The celebrated American artist and designer expands his “Companion” project with a series of floating AR artwork.
Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, has spent the last 20 years developing and expanding upon his lineup of vinyl “Companion” collectables which have since garnered a sizable following thanks to an impressive number of high-profile collectors, such as Pharrel Williams, Swizz Beats, members of the kpop group BTS, and Pewdiepie, just to name a few.
Whether it be $200 11-inch vinyl toys so popular they manage to crash the Museum of Modern Art Design store website or a $1.9 million 23-foot fiberglass structure, it’s clear that Donnelly has zero hesitations when it comes to embracing new mediums, including potentially groundbreaking technology.
This past Thursday, Donnelly expanded his portfolio even further via a free exhibition entitled Expanded Holiday which saw the prolific designer populating major cities around the globe with three gargantuan AR sculptures based on his popular Companion series. Each of these unique figures can be viewed at 12 famous locations scattered across six continents, including Times Square in NYC, Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, and the Louvre in Paris.
The following is a list of all compatible sites:
- Museum of Islamic Art – Doha, Qatar
- Observation Wheel – Hong Kong
- Millenium Bridge – London, United Kingdom
- National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne, Australia
- Brooklyn Museum – New York, United States
- Times Square, NYC, United States
- The Louvre Pyramid – Paris, France
- Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Seoul, Korea
- National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall – Taipei, Taiwan
- Serengeti National Park – Tanzania
- Shibuya Crossing – Tokyo, Japan
If you happen to find yourself at one of these locations at any point between now and March 26th, simply download the Acute Art app on iOS or Android and aim your camera upwards to see a massive Companion figure floating through the sky. It’s sort of like the Macy’s Day Parade for contemporary art fanatics.
“When I realized the quality that could be achieved and experienced in AR, I was immediately drawn to its potential,” states Donnelly on his official site. “I have been creating objects and exhibiting works in public spaces throughout my career, and this allows me to expand on that in a whole new arena. The possibilities of locations and scale are endless, and I’m excited to start a new dialogue in this medium.”
“(Acute Art) was founded on the vision of bringing art to places where it could not be before, and creating experiences that are not replicable without technology,” said Acute Art CEO Jacob de Geer according to CNN. “It’s always been about creating a piece that could not be painted or sculpted.”
“Technology has arrived at a point where it’s actually possible to build an AR or an MR experience that is completely convincing and really works as an artwork. In a way, it’s really democratizing art,” continued de Geer. “It’s also allowing the person enjoying the art to interact with (it) to place the art themselves — to be a curator.”
Those unable to visit any of the above-mentioned locations can also “lease” their own personal AR Companions and activate them anywhere they’d like. $6.99 grants you access to one AR figurine for seven days; $29.99 gets you thirty days with all three figurines. You can also flat-out buy one for a measly $10,000 via the official website (only twenty-five of these limited-edition 1.8m AR sculptures will be made available).
Feature Image Credit: KAWS, Acute Art