One of the most closely watched art-market stars has departed a gallery that has represented him for more than a decade.
KAWS is no longer represented by Perrotin gallery, ARTnews has learned. The gallery, which has locations in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai, has shown the artist, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, since 2008.
The artist will remain represented by Skarstedt gallery, which has two spaces in New York and one in London, still listed KAWS on its roster. ARTnews has reached out to Skarstedt for comment.
Since 2008, Perrotin has hosted nine solo shows by the artist. The gallery’s founder, Emmanuel Perrotin, said in a statement, “We are very proud of the work we did with KAWS over these 11 years of our collaboration. Considering all the pressure, this collaboration has come to an end. In any case, we will be satisfied if his career continues to develop in a good way and we wish him all the very best moving forward.”
Perrotin had hinted at KAWS’s departure last week in an interview with Artnet News, telling the publication, “I doubt he will continue with us for long.” (His comment today echoes some he made in that article.)
The departure from Perrotin’s roster comes as KAWS’s market is ballooning dramatically. His work achieved a new record at auction earlier this year at an auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, where his 2005 painting The Kaws Album soared past its $760,000–$1 million estimate and sold for $14.7 million. In the recent London auctions, NYT (COMPANION CLOSE UP) Brown (2013) sold for $2.31 million at Christie’s contemporary evening sale. In May in New York, KURF (Hot Dog), 2008, brought in $2.66 million at Sotheby’s evening sale.
The news comes amid preparations for a KAWS survey that is set to open at the Brooklyn Museum in 2021. It will be his first full-career exhibition in the city that he calls home.
KAWS has become well known for his paintings and sculptures of characters culled from pop-cultural sources, including the television shows SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons. Having begun as a street artist, KAWS is now fully ensconced in the blue-chip gallery system.
Skarstedt has shown KAWS’s work for the past year and a half, and it most recently hosted a solo exhibition of his work last year in New York.