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KAWS: NEW FICTION at Serpentine
GETTING THE CALL (2018) and WHAT PARTY (2020)© Jonty Wilde (courtesy KAWS)

KAWS’ new exhibition may be the most-attended show in history

New Fiction, which opens today at the Serpentine Gallery, is the first show to be recreated on Fortnite

The trouble with art galleries is that exhibitions can sell out, and recently, limited in-person capacity due to Covid has caused tickets to fly quicker than ever. Enter: the metaverse, and AR, where artists can exhibit their work to a global audience in new ways.

KAWS is the latest artist to beam his work into the online space, with a new solo exhibition in London’s Serpentine Gallery finding the US artist presenting new and recent works in both physical and augmented reality.

Between January 18 and February 27, New Fiction is exhibiting in Serpentine North, presenting many of KAWS’s instantly recognisable Companion statues plus his extensive acrylic work on canvas.

As well as existing IRL, the exhibition will take place on two free online platforms: gaming giant Fortnite (which has over 400 million users) and augmented reality app Acute Art – who Dazed previously joined forces with to present London’s biggest public festival of AR art.

At New Fiction’s press preview, Acute Art’s artistic director Daniel Birnbaum pointed out that the Fortnite collaboration means the show “will reach an audience ten times bigger than the Venice Biennale,” and could be the “most-attended exhibition” ever.

KAWS is the first artist ever to have an exhibition recreated on the gaming platform. “I remember being younger, I found galleries intimidating, but here this is in your territory,” the Brooklyn-based artist told Fast Company.

Fortnite recently expanded its foray into the creative realms with a Balenciaga partnership, offering players items to dress the game’s characters in custom skins, as well as a real-life clothing collaboration.

New Fiction is at the Serpentine Gallery until February 27, with an AR version on the Acute Art app. The exhibition is on Fortnite from 3pm GMT on January 18