Fortnite first art show recreates KAWS at Serpentine Gallery

When London’s Serpentine Gallery launches “New Fiction,” its latest exhibit with American artist KAWS (Brian Donnelly), it will likely be open to tens of millions extra folks than can match by means of the doorways of its Kensington Gardens location. The show is launching on Monday concurrently inside Fortnite, as an almost-exact duplicate of the London expertise, inviting the phenomenally fashionable sport’s 350 million gamers to expertise it for themselves.

“It’s an actual 1-1 exhibition, in a traditional museum house, the place the work and sculptures are hanging and positioned in a specific method, and that’s precisely the way it was made in Fortnite,” says KAWS. “For lots of youngsters, it might be their first time at a museum art show, and I believe there’s an ideal alternative to offer that in an space—Fortnite—that they’re so aware of. I keep in mind being youthful, I discovered galleries intimidating, however right here that is in your territory. And it’s thrilling that this has by no means been accomplished.”

Gamers can entry the Fortnite Serpentine Gallery within the sport’s inventive mode, the place an actual duplicate has been constructed, with KAWS works positioned and arrange simply as they’re within the IRL gallery. The exhibit launches at present.


For Epic, it’s simply the sport’s newest foray into an expanded cultural footprint. Fortnite‘s Travis Scott live performance in 2020 had more than 27.7 million players participate within the in-game occasion reside. Final 12 months, Verizon constructed a model of Tampa’s Raymond James stadium for the Tremendous Bowl that attracted 40 million visitors.

Epic Video games’s partnerships director, Kevin Durkin, says Fortnite is a social leisure vacation spot for tens of millions of gamers, and the corporate sees art as an clearly extension of the cultural collaborations the sport has accomplished in music and sports activities, it was only a matter of discovering the appropriate timing and the appropriate companion. “Art itself is a large a part of tradition, and we actually wished to assist democratize entry to it, and galleries just like the Serpentine,” says Durkin. “However we additionally actually wished to carry KAWS to extra of the world.”

KAWS could be the good artist for Fortnite to launch its first museum art exhibit with. His work has lengthy been a model unto itself, whether or not by means of his personal toys and prints or by way of a laundry listing of brand name collaborations, from Uniqlo, Nike, and Commes des Garcons, to Sesame Avenue, Peanuts, and Bape. Simply final week, The North Face unveiled its own KAWS collection. Epic Video games, in the meantime, has become a collaboration giant, whether or not it’s integrating characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dune, and DC, style manufacturers like Balenciaga and Moncler, or brand-partner-happy music artists like McDonald’s meal creators Travis Scott and J Balvin.

It’s not the first time the 2 have labored collectively. Final fall, KAWS created a group of skins (playable Fortnite characters) for the sport’s “Fortnitemares” Halloween promotion. That laid the groundwork between them, and the thought for a museum exhibit collaboration got here collectively shortly after.

For KAWS, the most important problem was planning and locking in how his Serpentine exhibition would feel and look to date forward of time. “Normally if I’m doing a museum show, I’ve a styrofoam mannequin in my studio and work with that, then once I show up in particular person issues get moved, simply due to the sensation for the bodily house,” says KAWS. “However right here we actually needed to focus and perceive the structure as a way to do all of it upfront to create it digitally. It’s actually superb.”

Durkin says that from a tactical perspective, it actually pushed Epic’s design and 3D modeling groups, the third-party creators it really works with like Alliance Studios and Past Artistic, KAWS, and the Serpentine, to determine find out how to carry it to life. “All of us needed to work collectively to guarantee that the standard and constancy of these sculptures and items of labor is as excessive as attainable,” says Durkin.

Fortnite is hoping this exhibit illustrates to others the art potentialities of its platform. “Our inventive instruments for constructing and publishing experiences to this world viewers are open to anybody, so we hope that this conjures up and will get folks excited so different artists and creatives make investments and construct extra of those experiences,” says Durkin.


KAWS hopes this and different digital art experiments aren’t seen as some metaverse transfer to exchange reside art expertise, however a complement. “I believe the capabilities obtainable now actually makes the expertise true,” he says. “I at all times are likely to strategy issues with skepticism, however seeing how true it may be I believe it’s simply a further option to expertise art.”