Political Paper Dolls: San Jose Museum of Art (2012)

Political Paper Dolls: San Jose Museum of Art (2012)
Arnold in Political Paper Dolls

Arnold in Political Paper Dolls

“Political Paper Dolls” by Kathy Aoki

Steel, Mixed Media, Canvas, Magnets


This large scale interactive installation was commissioned by the San Jose Museum of Art for the exhibition “Renegade Humor,” on display at SJMA from February 3 – July 8, 2012. The four steel “paperdoll” figures with interchangeable clothing include:

“Arnie’s Garb”

“Obama’s Pajamas”

“Color Me Palin”

“Newt’s Suits”

The artwork is based on original linoleum cuts with watercolor, which were translated into steel figures, and painted with acrylic, UV-light cured inks at Magnolia Editions in Oakland , California. The clothing, also based on Aoki linocuts, was printed with archival, pigmented inks on gessoes canvas. Vinyl magnets on the clothing tabs allows the viewer to dress the figures. Each political figure has three specially designed outfits, but most clothing pieces are mix and match. For example, Obama can wear Sarah Palin’s basketball outfit, while Newt can model the “Governator” outfit designed for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The piece is comprised of the four steel figures (each approx 36” tall), two clothing boards (4ft x 8 ft  each, made of printed steel mounted onto wood), and the interchangeable canvas clothing outfits for all four figures. One additional set of all clothing pieces is included. As installed at SJMA, the piece takes up approximately 30 ft of linear wall space.

All photos by David Wilcox.

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