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This catalogue, edited by Germano Celant, documents the first exhibition in the Middle East by KAWS. The solo show explores his career and vast oeuvre and features painting and sculpture made over the past 20 years.
KAWS imagery has long possessed a sophisticated, dark humour, revealing the interplay between art and consumerism, referencing both art history and pop culture. Donnelly began his career in street art in the 1990s, becoming synonymous with the name KAWS, a tag that became a staple in his ‘sub-vertisments’ (modifications of commercial works). Later on, through his toy figurines and larger-than-life sculptures, KAWS has become a global phenomenon — not just of the art world, but in popular culture as well.
KAWS: HE EATS ALONE is presented at the Fire Station in Doha. The exhibition begins in the Garage Gallery where over 40 sculptures and paintings are displayed in a labyrinthine space designed by the New York studio 2×4. Across the courtyard above the café, the Archive showcases a collection of the artist’s limited edition works. At the centre of the courtyard, the 5-metre-tall sculpture COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) is seated with hands covering its eyes. The journey concludes at the Dhow Harbour on the Corniche, where the larger-than-life inflatable sculpture HOLIDAY reclines against the backdrop of the Doha city skyline.
Few artists have managed to bridge the gap between high and low culture as seamlessly as KAWS has since his career took off in the 1990s: his iconic cartoon-inspired designs have graced fashion collections, vinyl figurines, and skateboards as well as canvases sold for millions of dollars. Frequently portraying familiar figures such as Mickey Mouse and Spongebob Squarepants with cauliflower ears and X’ed-out eyes, KAWS employs a sophisticated dark humor throughout his work, exploring the relationship between art and consumerism.
About the artist:
Brian Donnelly (born 1974), known professionally by his graffiti tag KAWS, is the mastermind behind one of today’s most recognizable artistic brands. A graffiti artist since adolescence, Donnelly received his BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in 1996. He then worked as a background artist for animated TV programs before becoming an independent designer. He has worked with artists like Kanye West and collaborated with brands such as Supreme, Nike and Comme des Garçons.
Published in October 2020 by Silvana Editoriale/Qatar Museums
Edited by Germano Celant
20,5 x 25 cm
322 pages, 300 Illustrations