KAWS, FAMILY (2021) Bronze, paint, (219.1 x 207 x 95.6 cm) © KAWS

KAWS, FAMILY (2021) Bronze, paint, (219.1 x 207 x 95.6 cm) © KAWS


Opens September 30, 2023

Located on Level 2 in the Signy Eaton Gallery.

Opens to AGO Members September 27-29, 2023 
Opens to Annual Pass Holders and general admission on September 30, 2023

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Visitors 25 and under. Learn more.


Making his Canadian museum debut, Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly (1974), better known as KAWS, bridges the worlds of art, popular culture and commerce with sophisticated humour and insightful appropriation. Renowned for his larger-than-life sculptures of cartoon-inspired characters and exuberant hard-edge paintings that playfully emphasize line and colour, much like 1960s Pop artists, he blurs the boundaries between populist and elite art, bringing mass media imagery into traditional art spaces.  Straddling the world of art and design, KAWS has forged a large international following both inside and outside the art world.  

In this original AGO exhibition, visitors will see first hand the artists’ meticulous methods, creative process and range, through more than 60 artworks including wall murals, sketches, paintings, sculptures, his altered phone booth advertisements and collaborations. Centered in Signy Eaton Gallery, with interventions throughout the museum, the centrepiece of the exhibition, is a larger-than-life painted bronze sculpture FAMILY (2021), featuring four of KAWS’ recurring figures of varying sizes posed as a nuclear family.  

Organized by the AGO, the exhibition is curated by Julian Cox, AGO Deputy Director and Chief Curator.



KAWS was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1974. Over the last two decades he has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence and affection for our times. His practice possesses a sophisticated humour and thoughtful interplay with consumer products and collaborations with global brands, ranging from General Mills and Nike, to Supreme and Comme de Garçons. He often draws inspiration from and appropriates from pop-culture animations to form a unique artistic vocabulary for his work across a variety of media.

KAWS has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally, but never in Canada. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at institutions such as the Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Fire Station, Qatar Museums, Doha; Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai. He is represented by Skarstedt Gallery in New York

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