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Yayoi Kusama, Kusama Pumpkins Set, 2015. Courtesy of Gin Huang Gallery.

Big Artists, Small Sculptures

Today’s collectible sculptures—from KAWS’s cartoon Companions to Yayoi Kusama’s miniature pumpkins—have roots in the 1980s New York art scene. The rise of street art filled the city’s subways with original graffiti, making art more accessible to the public. This mentality—that art should be for everyone—motivated Keith Haring in 1987 to open the Pop Shop, a storefront in Manhattan where the biggest artists of the day like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf could sell sculptures, prints, and merchandise at affordable prices. Contemporary art stars like Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, and Maurizio Cattelan all follow in Haring’s tradition, creating small sculptures of their most iconic motifs, perfectly sized for tabletops and shelves in any collector’s home.

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