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KAWS (Passing Through) sculpture at the Standard Hotel in New York City

In case you haven’t heard… there’s a massive 16 foot tall creature who (for the past month) has made its residence outside the Standard Hotel in New York City. Called “Passing Through” by its creator Kaws, the ‘Companion’ sculpture/exhibition was first unveiled in Hong Kong last year, then resettled for 6 months at the Aldrich Contemporary Museum in Connecticut, and now stationed in the Big Apple.

Now the burning question of the day is – why is “Passing Through” covering his eyes? Is he hiding from someone? Scouring the Internet for an answer, I found it in an interview Kaws did with the New York Times Magazine blog last month. Explaining his companion’s timid demeanor, Kaws says, ‘When I was invited to do the piece (in Hong Kong for Harbour City), I went and saw the site. And immediately I was like, “God if I had to sit out here, I would just be mortified if this many people walked past me.” And that’s how that pose came.

For the uninitiated… Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly (a.k.a. Kaws) is a legendary street artist, turned fine artist, turned toy designer.  By subverting imagery on billboards, bus shelters and phone booth advertisements in the NY area circa 1990s, Kaws pioneered the ‘pop-culture commentary’ approach to street-art. He has spawned many major trends in commercial street art blurring the line between fine art and mass-produced merchandise. The ‘Companion’ model (e.g., “Passing Through”) is one of the most well-known figures in the design industry.

Passing Through” will be at The Standard – 848 Washington Street in New York – through October 2011.

*Photography: Stephen Wordie for Hypebeast.

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