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Fortnite unveils first art exhibit

KAWS // Courtesy of Epic Games

Fortnite unveils first art exhibit


The Future. American artist KAWS is opening a gallery at London’s Kensington Gardens and an almost exact replica of Fortnite. It’s the first major art gallery to be hosted in a virtual game world… which may make Fortnite a first-mover in both digital galleries and in introducing a generation of young people to fine art.

KAWS for everyone
KAWS (Brian Donnelly) has two identical exhibits premiering simultaneously.

  • His “New Fiction” exhibit debuted Monday at both the Serpentine Gallery at Kensington Gardens in London and on Fortnite.
  • The Fortnite exhibit (which is available in the game’s creative mode) is a 1:1 recreation of its Serpentine counterpart.
  • KAWS and Epic Games worked with Alliance Studios and Beyond Creative to bring the exhibit to life digitally.

The Fortnite partnership means that KAWS’ gallery will be available for free to the game’s 400 million players — a prospect that KAWS is very excited about, even if they’re not seeing the real thing.

“For a lot of teenagers, it may be their first time at a museum art show, and I think there’s a great opportunity to provide that in an area — Fortnite — that they’re so familiar with. I remember being younger, I found galleries intimidating, but here this is in your territory.”

Integrated collaboration
KAWS has worked with Fortnite in the past and has created a line of skins for the game’s “Fortnitemares” Halloween event. For Epic Games, the partnership with Kaws makes a lot of sense — both have recently become famous for their marquee collabs (Fortnite with Balenciaga and Moncler; KAWS with Uniqlo and Nike), which have created an intersection of their respective fandoms.

Kevin Durkin, Epic Games’ partnerships director, says that after successful moves in music and sports, Fortnite is becoming an overarching “social entertainment destination.” Now, actually playing Fortnite is becoming just a small part of the platform’s capability.