KAWS on PAFA’s Front Facade

October 12, 2013 – January 4, 2015

Historic Landmark Building

The KAWS sculpture on PAFA’s front façade launches PAFA’s Sculpture Plinth Exhibition Program, which embraces PAFA's mission to engage the full spectrum of American art— including art made now—in a visceral and highly-visual way. Taking its cue from the Fourth Plinth Program in Trafalgar Square in London, the Sculpture Plinth Exhibition Program presents attention-catching art in an unexpected location. The KAWS installation is the first of a series of year-long installations on the plinth. Details on other artists will be announced in the near future.


Brooklyn-based, KAWS is a world-renowned artist who exhibits in museums and galleries internationally.  KAWS’ art stands within the historical continuum that began with Pop Art, straddling the line between fine art and global commerce.  From his 16-foot tall sculpture COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) to his recent 32-foot tall wooden sculpture SMALL LIE, his artworks are immediately recognizable as he transforms iconic pop culture characters into thought-provoking works of art.  His work possesses a sophisticated humor while utilizing a refined graphic language that revitalizes figuration with big, bold gestures and keen, playful intricacy. By producing fine art via thoughtful interplay with consumer products and collaborations with global brands, KAWS moves beyond the sphere of the exclusive art market to occupy a more complex, global market. 

KAWS was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts. KAWS’ museum exhibitions include solo shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. His work can be seen at galleries internationally, including Galerie Perrotin, Paris, Hong Kong, and New York; and Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

Curator: Harry Philbrick, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Museum

Sponsors: The Sculpture Plinth Program: KAWS, is supported by the Goldstone Foundation, Arthur Dantchik, and Barbara and Ted Aronson.

PAFA's special exhibitions in 2013-14 are supported by generous contributions from Edward and Wendy Harvey.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ public programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).




General operating support provided, in part, by