I express my bitter disappointment in beauty, pop culture, and political trends by subverting traditional museum formats with a twist of humor. Leveraging the exaggerated authority implied by historical, institutional settings, I create ersatz museum installations that satirically hail Brazilian waxing, depict fallen monuments to patriarchy, and elevate Hello Kitty to Mount Rushmore status. Didactic labeling and guide-by-cell accompany my fictitious artifacts, which include printmaking, sculpture, photography, and dioramic installation. The unsuspecting patron is taken on a wild ride of fictitious academic excellence while wondering, “Is this what we will value in 500 years?”
Kathy Aoki is a visual artist who uses humor to connect and address the absurd value systems that dominate gender, pop culture, and politics. Kathy Aoki’s work can be found in major collections across the U.S. such as the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Harvard University Art Museums, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Past awards include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (NH), the Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), the Djerassi Artist in Residence Program (CA), and the Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium). Aoki has completed commissions for institutions such as the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, and the San Jose Museum of Art. In 2015, Aoki received the “Prix-de-Print” award of the journal Art in Print, as selected by Stephen Goddard, then Senior Curator of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Aoki lives and works in the Silicon Valley where she is a Professor of Studio Art at Santa Clara University.