This post is a little old, but over Thanksgiving break I saw the second greatest exhibit of my life (the greatest show I’ve ever seen was the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA in 2011). The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles has a show called “Hello! The Super Cute World of Hello Kitty.” Yes, it’s as fantastic as it sounds.
As a celebration of Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the exhibit talks about her history – where she came from, what her purpose and message is, and how she has evolved over time – alongside an extensive collection of Hello Kitty products. There is also a room exhibiting artists’ Hello Kitty inspired art work. As JANM describes it:
“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty is the first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective in the United States.
Organized as part of the global icon’s 40th-anniversary celebrations, the exhibition examines the colorful history of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture. Hello! includes an extensive product survey, with rare and unique items from the Sanrio archives, alongside a selection of innovative contemporary artworks inspired by Hello Kitty and her world.
Hello! is curated by Christine Yano, PhD, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and Jamie Rivadeneira, founder and owner of the Los Angeles pop culture boutique JapanLA.”
The show runs through April 26, 2015. If you’re in the LA area, buy a ticket and check it out!
While the exhibit shows a lot of Hello Kitty’s world, I would have liked to see a greater discussion on how Hello Kitty’s image is on EVERYTHING (they had one little display case at the very end on this topic). In a time when everyone gets their panties in a bunch over every little thing, when we take care to not offend anyone and be politically correct all the time, I find Hello Kitty branding a relief. No one cares what you put Hello Kitty on. While most of her paraphernalia is cute and harmless, she also appears on vibrators, guns, condoms, nipple tassels, grenades, etc. Sure, some people might think, “oh that’s not right, Hello Kitty is for little girls,” but no one storms the media or petitions to change laws when Hello Kitty is dressed in a santa suit, wears sexy lingerie, flies a rainbow flag, or anything! Hello Kitty can do no wrong and I think that’s so interesting.
And look at that! I threw in a little self for ya 😀