Hello Kitty mania has hit Los Angeles. On view in conjuction with Hello Kitty Con, which opened yesterday, is her “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” 40th anniversary exhibit at Japanese American National Museum (JANM). The show is curated by Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and Jamie Rivadeneira, founder of JapanLA. Attendees are led through a retrospective that highlights the history and development of Hello Kitty as a cultural icon, before they arrive to the art exhibition, a modern interpretation of this famous character.
Japanese pop artist Keiichi Tanaami (previously covered here) has a new exhibition on view at Tokyo’s underground gallery, Nanzuka. “Cherry Blossoms Falling in the Evening Gloom” is named after his show’s titular piece, an effort to take the darkest of his personal experiences and turn them into a positive image. The 3-meter painting leads into a transformation in the artist’s motifs, known for his glowing, grotesque creatures, which are shown emitting light.
This Saturday, Mari Inukai is returning to Giant Robot with her expressive new series, titled “Marilla Blue and Orange”. Inukai has long experimented with personal symbolism that blends her fantasy and reality worlds together. For this upcoming show, she takes a step into her imaginary world and brings her recurring subjects, including her daughter, and characters with her. Her narrative begins with a charming collection of pencil drawings, which she brings to life in illustrative paintings.
Relatively new to New York’s Chelsea gallery scene, B2OA recently debuted the highly saturated and frenetic paintings of Kazuki Umezawa. His exhibition “Empty god CORE” which opened last Thursday evening, was notably the multi-disciplinary artist’s first in the United States. His large scale paintings may look digitally Photoshopped, however they are hand painted and intensely planned collages- Umezawa’s reimaginings of modern day Japan, created by intricately cut and carefully placed paper images, combined with original drawings.
Earlier this year, Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles brought us never before seen works by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara (covered here). The show was critically acclaimed for his introduction of new materials, including large scale bronze busts and environmentally-friendly installations. Alongside some of these same peices, he will debut a new series “Greetings from a Place in My Heart”, opening tonight at Dairy Art Centre in London. Nara will also host a rare artist talk about the exhibit, notably the largest retrospective of his drawings, paintings, and sculpture spanning 30 years.
Coinciding with the opening of “BLAB!” at Copro Gallery last Saturday was Yoko d’Holbachie’s “Genesis of Girls”. Over the course of her career, featured in Vol. 6 in 2007, d’Holbachie has created candy colored paintings inspired by the stories of time. One of her greatest inspirations is traditional Japanese folklore and legends. Her characters are non-human and androgynous with a feminine touch, found in her symbols of butterflies and birds representing fertility. Her latest solo show is a reimagining and exploration of the origin of girls from various cultures.