KAWSBob FlowerFace, or What to Do When Takashi Murakami Gives You a Giant Pillow

“Tokyo has always been super supportive to me,” said KAWS (né Brian Donnelly) recently as he stood before the slick and zany canvas he contributed to Takashi Murakami‘s “New Day” auction to benefit earthquake relief efforts in Japan. “When Takashi asked me to take part in the exhibition and auction, it was a no-brainer. An instant yes.” KAWS responded with “KAWSbob Enters the Strange Forest” (2011), expected to bring between $30,000 and $40,000 when it goes on the block this morning at Christie’s in New York. The painting, which measures five feet in diameter, borrows the cherubic and absorbent visage of SpongeBob SquarePants, here given the KAWS treatment with X-ed-out eyes, as well as Murakami’s own grinning-flower motif. “One of the first times I visited Takashi at his studio in Japan, he gave me a six-foot flower pillow,” explained KAWS. “He said, ‘I want you to have this, but are you OK to take it back?’ And I was like, ‘Of course.'” There was just the small matter of figuring out how to transport a giant plush flower back to Brooklyn (KAWS eventually figured out shipping arrangements). “I’ve always been touched by Takashi’s support and generosity,” he added, “And I thought this sort of image was appropriate for the occasion.”