Lot 66
  • 66

KAWS | AGAIN AND AGAIN

Estimate
250,000 - 350,000 GBP
Sold
1,030,000 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • KAWS
  • AGAIN AND AGAIN
  • signed and dated 08 on the reverse
  • acrylic on canvas

Provenance

Gering & López Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2008

Exhibited

New York, Gering & López Gallery, KAWS, November - December 2008

Literature

Brian Donnelly, et al., KAWS: 1993-2010, New York 2010, p. 33, illustrated; and p. 155, illustrated in colour Takashi Murakami, ‘KAWS’, Interview, March 2012, pp. 120-21, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

In KAWS’ 2008 painting AGAIN AND AGAIN, the viewer is presented with the enlarged and widely recognisable face of one of America’s best loved cartoon characters. Composed in a vibrant yellow with swimming-pool blue eyes, a grinning red mouth, and two distinctive gap teeth in dazzling white, the canvas forms a perfect square in a humorous nod to its cartoon protagonist. The work exemplifies the American artist and designer’s iconic, and ironic, appropriations of recognisable animations from popular culture. Magnifying, distorting and re-envisaging these household names in his bold and colour-popping canvases, KAWS offers a poignant social commentary on an image-saturated and media-obsessed contemporary society in which the whimsical, the fanciful and the purely hedonistic begin to eclipse starker global issues of a more sombre nature. “[I] found it weird how infused a cartoon could become in people's lives; the impact it could have, compared to regular politics,” the artist explains (KAWS cited in: Healy & Murray, ‘Graffiti Artist Turned Gallery Artist Turned Art Toy Maker, KAWS’, Pop, February 2007, pp. 260-265). In KAWS’ cartoon portraits, the innocuous is reimagined with a darker undercurrent. Indeed, as in the present work, the eyes of his characters are frequently crossed out with pronounced ‘X’s’ – the hallmark of KAWS’ practice. This becomes suggestive, perhaps, of the brain-numbing dangers of too much television, in which the same quick flashes of images, posters, cartoons and adverts are seen abundantly, AGAIN AND AGAIN. In his compelling, vivacious and powerful depictions, KAWS engages with his viewers, urging them to reflect upon the world they live in. As Michael Auping attests, “KAWS is not just referring to pop culture, he is making it” (Michael Auping, ‘America’s Cartoon Mind’ in: Exh. Cat., Fort Worth, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Where the End Starts, 2017, p. 63).

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