Massive KAWS Collection

The same day I drove south in my car full of hedgehogs destined for Comic-Con, High Snobiety posted this epic KAWS collection. What is believed to be the most complete KAWS treasure trove in the entire world belongs to Los Angeles-based “digital virtuoso” Ronnie Pirovino. It is really quite an amazing feat to have assembled all of this in one place. I’d been looking for a current excuse to post it here, and I got it today, when it was announced that a brazen unabomber-looking thief stole a $100,000 KAWS early bus stop piece from Marc Ecko. Damn. One hopes Ronnie Pirovino has better security!

Pirovino and I began our interest in KAWS on similar trajectories. We both really caught the bug after seeing KAWS’ work as part of the Beautiful Losers show in 2004/2005. In the ensuing years, however, our paths diverged. Pirovino became so focused on collecting KAWS that he needed to take a “career break”. Meanwhile, I blogged a lot and grabbed the Medicom x KAWS $19.95 bus stops. It’s all good.

KAWS is a polarizing figure in the toy collecting world, and as humans are want to do, jealousy compels us to bash people who Have More Stuff. But Pirovino seems like a good guy (at least according to this interview), and I’d be lying if I didn’t devolve into slang and say his collection is absolutely dope.

Whenever I see a collection like this, my mind quickly wanders to wondering:

  • What does this person do for a living? and
  • What are their thoughts on making the collection public?

I like when people are forthcoming, and Pirovino answers both questions. After spending the end of the first decade of the 2000s in interactive design and flash development, he began to treat his art as a business. He now runs Pirovino Projects, a company that specializes in contemporary art appraisal and advisory.

Here’s what he says about someday showing the collection publicly:

For the near term, I’d like to display the collection in public at a small museum, so that others can share in seeing an exhibit that represents a retrospective in KAWS works. I’ve been approached by many venues but I’d like for it to be enjoyed in a non-profit museum forum vs. a private-interest platform. I have no interest in selling it, despite being approached by several investment groups the last couple of years. The collection represents a highly personal statement for me, which also marks a particular point in time in history. If my children spark to the collecting tradition, I can see The Pirovino Collection going forth generations.

Nice. I look forward to seeing this in person someday.

All photos by Brandon Shigeta via High Snobiety and The Art Collectors. Click through for more KAWS than your brain can handle.