Kathy Aoki Archive

Political Paper Dolls 

This large scale interactive installation was commissioned by the San Jose Museum of Art for the exhibition Renegade Humor exhibition on display 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 Political Paper Dolls artwork is based on original linoleum cuts with watercolor, which were translated into steel figures, 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 Sara 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 wall space.