Lines are an enigma to me. People seem to be drawn to them. Amusement parks are a good example. Movie theater ticket stands are another. A secret enjoyment of mine is to stand near a crowded line, form a “new one”, gather a following, and then walk away without saying a word. I’m an ass. I don’t like staying within the lines let alone waiting in one, so it’s hard for me to understand sometimes why people do it.
So when I caught a glimpse of the manmade monstrosity snaking down La Cienega, wrapping around the corner of Venice and dangerously spilling into oncoming traffic, I stopped dead in my tracks. Holy fuck. I was headed to the Honor Fraser Gallery and was stunned. Was this hullabaloo really for KAWS’ first solo L.A. show? Indeed it was. The clamoring crowd that besieged the gallery’s front door was a dead giveaway. My initial reaction was irritation. There was no way I was waiting in that line. My second was regret. I should have eaten a snack and worn comfortable shoes.
For diehard fans who tried to sneak, bribe, crash and whine their way into the Honor Fraser Gallery on Friday night to get a peek at KAWS’ new work and of the man himself, my complaints fell on deaf ears. They would have waited an eternity… Thank goodness I was granted pardon and allowed to bypass the melee.
As I crossed the threshold, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have known about Brian Donnelly aka KAWS’ work for quite a while now. Traveling back and forth to New York for over ten years, my eyes and his art have crossed paths many times. It’s hard for me to label Brian an “artist”. It doesn’t fit. And the slash/slash aspect is too pretentious in itself. KAWS is in a category I like to refer to as “the adaptor”, those who can, when given an opportunity to do something completely different, do it with ease. It’s the “what you don’t know” part that’s always a real kicker, a “Jack of All Trades” notion.
I entered the gallery with my mind distracted, busy contemplating my philosophical art ideas, and was completely taken by surprise. A barrage of vibrant colors assaulted my eyes. The intensity was like an “11” setting on a Spinal Tap speaker, just that extra notch above 10. The neon snot green life size Chum standing guard in the middle of the room, the huge intricately painted canvases exploding with glowing blues, yellows, reds, etc., the KURFS (KAWS/Smurfs), the black on black KAWSBOB, and a self portrait bust, playfully lying on the ground like a crime scene, complimented the stark Johnston Marklee designed space. I was drawn to his use of color and his beautiful lines. Nose to canvas nearly happened several times as I tried to get a closer look at how clean his hand painted lines really were. I appreciated what I saw, and wasn’t the only one. Guests such as designer/stylist Carri Mundane aka Cassette Playa, artist Robert Williams, Brendan Fowler from ANP Quarterly, Shawn Mortensen and more came out to officially welcome KAWS to L.A. and partake in the evening’s playful tone.
KAWS: The Long Way Home
February 21st, 2009- April 4th, 2009
HONOR FRASER GALLERY
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034