Thursday, June 1 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Hendricks Hall, 330
1408 University Street, Eugene, OR
Talk description: “My talk considers the Japanese cultural icon Hello Kitty as an object for the history of art and aesthetics that epitomizes but also destabilizes the category of kitsch. On the one hand, Hello Kitty as a cultural product alarmingly actualizes what Andreas Huyssen has described as ‘mass culture as Woman,’ suggesting that the phenomenon is not merely a masculinist-modernist projection that attributes stereotypically feminine traits to the inferior, inauthentic culture of the masses. Serving the double function of what I call the ornament-allegory (a decorative motif endowed with minimal narrative and broadly auspicious meanings), Hello Kitty also satisfies to two impulses historically held responsible for kitsch or ‘popular aesthetic’: 1) what design and craft theorists have decried as an ornamental impulse assimilable to all objects and materials, and 2) an allegorical one that ‘annexes aesthetics to ethics’ (Pierre Bourdieu) by applying moral messages to aesthetic forms.
On the other hand, Hello Kitty also critiques anti-kitsch criticism in turn by exposing its simultaneous, potentially incoherent attack on form and content. If the ornamental and allegorical impulses both take part in kitsch’s equivocal ‘aestheticization of life’ (Jacques Rancière), I suggest that they are also indistinguishable from those giving rise to trans-individual forms of art (for instance folk or traditional indigenous arts), which have been described variably as collective (by the art historian Alois Riegl) or ‘commonist’ (by the pop artist Andy Warhol).”
Attend in person, 330 Hendricks Hall, or by Zoom.
Arts & Culture, Academic, Lectures & Presentations, Presentation, Research, Diversity and Multiculturalism, Southeast Asian, Women and Gender
Center for the Study of Women in Society, Division of Global Engagement, International Students, College of Design: School of Art + Design, Department of Art, College of Arts & Sciences, Anthropology, Asian Studies, East Asian Languages and Literature, English, Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies, Folklore, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Multicultural Center (MCC)
#noontalk #research #Japaneseculture #art #popularculture #gender #HelloKitty
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