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Artist profile - KAWS, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:05 10 March 2016

Accomplice (2010)

Accomplice (2010)

Jonty Wilde

Giant sculptures of cartoon-like characters have arrived at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We find out more

Expressive hands, part of a giant KAWS sculpture installed at the Yorkshire Sculpture ParkExpressive hands, part of a giant KAWS sculpture installed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

They are unlikely but most welcome companions for the long-standing classical works of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore exhibited in the landscape at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield.

Six giant sculptures measuring between six and 10 metres high grace the parkland while more sculptures including a baby pink monstrous rabbit-like figure are exhibited in the Longside Gallery, together with five paintings created especially for this show.

All this is the work of former graffiti artist KAWS, otherwise Brian Donnelly, a Brooklyn-based artist, printmaker and sculptor who has, for many, taken popular imagery to another level with his giant cartoon-like figures which were installed at YSP using heavy lifting equipment operated by men in hard hats.

Heavy lifting gear is used in the installation at Yorkshire Sculpture ParkHeavy lifting gear is used in the installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

At least 20 works created in bronze, fibreglass, aluminium and wood, alongside the bright, painted canvases make up this solo exhibition, KAWS’ first in the UK, which runs until June 12th.

KAWS, a keen collector or toys and art, entertains his 400,000 or so followers on Instagram with regular postings of his latest works. He is considered one of the most relevant artists of today, said to reach people across the generations with contemporary art and is credited with creating interest among young people least likely to step foot in a gallery or visit an exhibition.

Yet the art world continues to hold mysteries for him as he told The Independent newspaper when he said: ‘I did a series called Permanent Thirty-Three (2008): bronze heads of me in different colours that I did when I was 33 years-old. People approach the work in different ways – when it’s eight inches and plastic it’s a toy, if it’s eight inches in painted bronze it’s an artwork. I always felt that to be ridiculous.’ 

For more information go to ysp.co.uk

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