What Party


  • Medium:Bronze, paint
  • Year:2020
  • Size:109.2 x 88.9 x 228.6 cm


Born in New Jersey, United States, Brian Donnelly (KAWS) has gone from being a graffiti artist on the streets of New York to one of the world’s most recognized trendsetters. His practice subverts popular animation characters in a manner that perfectly bridges between art, popular culture, and commerce, and became emblematic of an artistic phenomenon produced by today’s mass culture and consumerism.

What Party is a 2.28-meter-tall yellow action figure modeled after the Michelin Man. It is one of the artist’s longest running appropriated characters. What Party has evolved from Chum, the “close friend” figure that debuted in 2002, and has been given a new personality.

With unbounded energy and optimism, CHUM remained positive and self-assured until 2018. No longer confident and resolute, KAWS’s WHAT PARTY, 2020, appears downcast and isolated. Its subdued look along with KAWS’ iconic X-ed out eyes and puffy crossbones plunged through its skull are broken up by a bright fluorescent yellow, executed with the artist’s signature moves: The cognitive dissonance of those heavy themes can always be rendered in the cheerful, splashy language of animation

This redefinition of his early art images symbolizes KAWS’ return to his past iconic figuration. As the artist reflects on the relationship between individuals and society as a whole, he has sought out a way to re-examine himself, consistently reiterating his creative mantra: “You are what you see.”

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