1974 · United States

Artist biography

Kaws is seen as an established mid-career artist, who originates from the United States, like other famous artists such as Anne De Carbuccia, Tori Tinsley, Jason Matthew Lee, Gavin Russom, and Frank Heath. Kaws was born in 1974.

About Kaws' works

Kaws plays a pivotal role in the fields of Street art and Pop. More than just a movement, street art can be recognized as a true art form, and as an essential part of modern contemporary art. Fuelled by the graffiti art of the 1970s-1980s, street art has since been in a perpetual flux of self-transformation, endlessly shifting the boundaries and the reality of modern art. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were pioneers in demonstrating that their artworks could exist at the same time in art galleries and in urban settings, thus inspiring later artists such as Shepard Fairey, JR and Banksy to keep exploring and re-defining street art.

Pop art was born in the 1950s simultaneously across America and Britain, and reached its peak in the 1960s, in a climate of heightened consumerism and cultural revolution. Emerging artists felt like they couldn’t get in touch with the current state of art as it was taught or exhibited in museums, which they deemed too sequestered from their everyday lives. This led them to turn to popular culture as their main subject matter, scandalizing modernist critics. Among a few of the qualities enumerated by pop artist Richard Hamilton, Pop Art should aim to be young, glamorous, sexy, witty, low-cost and mass produced. While in the United States pop artists were essentially trying to move away from the deeply personal symbolism of abstract expressionism, in Britain the movement was more focused on the power of American pop-culture imagery, and its influence on the society.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Kaws is represented by 8 galleries around the world, including countries like Denmark, Spain, and the United States. Some of those galleries are Multiplesinc Projects in Copenhagen, Lionel Gallery in Amsterdam, and Galería Javier López & Fer Francés in Madrid. Kaws most recent exhibition recorded on Artland was at Skarstedt Gallery | London in the United Kingdom with the exhibition Blackout. The exhibition was open from 30 September 2019 until 22 November 2019. Kaws' other most recent exhibitions recorded on Artland include the exhibitions at; Skarstedt Gallery | 19 E 64th Street in New York (08 January 2020 - 12 February 2020) with the name Gropu exhibition and Susan Inglett Gallery in New York (05 December 2019 - 24 January 2020) with the name By / Buy Me. Kaws' first recorded exhibition in Artland's database was called GONE and took place at Skarstedt Gallery | East 79th Street in New York, the United States from the 08 November 2018 to 19 December 2018.

Kaws in private collections

On Artland, Kaws' works can be seen in several Collections, including HVR and Madison Moynihan. These also feature works from other critically-acclaimed artists such as Philipp Keel, Miriam Tölke, and Jesús Herrera Martínez.

Historical Context of United States

The United States, particularly New York city, endures as a central point that has played a significant role in developing modern and contemporary art in the twentieth century. The concept of New York as a new multinational and highly powerful art hub emerged in the post war era, and the city succeeded in affirming its dominance over Paris, which used to be considered as the most powerful global art capital. The authority of the political and economic structures of the United States in the modern era has provided the country with a powerful influence on the visual culture of the world. Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Expressionism, Graffiti and Street Art, are influential art movements that emerged in the US. These very movements also echoed into a myriad of variations, such as diverse forms of Abstract Expressionism, as well as East and West Coast adaptations of Pop Art, among others. Some internationally acclaimed U.S artists of the modern age include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Further Biographical Context for Kaws

Kaws was born in 1974 and was largely influenced by the 1990s growing up. Art in the 1990s was defined at the start of the decade by a group of artists in the United Kingdom that came to be known as the YBAs, or Young British Artists. They were a diverse collective of artists, affiliated loosely by their age, nationality, and their association with Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art in London, alongside being favoured by super collector of the time Charles Saatchi. The most renowned artist of the group is Damien Hirst, who was also an early organiser of group activities. Other artists included Chris Ofili, Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn, Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Sam Taylor-Wood. Much of their work became noted for shock tactics and the sensationalism of both material and message. They also became famed for their use of throwaway materials, wild-living, and an attitude that was simultaneously counter-culture rebellion but also entrepreneurial. They achieved a large amount of media coverage and dominated British art during the decade. Their international shows in the mid-1990s included the now legendary ‘Sensation'. A proliferation of trends characterised the decade, including the highly derisive sculpture of Maurizio Cattelan, and extremely sensitive advancements of conceptualism as shown in the work of artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres.


  • Artworks in Collections 19
  • Exhibitions 6
  • Related Artists

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