NEW YORK – He’s reimagined the MTV Video Music Awards’ Moonman, had one of his characters fly over New York City in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and regularly shows at prominent galleries, but artist KAWS got his start on the streets of New York in the 1990s.
In addition to tags, KAWS staged bus stop interventions, where he’d pick the locks on bus shelters to replace the original ads with some of his own artwork. As of last summer, he’s made a prominent return to outdoor art, with a mural overlooking BAM’s bike parking lot on Lafayette Avenue, created in collaboration with musician and noted bike enthusiast David Byrne.
Many of KAWS’s sculptures featured prominently large heads, like those of the bobble-heads gracing the desks of office workers the world over, and exaggerated round eyes with an X in place of the pupil. The mural is mostly abstract, with blocks and cubes of color, but two circles, in pink and purple, with those tell tale Xs made me hope it was in fact KAWS’s work. The words “bold wink” are written in yellow letters at the bottom. It’s just the right amount of cartoonish, and the bright blues, pinks, and purples are a stark counterpoint to BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, the columned, Beaux Art beauty across Lafayette Avenue. It’s one of my favorite buildings in the city, and I like to wonder what kind of conversations it would have with the bright mural across the street.
The yellow matches that of the bike racks, which were designed by Byrne and have space for up to 20 bikes.
ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE