KAWS: BLACKOUT | Skarstedt

I’d rocked up to Skarstedt to be confronted by an unfamiliar scene: a queue! In the crowd and confusion, I somehow made it inside despite not having an Eventbrite ticket. A ticketed show in a commercial gallery? It must be KAWS - the hugely hyped multimedia phenomenon, whose work’s everywhere from the MTV awards ‘Moonman’ statue to a line of clothes from Uniqlo.

Elbowing my way through the crowds - who mostly seemed really into the paintings and sculptures on display - I could see the extreme, almost computer-generated flatness of KAWS’s acrylic colours: no drippy paint drops on the sides of his frameless canvases.

installation view TAKE (2019)

And, as befitting of an artist collected by borderline billionaires from Pharell Williams to PewDiePie, the prevailing sense was one of of extreme luxe. The paintings are totally devoid of interest. But KAWS’ sculptures are fascinating. Both on show here feature one of the artist’s mascots, the X-eyed ‘Companions’. Up close, they have a weird inner sheen. Then I read the show notes and found out they were actually painted bronze!

That made me smile. As did the fact the gallery was so full, and so many people were toting their A4 Eventbrite printouts rather than the printed-out press releases and lists of works more usually seen in gallerygoers’ hands.

Though, on the other hand, the Tate-style boundary ropes around the sculptures were pretty grim. And not really in keeping with the happy feeling in the room.

KAWS: BLACKOUT is at Skarstedt (London). October 01 - November 23 2019