Santa Clara University


Kathy Aoki

Associate Professor, Art and Art History

Phone: (408) 554-4000 X 1954

Current Work

Aoki, Katherine - Image

Museum of Historical Makeovers (2009-present)

 Etchings, monotypes, drawings, sculpture, installation, audio tour

"The Museum of Historical  Makeovers" series originated as a solo show at Swarm Gallery in Oakland, California in the fall of 2009. The exhibition featured three distinct areas of fictive historical artifacts and illustrations: etchings of beauty procedures, fake technical drawings of beauty treatments and products, and Egyptian style artifacts of a contemporary pop diva.  As the "Museum" name implies, I created a pseudo-museum environment. Set in the future ( 3011 A.D.), the museum showcased "historical" artifacts while addressing current beauty and pop culture concepts. Educational labels, audio tour, and hieroglyphic learning guides enhanced the museum experience. The "Museum" work continues today in the form of animation, pop-star reliquaries, and Stefani mummy votive offerings.

The Construction of Modern Girlhood (2001-2008)

Relief prints, mixed media works on paper, wall installation, sculpture

This series is a visual allegory, which illustrates how the media affects and exploits girls. Narrative prints, paintings, and sculpture, depict an alternate universe run by animé-style female construction workers who build false monuments to girlhood for worship. I chose the ubiquitous, animé style of drawing for these construction girls because they represent the media. Teddy bears (who represent young, innocent females) are harvested by the construction cuties and processed into sexy, submissive workers. In addition to the animé girls and teddy bears, there is a third character set of ultra-cute "lambie" animals. These animals are metaphors for the seductive "kawaii" (Japanese for "cute culture") trends and take an honored place in the twisted universe I create.

Representative Works


2012 Exhibition- Kathy Aoki (solo exhibition), Swarm Gallery, Oakland CASeptember-October (scheduled)

2012 Exhibition- The Museum of Historical Makeovers, California State University, Chico, CA

2009 Exhibition- The Museum of Historical Makeovers, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA

2008- Battle of Kawaii, solo project space, Next Art Fair, Chicago (Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA)

Public Speaking Engagements/Performances

2010- Museum of Historical Makeovers Curator's Talk, performance at SFMOMA Artist's Gallery, Santa Clara, CA. August 28.

2010-Museum of Historical Makeovers Curator's Talk, performance at de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA. April 19.

2009- Museum of Historical Makeovers Curator's Talk, performance at Swarm Gallery, Oakland Artist Talk, California State University Sacramento, CA

Animation/Multimedia Screenings

2010-2011- The Gwen Stefani Grand Burial Exhibition Trailer, futuristic commercial for a History-channel type special about the Gwen Stefani Mortuary Temple. Created by Kathy Aoki.

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