KAWS takes Brooklyn Museum
Last week, on a cold Tuesday evening, I had the great privilege to preview KAWS: WHAT PARTY at the Brooklyn Museum before it's official opening on February 26. While "Covid times" is still a common phrase we hear, even a year into lockdowns and social distancing, I can't help but think that these Covid times help to foster a truly exciting visual exhibition.
Spanning over numerous galleries on the museum's fifth floor, KAWS: WHAT PARTY is spaced out just enough to avoid being within 6 ft of a fellow visitor, but close enough to feel cohesive. It must also be stated that the spacing also helped the work breathe--especially given KAWS' scale and color.
Not quite a retrospective, but more like a survey, this exhibition offers a glance at the expansive career he has had, and the very real way his direction of career growth was and is so groundbreaking. From his early days of painting on bus advertisements to his collaboration with virtual art app AcuteArt, creating a MoonMan for MTV, and everything in between, KAWS: WHAT PARTY offers a look at it all.
While some will be quick to judge the validity of KAWS' career, reputation and inclusion in The Brooklyn Museum, I offer up a comparison: if Jeff Koons is revered, why try to downplay KAWS? He was and is able to tap into the consciousness of a society that seeks a combination of high art with everyday life. KAWS remains both accessible to people while also remaining blue chip enough to garner museum shows and investment security (as seen in the loaning of his multi-million dollar auction painting The KAWS Album from 2005).
My favorite part of the survey was a quiet room filled with his wood sculptures and looping videos of his inflatable characters in various international installations. It is an all encompassing visual experience and made me feel small in the world of KAWS.
KAWS: WHAT PARTY is on view at The Brooklyn Museum until September 5, 2021