By Dan Nadel, Thomas Crow, Clare Lilley and Jason Schmidt
Phaidon presents KAWS, the most comprehensive study on one of contemporary art’s most influential and much-loved forces. This will be the latest publication in Phaidon’s Contemporary Artist Series, one that has revolutionized how art is discussed by collaborating with and underpinning the voices of living artists. KAWS spans the many chapters of the artist’s career, first exploring his formative years, how he discovered graffiti at the age of 11, and subsequently began tagging walls and billboards. The book then reveals the development of his signature skull-and-crossbones figure with Xs for eyes, which has since become emblematic of his body of work and one of the most recognizable signatures in contemporary art.
The book also spans his highly collectible vinyl toys, complex abstract paintings, and monumental public sculptures, as well as images of his studio captured by photographer Jason Schmidt. Finally, an exclusive selection of KAWS’s previously unpublished preparatory drawings is included within the “Artist Writings” chapter. With his paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, and product designs, KAWS is one of the most beloved contemporary multi-media artists, resonating with audiences far beyond museum and gallery spaces and connecting with viewers of all ages around the world. He has collaborated with prominent international brands including Uniqlo, Comme des Garçons, Supreme, Nike, Dior, sacai, and General Mills.
Following the success of KAWS: WHAT PARTY, published by Phaidon in 2021, this definitive survey pays particular attention to chronicling KAWS’s progression and journey as an artist. The book features a candid and retrospective conversation between Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Curator Dan Nadel and KAWS, reflecting upon his motivations and how they have evolved since his years as a graffiti artist; a survey by Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at NYU Thomas Crow; an exploration of KAWS’s public sculptures by Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park Clare Lilley; a studio visit captured by NY-based photographer Jason Schmidt; and a selection of KAWS’s preparatory drawings. With the unmistakable COMPANION figure gracing the cover, KAWS is the most substantial body of scholarship on the artist to date.
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