KAWS, BFF - Blue - MOMA edition, 2017. Courtesy of Smith Andersen North.

In 2016, KAWS debuted a new character at the Central Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand: a 26-foot tall, bright blue creature called BFF. Like KAWS’s signature “Companion” figures, BFF has crossed-out eyes, gloved hands, and oversized ears. But BFF’s furry exterior—reminiscent of the woolly texture of Sesame Street’s Elmo—was unprecedented for the street artist, whose sculptures typically had a smooth finish. To celebrate this public installation, KAWS released 1,000 plush versions of the character, which sold out in just two and a half hours. One year later, KAWS designed a vinyl blue BFF in collaboration with the MoMA design store—once again, it was met with viral success, driving so much traffic to the museum’s website that it crashed. In the …

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