Monday, June 7th, 2010
KAWS‘ first comprehensive print survey is set to release September 21 via Rizzoli, one of the most respected names in art publishing. The book includes contributions by Monica Ramirez-Montagut, curator at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut (where KAWS opens his first museum show later this month) and Germano Celant, whose lengthy credentials include the titles of Director of Fondazione Prada in Milan, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim, Artistic Director of the first Florence Biennial in 1996, and Curator of the 1997 Venice Biennale.
This is not the first time Celant has taken an interest in artists who have crossed over from the street. In 2002 he curated Barry McGee’s first major international solo museum exhibition at Fondazione Prada, and interviewed the artist for the show’s catalog.
Celant’s interest in artists whose roots run deep in graffiti culture is easy to understand. His own contributions to contemporary art span more than 40 years, and can be traced back to the 1960s, when he spawned Arte Povera in Italy. Created in support of artists who were creating in mediums beyond those historically accepted, the loose-knit movement (literally translated as “poor art”) championed art made without any material, theoretical, or economic restraints, that, much like modern graffiti, could thrive free of the art-establishment or market place. It’s worth noting, just as many of that movement’s pioneers eventually reached larger levels of critical recognition and financial success, so have artists like KAWS and McGee.