Things to do in Doha: Check out the KAWS exhibition

Brian Donnelly's greatest works are on display

Things to do in Doha: Check out the KAWS exhibition

It’s been a really exciting weekend with all the fun things to do in Doha but we’re most enthusiastic about the first museum show in the Middle East dedicated to American artist Brian Donnelly.

You probably know him as KAWS from his famous sculpture Small Lies at Hamad International Airport.

KAWS: He Eats Alone just opened at the Doha Fire Station and this brand-new exhibition features 40 artworks representing the artist’s studio practice on view at the Garage Gallery.

There’s a monumental (40-metre long) inflatable sculpture, in a reclined position, entitled Holiday (2019) that will soon be installed at the Dhow Harbour. It was installed earlier this year on a campground at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.

Open until January 25, the exhibition has been curated by acclaimed art historian Germano Celant.

The solo survey explores the artist’s career and vast oeuvre featuring paintings, graphic design, small-scale objects and large-scale sculptures made over the past twenty years.

There are approximately ninety examples of products and commercial collaborations designed by KAWS – among them sneakers, skateboards and toys – are presented in the Archive located on the second floor of the Fire Station’s Café building.

KAWS has produced some incredible work over the years, his imagery possesses a sort of sophistication combined with elements of dark humour. There’s an interesting interplay between art and consumerism with references to both art history and pop culture, which we love.

Donnelly started his career in street art in the ’90s, becoming synonymous with the name KAWS, a tag that became a staple in his advertisements and subvertisements.

Later on, he explored industrial production with Companion, Chum and Accomplice. These large- and small-scale objects translate the noisy exuberance of graffiti into 3D cartoon characters that recall familiar images and characters in pop culture.

Blindly, with Xs for eyes, these characters approach their audience with recognisable yet manipulated shapes, mutating in attempt to more easily interact with society.

The mere size of these sculptures invoke a series of emotions in the onlookers.

In the Fire Station’s courtyard, as soon as you enter, you’ll immediately notice a massive sculpture of Companion (Passing Through) sitting right in the middle.

The five-metre matte black figure, seated with his hands covering his eyes, makes you feel a little sad while impressing with its magnanimity.

Companion was created by Kaws in 1999 and represents one of his first 3D characters.

The museum’s Garage Gallery has been transformed into labyrinthine of gallery spaces designed by New York-based studio 2x4.

You’ll find all of Donnelly’s greatest works including He Eats Alone (2014), M2 (2000), Chum (2008) and Accomplice (2010).

Across the courtyard, the Archive features a wide array of smaller KAWS objects in a series of intimately scaled, display vitrines.

The KAWS editions from 1999 to 2019 on view range from fashion and design objects to plush toys and skateboards produced in collaboration with diverse companies and brands.

This is an exhibition for the books, you don’t want to miss it.
QR50 (adults), QR25 (Qataris, residents of Qatar, students), free (children under 16, Culture Pass Plus and Culture Pass Family members, visitors with disabilities). Until Jan 25. Sat-Thu 9am-7pm, 9pm-11.30am, 1.30pm-7pm. Garage Gallery, Doha Fire Station (4422 4222).

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