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Monday, September 14, 2015

Hello Kitty Exhibition In Seattle

I'm a Hello Kitty fan, which is to say that I find the pop-culture character to be interesting.

I personally don't go out of my way to purchase items with the Hello Kitty visage on it, but plenty of people do, and more power to you.

I mean… some people will go out of their way to go to Hello Kitty-themed restaurants, exhibitions, to travel on Hello Kitty airplanes (skins applied to the real plane), or maybe they like the Hello Kitty foods, snacks, cosmetics, etcetera.

I own a Hello Kitty building block set, and a pack of tapioca-flavored snacks that taste horrible. The tapioca snacks taste horrible, too. I think I also have a photo album and definitely a plastic ruler, too.
Aside from the building block set and the snack, I haven't purchased any Hello Kitty items, and for personal purchases I am only 50 percent on the Satisfied meter.

But… I am still fascinated by the phenomenon that is Hello Kitty.

On November 14, 2015 in Seattle, 'Merica (U-S-A! U-S-A!)  the first large-scale Hello Kitty museum retrospective (in the U.S.) will be on display at EMP Museum.

It was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty.

The exhibition is called: Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, and is organized by Sanrio, the global lifestyle brand best known for Hello Kitty, and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), where the exhibition originated.

The show examines the colorful history of Hello Kitty and her influence on popular culture, combining a product-based historical and sociological examination of Hello Kitty with more than 600 rare and unique pieces from Sanrio’s archives, and an installation of over 40 mixed media works by artists from around the world demonstrating Hello Kitty’s influence on contemporary art.

Hello! invites the public to learn more about and gain new appreciation for the evolution of Hello Kitty, the role she has played bridging Japanese and American cultures in the U.S., and fans’ emotional connection to her.  Hello! will be on view at EMP through May 15, 2016. Plans are underway for the exhibition to travel to additional museums across the U.S.

"Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty offers an in-depth look at the evolution of Hello Kitty and her impact on pop culture around the world," says Sanrio Inc. senior vice-president of brand management and marketing Jill Koch. "After a successful run at the Japanese American National Museum, we are excited to bring the exhibition to EMP and share the experience with more fans. EMP, whose mission of reaching multigenerational audiences through powerful exhibits and programming focused on contemporary culture, is the perfect home for our retrospective."

Hello! originated at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, where it drew record-breaking attendance from visitors of all ages from around the world. The exhibition was co-curated by Dr. Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and Jamie Rivadeneira, founder and owner of pop culture-inspired boutique JapanLA, located in Los Angeles.

Dr. Yano curated the retrospective component of the exhibition featuring rare artifacts from Sanrio’s archives including a variety of plush spanning a 40 year timeline, Hello Kitty’s first telephone, stationery items, and many more vintage products from the 1970s and 1980s along with contemporary objects such as the one-of-a-kind Hello Kitty dress worn by Lady Gaga, a couture bustier worn by Katy Perry (that I would really like to see), diamond jewelry, and a Hello Kitty talking robot, allowing fans to connect to Hello Kitty’s history and view her evolution as a true cultural ambassador.

Rivadeneira curated the exhibition’s art component, bringing in a selection of mixed media works that demonstrate Hello Kitty’s influence on contemporary art. A diverse group of artists including Gary Baseman, Kazuki Takamatsu, kozyndan, Osamu Watanabe, and Simone Legno for tokidoki are featured in the exhibition.

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty will be included with EMP Museum admission.
EMP is a leading-edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, EMP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through collections, exhibitions and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower its visitors.  At EMP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation and scholarship to the popular culture of our time.

EMP is housed in a 140,000 square foot Frank O. Gehry-designed building. This spectacular, prominently visible structure has the presence of a monumental sculpture set amid the backdrop of the Seattle Center.

Andrew Joseph

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