Birnbaum pointed to KAWS’s global audience as the driving force behind the collaboration’s success. He said Acute Art saw 100,000 app downloads in the days following the launch of “EXPANDED HOLIDAY,” with total downloads now hovering around 250,000. But the smaller-scale editions, which were available to buy or rent, may have an even greater impact.
“He’s created something that I don’t think existed anywhere before—he turned AR into a participatory interactive project,” Birnbaum said. “You can become your own curator and place this little object in your kitchen, in your mother’s living room, your girlfriend’s bathroom. You can share it with friends, send it as a post—it’s become this incredibly visible thing.”
According to Birnbaum, it was Donnelly who initially proposed making pieces available to rent when Acute Art approached the artist nearly a year ago. It was not something the company had attempted before. Previous iterations of the Acute Art app had required
monthly subscriptions to access its projects, but the company had never facilitated the direct rental of works. And while the project had been in development long before the COVID-19 pandemic brought massive structural changes to the way the art world conducts business, the decision to provide work that could be purchased and placed in the home proved to be a prescient one.