KAWS Companion- A Poignant Commentary

I believe one of today’s more compelling pieces of art is by the artist KAWS and his famous “Companion”. C It was outside the Modern Art Museum here in Fort Worth a little over a year ago. It captured me from the moment I saw it. In fact, I continued to think about it for a few days and returned to take a few pictures of it. I was reminded of this piece this weekend because we visited the Modern for an exhibit on NY art in the 80’s. Here is one piece from the exhibit, this is Barbara Kruger’s untitled work which captures the “greed-is-good” attitude of the 1980’s. It is about the search for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world. I-shop-therefore-I-am... It is a play of course on the philosophical idea, “I think therefore I am”. This 80’s spin on this idea is striking. Great art moves us, it challenges us and causes us to reflect. The Companion does it for me because it captures the present age so well. What KAWS has done is given us a glimpse of Mickey and Disney world, behind the scenes. The cartoon figure is a blend of Mickey Mouse and a clown. He appears to be in distress, possibly weeping, but why? I think we all know why. The façade we put up in life, the utopian ideal that many of us feel compelled to project is false. There is a happy face we share with the world but behind the scenes, there is actually a great deal of shame and sadness in our lives. The Disney world we all want others to see, and the projection of fulfilment and happiness we may share on Facebook is only part of the story. KAWS I believe is giving us a glimpse of ourselves. This figure is a mirror that highlights the reality of a plastic world, a false world that we should all question and challenge instead of perpetuating. I share this with you on our website because the parallels to the McMansion are very real. We are building “impressive” larger house that are a false façade. They are false either because we can’t really afford what we just built or what we built will not last and is thus very temporal. I think as a culture we need to explore and pursue eternal values, we need to delve into what is beautiful and pursue eternal beauty. Important things to consider if nothing else. -B