Visiting the KAWS Exhibit at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai

May 30, 2017 2:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPA_DanielleThai_Blogger_Shanghai.pngDanielle Thai is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A resource economics major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Danielle visits the Yaz Museum to see an exhibit by Brooklyn artist Brian Donnelly aka KAWS.


Where the end starts. You might be wondering where exactly that is, and as it turns out, the end starts at the KAWS exhibition at the Yuz Museum in the West Bund of Shanghai. The artist Brian Donnelly, also known as KAWS, is a Brooklyn based artist who has made a name for himself through his creations of larger than life sculptures of human cartoon characters and hard edge paintings that emphasize line and color.

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Today a friend and I decided to take a journey to see these larger than life sculptures and we weren't disappointed. We had a little trouble getting there by the metro since we missed our stop a couple of times. There was also a moment of panic on the metro ride that we would not make it on time because we forgot to check the hours of the museum before we left; which was mostly my fault!

Once we arrived at the museum we saw our first sculpture outside. It was a giant KAWS creature based off of a Sesame Street character, but neither of us could put our finger on which one it was. After admiring the larger than life sculpture outside, we decided to venture on inside to see what else we could find. The gallery was open and had a modern art feel. There were many more KAWS characters that were posed differently. The one that stood out to me the most was one of KAWS’s more popular sculptures based off of Mickey Mouse where his face was obscured by both of his hands. My friend was being funny and went to stand in front of the sculpture and mimicked its pose. We then went around to the rest of the large sculptures and imitated their poses.

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After exploring the sculptures in the main exhibit area, we went into the side galleries to look at the hard line paintings he is so well known for. You could definitely see the inspiration of graffiti in his paintings. One of his more popular paintings is of the Simpsons family sitting on a couch, but of course they are painted as his strange KAWS characters with x-ed out eyes.

We continued to walk around some more and started to see a pattern of obscured cartoon characters in most of his paintings. It was fun to look at a new painting and figure out what aspects of it were based off a cartoon. There were a lot of paintings that were inspired by characters such as SpongeBob, The Simpsons and Snoopy from Peanuts. On the way out there was a small show room of some of his sketches and smaller sculpture based off of other characters from Star Wars and Disney movies like Pinocchio.

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There are an endless possibility of characters for KAWS to base his creatures off of; I am excited to see what he creates next. Although the exhibit was on the smaller side, it was fun to walk around and see this funky art that KAWS created.

Until next time,

Thanks Danielle!

Danielle's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned!

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Topics: Shanghai, China, Art Abroad