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KAWS, THE KAWS ALBUM, 2005, acrylic on canvas, 101.6 × 101.6 cm. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Kawsification

When the parodic, Sgt. Pepper-meets-The Simpsons canvas THE KAWS ALBUM (2005), by Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly (known globally as KAWS) sold for 14-times its presale estimates at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in March, hammering down at an astounding USD 14.8 million, many auction-watchers were shocked. Yes, the canvas came from Japanese street-style icon NIGO®’s collection, but KAWS had only broken the million-dollar mark as recently as 2017. The artist himself marveled to his 2.6 million followers on Instagram: “What a strange morning . . . Do I think my work should sell for this much?—No.”

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