
First seen in Hong Kong, COMPANION has also traveled to New York, The Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut; The High Museum, Atlanta, and The Modern, Fort Worth.
KAWS introduced the now famous COMPANION in 1999 as a seven and three-quarter inch limited edition toy featuring KAWS’s signature inflated skull and crossbones, with a skinny-legged Mickey Mouse body. KAWS chose Mickey Mouse after a search for the most recognizable and international character in the cartoon world to “take down.” Since then, the COMPANION has grown in scale and now features the iconic figure sitting down and covering its face with white-gloved hands.
KAWS at 30th Street Station is a preview for a KAWS Sculpture Plinth Exhibition at PAFA, opening in October 2013.
The Brooklyn-based artist KAWS was born in New Jersey, in 1974. His paintings, drawings, and sculpture have been widely exhibited at museums and art galleries. He is internationally known also as a graphic artist and a creator of highly sought-after, editioned toys, apparel, and other products. KAWS grew up in Jersey City, where he emerged as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s. He later studied at the School of Visual Arts (1993-1996), where he shifted his focus to creating public artworks by subverting imagery on billboards and advertisements in bus shelters and phone booths. This led to collaborations with commercial photographers and designers, resulting in original artworks that have been extensively published.
KAWS comfortably straddles the commercial and fine art worlds with his work, which ranges from graphic, product, and industrial design to painting, drawings, sculpture, wall murals, and silkscreen prints. Working in the historical continuum of Pop Art, his recent paintings present abstracted cartoon imagery, making reference to both popular culture and the history of modern painting. Alternating between figuration and abstraction, KAWS’s work reflects the chaotic nature of contemporary culture.