Jersey City–born, Brooklyn-based artist KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, says goodbye to 2020 with the installation of CHUM, a large-scale sculpture on the plaza in front of the Seagram Building on Park Ave. in Midtown. Kicking off the “What Party” iteration of his “Larger than Life: Companion” series, featuring emotional, empathetic giant figures inspired by Mickey Mouse, Bib the Michelin Man, and astronauts, with KAWS’s trademark double x’s on their eyes or face and other parts of their bodies, the all-black CHUM looks down dejectedly, slouching, arms at his side, with x’s on his hands and boots as well as his face.
KAWS, who was previously an animator, a graffiti artist, and an interventionist, has occasionally brought together two characters at a time to comfort each other. CHUM could use a hug and a smile from a pal, but unfortunately his nearest companion is a few blocks southwest, where the lonely bubblegum pink giant known as BFF stands by himself, trapped permanently inside a glassed-in space, his white eyes staring straight ahead with emptiness. It’s a shame these two sad, lonely creatures can’t meet up as we all look forward to a 2021 in which real, physical contact might return again.