The New York- and Arizona-based design firm, founded by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch in 2009, based its design around the large-scale works Kaws produces.
“Kaws likes to work with physical models so we built a 15-foot-long model of the museum to get acquainted with its tremendous scale,” Aranda told Dezeen. “It used to be an aeroplane hangar and its size is quite deceptive in photographs.”
“The design engages the massive hangar space with simple but large architectural elements, a room and a wall, that serve to organise artwork around them.”
Kaws, whose real name is Brian Donnelly, is known for his brightly coloured, cartoon-like works and limited-edition objects. The Brooklyn-based artist previously painted his signature motifs across two basketball courts in New York City for Nike.
The exhibition, named Where the End Starts, includes key paintings, sculptures, drawings and toys that the artist has created over the last 20 years of his career. It marks the first time he has had a retrospective in Asia.
The largest pieces in the exhibition are contained to the Great Hall of the gallery, and almost reach up to the ceiling – which is eight metres high.
Other smaller sculptures and paintings are dispersed around the surrounding galleries.
“Conceived as a kind of temple, the Great Hall is a space of intense focus accomplished through an illuminated ceiling over the piece, Companion Passing Through,” said Aranda.
“Each of the surrounding galleries displays different aspects of his oeuvre, from the black and white works to his formative graffiti works to his smaller-scale collectables,” he continued. “They are not strict divisions but do track an intense and focused output across the years.”
Aranda and Lasch founded their self-titled studio in 2009. Other projects by the firm include a seating installation made of foam pyramids, which was on view at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010, and a temporary pavilion designed for the Design Miami collector’s fair.
Kaws: Where the End Starts is on show at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai until 13 August.
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