Kathy Aoki is currently presenting a solo show at Oakland’s Swarm Gallery entitled The Museum of Historical Makeovers. In her faux-museum exhibition, Aoki takes on the role of a curator from the year 3011 at a cultural history museum. The exhibition specifically follows Gwen Stefani as if humanity has uncovered artifacts from her clothing lines and accepted them as culturally significant. The museum consists of several sculptural works in the vein of egyptian artifacts, (canopic jars, maps of burial sites), as well as etchings and illustrations detailing modern makeover processes including Brazilian waxings and anal bleaching. Finally, the museum hosts a tomb room of Stefani burial artifacts that is “temporarily closed” due to vandalism, allowing only a small peep-hole-style viewer for museum patrons. As is evident with this exhibit’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of feminine social standings, Aoki considers herself a “sneaky feminist,” inserting subtle statements of accepted female beauty “norms” into her work concerning feminine gender roles.
Kathy Aoki received her MFA in printmaking from Washington University in 1994 and currently lives and works in Santa Clara, California where she is an assistant professor at Santa Clara University. She has shown at a large variety of galleries, including San Jose Museum of Art, Smith Anderson Editions, as well as participating in San Fransisco Arts Commission‘s Market St. Kiosks in 2004. The Museum of Historical Makeovers runs until October 25th, and is accompanied by an artist talk on October 14th with Aoki playing the role of the Museum curator.