Three solo shows by Kathy Aoki have addressed the fictitious Hello Kitty Monument, a response to the mind boggling, worldwide popularity of the Hello Kitty brand. The work raises questions regarding unhealthy/unaffordable obsessions with “cuteness” and what marketing means for the primarily female populations who consume these cute products.
In 2018, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art commissioned Aoki to create a site specific diorama and selfie spot for her #WishYouWereHere solo show. In addition to the diorama, the show included a mini visitor’s center in the Off-Center gallery with augmented reality and guide-by-cell audio.
Write up in Modern Luxury Magazine.
In 2016, Aoki created "Formidable Fragments," an ersatz educational museum which explored the Rise and Fall of the Hello Kitty Monument. This solo exhibition at the Berkeley Art Center was completely immersive and included museum style display of audio interviews, video, an interactive map, and artifacts.
Write up in the Daily Californian.
The straight digital landscape photos (not manipulated) were taken by Kathy Aoki for her solo exhibition "Beauty in Landscape" in 2012 at the now-closed Swarm Gallery in Oakland.