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News Room

High Museum of Art to Present KAWS Exhibition

August 19, 2021

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ATLANTA, August 19, 2021  Since his groundbreaking solo show at the High Museum of Art in 2012, acclaimed artist KAWS (Brian Donnelly) has taken the world by storm with major exhibitions across the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Meanwhile, his monumental sculptural installations, augmented reality sculptures, design collaborations, toys, editioned objects and related works have seized the attention of a massive and diverse audience. Drawing exclusively from the High’s collection, “KAWS PRINTS” (Dec. 3, 2021-March 27, 2022) features all the artist’s editioned silkscreen prints in the Museum’s holdings along with a selection of drawings, color charts and rare early prints. 

“The High is proud to have been among the first to present KAWS’ work to a museum-going public. That early engagement and his generosity hastened a relationship that has resulted in an astonishingly comprehensive public collection of his graphic work,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “This is the first time our KAWS prints will be exhibited together, and we’re thrilled to give our audience an opportunity to familiarize themselves with this important facet of his work.” 

KAWS made his first screenprints in the late 1990s and has since continued to maintain a printmaking practice alongside his production of paintings, sculpture and editioned objects (both real and virtual). Through the syntax of silkscreen printing established by such preeminent and illustrious forebears as Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, which in part obscured distinctions between high and low, KAWS brings into conflict and accord the worlds of fine art, industrial design, technology and popular culture. Like his pop art predecessors, KAWS also has applied his printmaking practice to the advocacy and allyship of causes and cultural institutions. 

Grounding his work in a deep and sustained involvement with graphic art and printmaking, from his early “subvertisements” to the sumptuous, painstakingly crafted screenprints created in the last decade, KAWS embraces the democratic principle of making art and culture accessible to all audiences. “KAWS PRINTS” is the first comprehensive exhibition featuring almost his entire output of editioned prints spanning more than 20 years. 

Michael Rooks, the High’s Wieland Family curator of modern and contemporary art, noted, “KAWS has exponentially expanded the reach of art through his practice, broadening the democratizing effect of the multiple in various ways, incorporating new technologies, but always paying respect to the powerful influence of screenprinting in postwar America.” 

“KAWS PRINTS” will feature the single-image edition print “PAPER SMILE” (2013), which he made for his 2012 exhibition at the High, as well as the print portfolios “UPS AND DOWNS” (2013), “BLAME GAME” (2014), “NO REPLY” (2015), “MAN’S BEST FRIEND” (2015), “THE NEWS” (2017), “TENSION” (2019) and “URGE” (2020), bringing the pop art tradition of silkscreen printmaking — from Warhol, Lichtenstein and Haring to KAWS — full circle. 

“KAWS PRINTS” will be presented on the second level of the High’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing. 

About KAWS 

Brooklyn-based KAWS (born 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey) engages audiences far beyond the museums and galleries in which he regularly exhibits. His prolific body of influential work straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, large-scale sculpture, street art, and graphic and production design. Over the last two decades KAWS has built a career with work that reveals his formal agility as an artist and his underlying wit, irreverence and affection for our times. The nature of his work possesses a sophisticated humor and thoughtful interplay with consumer products and collaborations with global brands. He often draws inspiration and appropriates from pop-culture animations to form a unique artistic vocabulary for his works across various media. Now admired for his larger-than-life sculpture and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and color, he creates a cast of hybrid cartoon and human characters that are perhaps the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. KAWS has been exhibited at the Doha Fire Station Museum; National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Brooklyn Museum; Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; and Yuz Museum in Shanghai. 

Exhibition Organization and Support
“KAWS PRINTS” is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. This exhibition is made possible by Lead Exhibition Sponsor Invesco QQQ; Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate, and wish foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters Anne Cox Chambers Foundation and Robin and Hilton Howell; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters The Antinori Foundation, Corporate Environments, and Elizabeth and Chris Willett; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Marcia and John Donnell, Helen C. Griffith, Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation, Joel Knox and Joan Marmo, Dr. Joe B. Massey, Margot and Danny McCaul, The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust, The Fred and Rita Richman Fund, In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens, USI Insurance Services, and Mrs. Harriet H. Warren. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.

About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 18,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org. 

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DIGITAL IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST 

Media contact:
Marci Davis
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art
404-733-4585
marci.davis@high.org