KAWS - New Now London Tuesday, April 12, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Brian Donnelly, better known to contemporary art enthusiasts as KAWS, is a Brooklyn-based artist who, in the last decade, has revolutionised the art world with his large scale sculptures and vibrant paintings, which are deeply rooted in the 1990s street art aesthetics and visual values. KAWS's practice presents some similarities both with the strikingly beautiful aesthetics of Claes Oldenburg and Takashi Murakami, and also his personal fascination with cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Tweety Bird and the Michelin Man.

    Untitled (Color), 2015, is a representative work of the sinister characters that inhabit KAWS's artistic universe: Companion, Accomplice, Chum and Bendy. This lot is reminiscent of the world of graffiti, advertising posters and billboards, with its powerful and compelling visual vocabulary. The character looks like an inflated dog skull with crossed out "X" eyes that are the artist's signature. The dog's general appearance is rather threatening and disturbing; the unclear composition accentuates this physical obscurity: facial details are not identifiable; in fact it seems that they were first disassembled and then randomly reassembled. For these reasons, the subject of the current lot encourages active engagement and a deep understanding from the viewer, but at the same time it maintains a distinct emotional distance, which lends the character an inhuman and robotic appearance.

    Untitled (Color), conveys KAWS's skill to turn childhood icons into unique creations. His practice blends fine contemporary art with consumer culture and collaborations with global brands. KAWS has worked together with fashion houses and created an album cover for Kanye West. This entrepreneurial aspect has allowed the artist to trespass the sphere of the art market and step into a more global and dynamic marketplace.

  • Artist Biography


    American • 1974

    To understand the work of KAWS is to understand his roots in the skateboard and graffiti crews of New York City. Brian Donnelly chose KAWS as his moniker to tag city streets beginning in the 1990s, and quickly became a celebrated standout in the scene. Having swapped spray paint for explorations in fine art spanning sculpture, painting and collage, KAWS has maintained a fascination with classic cartoons, including Garfield, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons, and reconfigured familiar subjects into a world of fantasy. 

    Perhaps he is most known for his larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures that supplant the body of Mickey Mouse onto KAWS' own imagined creatures, often with 'x'-ed out eyes or ultra-animated features. However, KAWS also works frequently in neon and vivid paint, adding animation and depth to contemporary paintings filled with approachable imagination. There is mass appeal to KAWS, who exhibits globally and most frequently in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

    View More Works


Untitled (Color)

acrylic on canvas
153.7 x 88.9 cm (60 1/2 x 35 in.)
Signed and dated 'KAWS 15' on the reverse.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £122,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Sale
+44 207 318 4065

New Now

London Auction 13 April 2016