Aptly titled “Companion (Passing Through)”, the sixteen feet tall sculpture by KAWS has relocated from the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut to the front plaza of the Standard Hotel in New York City. Originally commissioned for the expansive Harbour Mall in Hong Kong, “Companion” is a hybrid of KAWS’s signature skull head and the body of Mickey Mouse in grayscale. With both hands covering his face, the cartoonish figure in repose appears to be experiencing a range of negative emotions induced by his surroundings. The specific conditions are ambiguous yet the pose speaks to the viewer with its instant familiarity and universal language of shame, humiliation, and social withdrawal.
More images and text after the jump…
In an interview with T Magazine, KAWS, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, said the concept materialized when he arrived in Hong Kong at the original installation site. “I was invited to do the piece, I went and saw the site. And immediately I was like, ‘God if I had to sit out here, I would just be mortified if this many people walked past me.’ And that’s how that pose came.” Earlier this year, KAWS also produced 1000 sets of limited edition incandescent light bulbs for the Standard Hotel featuring red, purple and green filaments in the form of his trademark X’s.
KAWS started his career as a graffiti artist in Jersey City, New Jersey and is now based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His oeuvre currently includes sculptures, paintings, and toymaking. The artist graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Illustration and has had solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Miami, and Paris. He is represented by Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; Gering & López Gallery, New York; and Galería Javier López, Madrid.
The Kaws Effect [NY Times]
Kaws ‘Companion (Passing Through)’ [PaperMag]
KAWS’s Spooky Mickey Mouse at the Standard [ArtInfo]
KAWS at the Standard, New York [The Standard Hotel]
Matt Black Interview with Kaws [Ace Hotel Blog