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.
Among the artists are several featured in the pages of Hi-Fructose; Audrey Kawasaki, Colin Christian, D*Face, Junko Mizuno, Yoskay Yamamoto, Brandi Milne, Gary Baseman, Hikari Shimoda, and Kazuki Takamatsu, to name a few. Their original pieces, which span oil painting, found object figures, interactive installations, photographic prints and stop motion animation, show the considerable influence Hello Kitty has made on New Contemporary art. During their art-making for the show, Sanrio made an announcement that went viral: “Hello Kitty is not a cat”. She doesn’t have a mouth, which allows the artists to project any kind of emotion onto her. Through their art, viewers are encouraged to look at Hello Kitty as a symbol of universality. As in Colin Christian’s glittery, larger-than-life space explorer kitty, who overlooks the final stage of the exhibit, this is also a look into Hello Kitty’s future.
“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” is now on view at JANM through April 26th, 2015.
Kevin Earl Taylor