Posted by in Art History, Creativity, Featured, Museums | 0 comments


I finally was able to visit the KAWS exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter Charles Wilson Peale, sculptor William Rush and other business leaders of the time. PAFA is a museum and fine arts school that confers Bachelors and Masters degrees. Famous artist who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts include Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Maxfield Parrish, Charles Sheeler, John Sloan, Charles Demuth, Arthur B. Carles, architect Louis I. Kahn and filmmaker David Lynch.

The building is a registered National Historic landmark designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt and is an example of Victorian Gothic architecture. The building is grande and houses a vast collection of American art from the 1760’s to the present day.

So who is KAWS you ask? Well, so did I. Brian Donnelly, professionally known as KAWS, is a Brooklyn based artist, well known as a designer of limited edition toys and clothing. KAWS attended the School of Visual Arts and became a graffiti artist in New York City in the 1990’s. He graduated in 1996 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. His graffiti art began to become sought after and recognize in major cities throughout the world. During the late 1990’s he began to design and produce limited edition vinyl toys.


KAWS has also made a series of hard edge acrylic paintings all with repeated child like imagery.

His spoof of the Simpson’s, “the Kimpson’s” is also on display.


The exhibit is an amazing juxtaposition between the classis arts of the American period with the contemporary child like sculptures of KAWS. Each sculpture plays off of what is around it making one think about what contemporary art will be joining the ranks of the most famous classic sculptures of the past. While hundreds of years ago, marble and bronze were the medium of the time, plastic and vinyl are todays. KAWS is an artist we all should all be watching in the future.

Have your child curate their own KAWS inspired exhibit!

Have your kids curate their own show using their favorite toys and figures. Pick out a famous painting online using Google art project or use a post card from a museum visit. Have you child place their toys in front of the image and snap a picture. What toys will they place with what famous artworks? Discuss their choices with them. Why are these toys going with this famous work? Maybe it’s the color choices of the objects or maybe it’s the shapes of the toys along with the shapes of the famous artworks. Create a rich discussion with your child about their choices. They will open your eyes to the many creative connections they can bring together. Be inspired!


What do you think of KAWS? Send us your child’s KAWS inspired photographs…we’d love to post them! 

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