Hello Kitty Monument (2012 – 2020)
I created Hello Kitty Monument in response to the mind boggling, worldwide popularity of the Hello Kitty brand. Through the invention of a Mount Rushmore-type monument and ersatz historical documentation, I address cute consumer culture, museum sponsorship, and even high-tech housing markets. The Hello Kitty Monument work was presented in various forms in three solo shows…
Certain works in this series appear in traditional art forms, such as photography and drawings made by fictitious visitors to the site. Other pieces are part of a simulated history museum and have more of an educational museum feel. The largest works from this series include rock fragments “broken off” from the monument when it was destroyed. Solo shows featuring this work were presented at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (2018), the Berkeley Art Center (2016), and Swarm Gallery (2012, Oakland).
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.
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.
2012: The straight digital landscape photos (not manipulated) were taken by Kathy Aoki for her solo exhibition “Beauty in Landscape” at the now-shuttered Swarm Gallery in Oakland.