Busy times for the artist best known as KAWS, who's fresh from Human Made and Supreme collabs. Now, the Brooklyn-based creative is off to Tokyo, or at least his personal art collection is. Though KAWS has showed much love to Japan in the past, Mori Arts Center Gallery's forthcoming "KAWS Tokyo First" exhibition is the first large-scale showcase of his work in the nation, a momentous occasion that naturally calls for much celebratory merch.
Comprising over 150 works that span KAWS' entire career, "KAWS Tokyo First" — which borrows its name from KAWS' first Japan show back in 2001 — traces the artist's latest output back to his earliest pieces, exploring the trails that KAWS blazed in the realm between fine and commercial art.
There's even a meta angle that considers the "unique trajectory of art production," MACG says. To further sweeten the pot, KAWS' private art collection will also be on display so as to recreate his Brooklyn studio.
If a KAWS experience occurs in Japan without merch, does it really happen? Of course not, so the artist has rejoined several of his longtime pals to create a selection of commemorative merch that ties in with the affair.
UNIQLO UT, Medicom Toy, and Fire King are all on hand to dish out exclusive KAWS goodies, including Companion tees, matching key holders, and mugs. KAWS even reworked a Peeps-shaped Hiyoko collectible, complete with X-ed out eyes.
Now, the exhibit has revealed some exclusive sacai goods, complementing the duo's recent high-end clothing collaboration. The monochrome T-shirts presented here are a more affordable alternative to the elevated (and expensive) tees from that lineup, utilizing a more cost-effective base and printing process.
Both of the tees are joined by a sacai handbag and three blacked-out accessories manufactured by luggage label PORTER, including a helmet bag, pouch, and wallet all laden with thematic imagery.
Visit "KAWS Tokyo First" website to learn more about the upcoming exhibit, which will open its doors from July 16 — right before the ever-controversial Tokyo Olympics — and ends on October 11. No word on an international merch drop, but given the scale of UNIQLO and KAWS' respective fanbases, don't be surprised if a wider release occurs later this summer.