KAWS launches worldwide exhibition through augmented reality app


KAWS launches worldwide exhibition through augmented reality app

Through the app, the artist has been able to exhibit work in otherwise restricted places, including the air space above the Louvre. (Courtesy Acute Art/KAWS)

Acute Art, an app-based art platform that has produced exhibitions with Marina Abramović, Olafur Eliasson, and Cao Fei, has announced an augmented reality (AR) project with the work of artist Brian Donnelley, known professionally as KAWS. The exhibition, EXPANDED HOLIDAY, launched today and is now on display throughout the world simultaneously thanks to the company’s AR app. “Invisible to the naked eye,” the company writes on its website, “the augmented reality art comes to life in your phone’s camera to reveal beautifully crafted sculptures that interact seamlessly and playfully with the world around them.”

Twelve of KAWS’s trademark clown sculptures, now floating several feet above the ground, have been spread out across eleven locations—Doha, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Taipei, Serengeti National Park, Tokyo, and New York City. “When I realized the quality that could be achieved and experienced in AR, I was immediately drawn to its potential,” KAWS expressed in a statement. “I have been creating objects and exhibiting works in public spaces throughout my career, and this allows me to expand on that in a whole new arena. the possibilities of locations and scale are endless, and I’m excited to start a new dialogue in this medium.” The exhibition demonstrates a way for artwork to not only exist in multiple places at once, but to also be placed in sites otherwise restricted from installation. The same sculpture is currently visible, for example, within the iconic Grand Central Terminal atrium and the middle of the highly trafficked Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.

A black-and-white CGI bear floating above a plain
EXPANDED HOLIDAY on display in the Serengeti. (Courtesy Acute Art/KAWS)

EXPANDED HOLIDAY is also exhibited in Serengeti National Park, a vastly opposite site from Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing. And yet, like any other exhibition, the artwork is for sale. Twenty-five of KAWS’s AR sculptures can be purchased as a collection for $10,000 and ‘placed’ wherever the purchaser chooses, with the option of being privately or publicly visible. “His editions will demonstrate that works of art in virtual space can be just as precious and sought-after as those in our physical surroundings,” Jacob de Geer, chief executive of Acute Art, told CNN.

EXPANDED HOLIDAY will be on view until March 26.