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  • Provenance

    Galeria Javier López, Madrid
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Madrid, Galeria Javier López, KAWS: Play Your Part, 20 February-11 April 2014

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the most vibrant and exciting contemporary artists, Brooklyn-based KAWS, makes sharp commentary on pop culture by creating paintings and sculptures inspired by cartoon icons such as Mickey Mouse, Tweety Bird and Astro Boy. KAWS’ practice is rooted both in the tradition of the commercialist aesthetics of Claes Oldenburg and more recently Takashi Murakami, and in his personal fascination with street art and graphic design.

    Nyt (2908), 2014, is a painting that portrays one of the characters that inhabit KAWS’ artistic universe. This lot reminds the viewers of the world of graffiti, billboards and advertising posters, with its vibrant colours and visual vocabulary. After graduating, KAWS worked for an animation studio; this work experience profoundly influenced his artistic style and informed his appropriation of world-famous cartoon figures. The current lot is symbolic of KAWS unique artistic world, it portrays a puffy, inflated skull with crossed out 'X' eyes that lend a dark twist to the piece. This sinister aspect is furthermore emphasised by the confusing order of the composition, in which it is difficult to identify the character’s facial details, which appear to have been first disassembled and then casually reassembled. The result is a figure that conveys great attraction yet maintains its emotional distance, rendering the subject matter somehow devoid of human characteristics and instantly cartoon in its exaggerations.

    Nyt (2908) demonstrates KAWS’ creativity and striking ability to appropriate iconic characters and turn them at once into his own unique creation and also a stylistic signature. KAWS’ works possess a refined irony and graphic language that reinvigorate figuration with big gestures and playful complexity. By producing fine contemporary art with thoughtful connections with consumer culture and collaborations with global brands, KAWS moves beyond the world of the exclusive art market into a more vast, global and dynamic marketplace.

  • Artist Biography


    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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Nyt (2908)

acrylic on canvas
diameter: 244 cm (96 1/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'KAWS 14' on the reverse.

£150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £194,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London

+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm