Kaws: New Fiction
Serpentine start 2022 with a multi-layered global project with the internationally acclaimed artist KAWSKAWS developed in collaboration with Acute Art and the online video game Fortnite.
Kaws: New Fiction
18 January - 27 February 2022
Article by Serpentine North Gallery
n his first major solo exhibition in London, NEW FICTION, KAWS (Brian Donnelly b.1974) will
present new and recent works in physical and augmented reality at Serpentine North from 18
January - 27 February 2022. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with Acute Art and
curated by Acute’s Artistic Director, Daniel Birnbaum. A virtual recreation of the show will launch
simultaneously (at 3pm GMT on 18 January) in Fortnite, allowing millions of players from all over the world to experience the exhibition from anywhere. All built by the Fortnite Creative community, players will be able to explore the Serpentine’s grounds and experience KAWS’ artworks and his iconic sculptures in a completely new way.
In addition to the Fortnite collaboration, Serpentine and KAWS will use an app developed by Acute to offer a bridge between the virtual and the physical worlds. All the paintings and sculptures in the exhibition as well as a miniature version of the entire show will exist as AR works on the Acute Art app and can be placed and viewed at home by viewers globally. They can also be shared on social media, making KAWS’ art visible across the world. The aim is to explore new visual media and to reach larger and more diverse audiences.
Brooklyn-based KAWS is considered one of the most innovative artists of his generation. Within the Pop Art tradition, he has created a prolific body of influential work, which both engages young people with contemporary art and straddles the worlds of art and design to include street art, graphic and product design, paintings, murals and large-scale sculptures. KAWS regularly exhibits in museums and galleries internationally and his work continues to appeal to diverse audiences within and beyond the artworld as well as the commercial sector. He has collaborated with creative industry leaders including Nike, Comme des Garçons, Dior, and Uniqlo.
“This is an incredibly exciting project for me. I always like exploring new mediums for my art. I became interested in working with AR when I realized the quality that can be achieved now. Then came the invitation to work with Fortnite. Now all these things come together in a complex exhibition that takes place in parallel realities. I want to thank the incredible teams at Fortnite, Acute Art and Serpentine.”
Daniel Birnbaum, Artistic Director of Acute Art and curator of NEW FICTION at the Serpentine Galleries, said:
KAWS has emerged as a truly global artist with mass appeal to audiences everywhere. His art transcends genres and defies all traditional hierarchies. This project will reach a larger and more diverse audience than any other exhibition I have curated. It marks the beginning of a new chapter of art living in parallel worlds and reaching local and global audiences simultaneously. I am thrilled to be involved in this unique collaboration. We have entered a new era!”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director and Bettina Korek, CEO, Serpentine said:
“We are thrilled to work with such an incredible group of collaborators on this unique project that tests how Serpentine can enter the multiverse. This innovative exhibition builds on other exciting ventures bridging art and Pop culture, and follows CONNECT, special activations initiated with the K-Pop group BTS in 2020. This multi-dimensional project, accessible through virtual and physical portals, demonstrates the remarkable synergies between gaming, space and sensorial experience.”
Nate Nanzer, Vice President of Global Partnerships at Epic Games said:
“This is the second time we’ve partnered up with KAWS to bring his unique artistic vision to Fortnite - and the first time Fortnite has made a real-world art exhibit accessible virtually to our millions of players around the world. Art and creative culture inspire our players on a daily basis, and we’re thrilled that this partnership will bring the work of KAWS to an even more diverse global audience. This is a space we plan to continue to invest in over the coming years”.
The project will be accompanied by a forthcoming publication which will include contributions by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Daniel Birnbaum and the American novelist Alexandra Kleeman.
On the occasion of the project’s opening, KAWS has produced a limited edition print. Serpentine has a history of selling editions with artists to raise essential and core funds for the gallery.
The Serpentine gratefully acknowledges the support of Skarstedt Gallery, Acute Art and a number of project partners.
Kaws: New Fiction
18 January - 27 February 2022
Serpentine North Gallery
West Carriage Drive, London W2 2AR
Tue - Sat 10am - 6pm
*Advance tickets are now sold out. Limited walk-in tickets are available each day, dependent on capacity.
For more information, please visit www.serpentinegalleries.org
Sources & Credit:
1. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Watching (2018), New Fiction (2018) and Seeing (2018). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
2. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Seeing (2018), Sleepless (2018), Getting the call (2018) and What Party (2020). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
3. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Glass Smile (2012), Untitled (BAM) (2013) and WatchingG (2018). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
4. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Untitled (2018), Mirror (2018), Sleepless (2018) and Getting the Call(2018). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
5. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. What Party (2020). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
6. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Untitled (BAM) (2013), So Close (2021), So Far(2021) and New Rivals (2021). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
7. KAWS: New Fiction at Serpentine. Family (2021) and Untitled (2019). © Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS).
8. KAWS, FAMILY, 2021, Bronze, paint, 86 1/4 x 81 1/2 x 37 5/8 inches. Copyright: © KAWS / Private Collection
9. KAWS GETTING THE CALL, 2018 Acrylic on canvas 90 x 72 inches, © KAWS / Private Collection, Courtesy of Tian & Ran Limited and Skarstedt Gallery
10. KAWS WHAT PARTY, 2020 Bronze, paint 90 x 43 x 35 inches, © KAWS / Private Collection
11. © Epic Games
12. KAWS SO FAR, 2021 Acrylic on canvas 112 x 94 inches, © KAWS / Private Collection
13. KAWS NEW FICTION, 2018 Acrylic on canvas 96 x 288 inches, © KAWS / Private Collection