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  • Offered concurrently with the artist's first major New York survey at the Brooklyn Museum, KAWS: WHAT PARTY, an expansive exhibition showcasing more than 100 works made over his 25-year career, KAWS’ Untitled, 2013 is a monumental example of the artist’s idiosyncratic brand of Pop Art that bridges the worlds of art, popular culture and commerce.

     

    KAWS’ Iconic Imagery

     

    A quintessential example of his re-envisioned pop culture icons, KAWS’ Untitled, 2013 illustrates the inflated facial details of KAWSBOB, an intervention on the animated cartoon SpongeBob, imbued with the artist’s distinctive style. Through a build-up of pigment, KAWS is able to create evenly matte colors emulating that of an airbrush, an approach that can be recognized as an homage to his early days as a graffiti artist. His use of bold, blocks of color flattens the work, creating little differentiation between the foreground and background, while his application of pigment in tandem with the fragmented, mosaic-like, portions of the character conveys a distinctive sense of abstraction. As such, the piece demands active engagement to re-associate the represented features of the work with the character it represents.

     

    KAWS @PAFA, installation view, 2013. Image courtesy of PAFA

    KAWS’ Dialogue with History

     

    Untitled, 2013 is also notable for the artist’s use of a circular shaped canvas, or tondo, a format the artist continues to explore in his practice today. The tondo’s Renaissance associations are particularly poignant here as the work was included in the artist’s solo exhibition in 2013 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), a historical landmark in Philadelphia. The KAWS @ PAFA exhibition juxtaposed the institution’s collection of 19th-century American art with KAWS’ playful pop-art creations. Respectful and aware of the historical importance of the venue and the tradition it represents, KAWS created a dialogue between the traditional narrative techniques of the oil paintings in the museum’s historic galleries and his fragmented, colorful cartoon imagery, resulting in a direct and visceral impact. Simultaneously paying homage to and mocking the established, formal tenets of art history, Untitled, 2013 is supremely representative of KAWS’ original mission to create universal content that encourages all to interact with and relate to his work.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Perrotin, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, KAWS @ PAFA, October 12, 2013–January 5, 2014

    • Artist Biography

      KAWS

      American • 1974

      KAWS (b. 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) is renowned for his prolific body of work that straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. Over the last two decades KAWS has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. His refined graphic language revitalizes figuration with both big, bold gestures and playful intricacies.  

      KAWS often appropriates and draws inspiration from pop culture animations, forming a unique artistic vocabulary across mediums. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon characters are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. As seen in his collaborations with global brands, the artist’s imagery possesses a sophisticated humor and reveals a thoughtful interplay with consumer products. With their broad appeal, KAWS’s artworks are highly sought-after by collectors inside and outside of the art world, establishing him as a uniquely prominent artist and influence in today’s culture.  

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Property from an Important Collection

Ο ◆377

UNTITLED

signed and dated "KAWS..13" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
diameter 96 in. (243.8 cm)
Painted in 2013.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$450,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $604,800

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

1 212 940 1250
[email protected]

 

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021