Kaws at zebra one gallery
KAWS

Biography

KAWS (American, b.1974) is a notable limited-edition toy and clothing designer. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, as Brian Donnelly. Growing up in New Jersey, KAWS first became interested in graffiti in elementary school, where he spent a good deal of time copying graffiti images onto paper.

His first influences were neighborhood children, who painted graffiti images on walls within his community. As he grew older, his influences came from traditional life painters, such as Gerhard Richter (German, b.1932), Klaus Oldenberg (Swedish, b.1929), and Chuck Close (American, b.1940).

KAWS career began as a graffiti artist in New York, NY, in the early 1990s. His images were seen on billboards, bus stops, and in phone booths. He obtained his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Kaws and Disney

Immediately after graduation in 1996, KAWS began working as a freelance artist for Disney, creating animated backgrounds. Some of his most popular works include his contributions to 101 Dalmations, Daria, and Doug.

Graffiti Was The Beginning

Once KAWS began to gain popularity, his graffiti advertisements became highly sought after. He traveled extensively to work in Paris, London, Germany, and Japan. In 1998, he received the Pernod Liquid Art Award, which offers a grant to new artists.

Here come the Toy's

In late 1990s, KAWS began to design and produce limited-edition toys. These gained international popularity, especially in Japan. He also began to collaborate on several different toys, including with Nigo (Japanese, b.1970) for A Bathing Ape.

Some of KAWS’s other popular collaborative works include his redesign of Mickey Mouse, The Michelin Man, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

SOLO

The artist’s solo exhibitions have been held at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT, the Harris Museum in Preston, UK, the Parco Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and the City Gallery Chastain in Atlanta, GA.

His solo exhibition, OriginalFake at the Bape Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, featured a sculpture entitled Wonderful World, which sold for US$400,000.

KAWS’s traveling exhibition, Beautiful Losers, toured throughout Europe and the United States and included a showing at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.

The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Timeline

1974
Born in Jersey City, NJ
1996
BFA School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.
1998
Recipient, Pernod Liquid Art Award
1999–2003
Ontario College of Art and Design
Studied at The School of Visual Arts in New York City
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Exhibitions

2016
KAWS Selected Exhibitions in 2016:
Where The End Starts, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas; Yuz Museum, Shanghai (solo exhibition)
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire (solo exhibition)
2015
KAWS Selected Exhibitions in 2015:
Permanent Vacation, Eden Rock St. Barths, St Jean Bay, St Barthélemy, French West Indies (solo exhibition)
Along the Way, Brooklyn Museum, Nueva York (solo exhibition)
Clean Slate, La Nave, Las Salinas, Ibiza (solo exhibition)
Clean Slate, Shanghai Times Square, Shanghai (solo exhibition)
Mutated Reality, Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow
A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum, Tomoo Gokita, Newcomb Art Museum at Woldenburg Art Center, Tulane University, Nueva Orleans, Louisiana
Paulin, Paulin, Paulin, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris
Respect, CAC Málaga - Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga
Along the Way, At This Time, Better Knowing - ArtZuid 2015. International Sculpture Route, Foundation ArtZuid, Ámsterdam; curated by Rudi Fuchs
2014
KAWS Selected Exhibitions in 2014:
Man’s Best Fiend, Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, California (solo exhibition)
Clean Slate, Harbour City, Hong Kong (solo exhibition)
Final Days, CAC Málaga - Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga (solo exhibition)
PLAY YOUR PART, Galería Javier López, Madrid (solo exhibition)
New Abstraction, Leila Heller Gallery, New York
Paint New York. Painting From the American Eastcoast, Kunstforeningen GL Strand, Copenhagen
Pop Sculpture - Pop Culture, Leila Heller Gallery, New York
Bad Boy!, New Art Projects, London
OK, I’ll rename it, Bill Brady Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri
Summer Collective Exhibition, 3 Punts Galería, Barcelona
Full House, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York
KNOCK! KNOCK!, Galería Javier López, Madrid; curated by Fer Francés
Joyride, Marlborough, New York
G I R L, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, París; curated by Pharrel Williams
If you’re accidentally not included, don’t worry about it, Galerie Zürcher, New York; curated by Peter Saul
Wall to Wall, Hang - Up Gallery, London
This is Not a Toy, Design Exchange, Toronto; curated by John Wee Tom, Sara Nickleson and Pharrell Williams
Making Links: 25 Years, SCAI | The Bathhouse, Tokyo
2013
KAWS Selected Exhibitions in 2013:
Mary Boone Gallery, New York; in collaboration with Galerie Perrotin (solo exhibition)
Pass the Blame, Galerie Perrotin, New York (solo exhibition)
Ups and Downs, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas (solo exhibition)
KAWS @ PAFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (solo exhibition)
KAWS: Giswil, More Gallery, Giswill, Switzerland (solo exhibition)
Ohhh…, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo (solo exhibition)
Happy Birthday Galerie Perrotin / 25ans, Tri Postal, Lille
The System of Objects, Deste Foundation, Athens
Pictoplasma White Noise, La Casa Encendida Madrid
At home I´m a tourist’ Colección de Selim Varol - CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Málag
2012
Kaws - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Imaginary Friends - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Companion - The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
The Nature of Need - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - Paris, Paris
Kaws: Down Time - The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
2011
FOCUS: KAWS - The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Hold The Line - Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, CA
Kaws - Companion (passing Through) - The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
2010
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (solo)
2009
Plastic Culture, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Great Britain (solo)
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France; traveling
Plastic Culture, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, UK
Honor Fraser, Los Angeles, CA
Just what is it that makes today's painting so different, so appealing?, Gering & López Gallery, New York
2008
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL
Gering & López Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2004–2008
Beautiful Losers, Curated by Aaron Rose & Christian Strike, Le Tri Postal, Lille, France
2006
Info Babble, Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY
Ugly Winners, Galerie Du Juor Agnes B., Paris, France
2004
Palazzo Dell’Arte, Milan, Italy
USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL
Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA
Yerba Buena Arts Center, San Francisco, CA
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
2003
SK8 on the Wall, Parco Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Original Fake, BAPE Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2002
Elms Lesters Painting Room, London, UK (solo)
Session The Bowl , Deitch Projects, New York, NY
ALIFE Shop, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
Coded Language, City Gallery Chastain , Atlanta, GA
2001
Shortcuts, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Athens, Greece
Pierides Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece
New Acquisitions from the Dakis Joannou Collection , Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece
Tokyo First , Parco Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1999
Colette, Paris, France (solo)

Public Collections

City Museum, San Louis, Misouri
High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, La Jolla, California
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas
Pizzuti Collection
Rosenblum Collection, Paris
Zabludowicz Collection, London

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