£1 Million SpongeBob Painting Sets KAWS Auction Record: Relive the Bidding Frenzy

Laughter and cheers echoed throughout the room at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London as the hammer came down for KAWS’ 2008 painting, AGAIN AND AGAIN. Selling for £1.03 million, this portrait of one of America’s most beloved cartoon characters, SpongeBob SquarePants, quadrupled its low estimate of £250,000, setting a record price for the artist.

Lot 66. KAWS, Again and Again, 2008. Lot sold 1,030,000 GBP

KAWS, the Brooklyn-based artist also known as Brian Donnelly, is recognized for his appropriations of animations from popular culture; one of his most notable characters is COMPANION – a dark twist on Mickey Mouse. Composed of vibrant colors, an eerie grin and KAWS’ classic X-eyes, this portrait of SpongeBob offers a poignant social commentary on an image-saturated and media-obsessed contemporary society. “[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. Nostalgic to some, humorous to others, take a glimpse into the sale room as bidding goes back and forth for this iconic, record-setting work.

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