LA Museum’s Attendance Up Fivefold Since Hello Kitty Arrived

hello-kitty-exhibition-attendance
Artist Paul Frank and the president and COO of Sanrio, Janet Hsu, with Hello Kitty during a VIP opening event at the Japanese American National Museum.
Photo: Courtesy the Japanese American National Museum/Facebook.

The new blockbuster exhibition “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” has the Japanese American National Museum saying “Hello!” to a hell of a lot more visitors than usual.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the exhibition has drawn record crowds to the small museum in Downtown Los Angeles since it opened on October 11. In its first weekend, the Hello Kitty retrospective (see “Los Angeles Museum Hosts Hello Kitty Retrospective“) brought in 2,500 on Saturday and Sunday, with another 500 attending the Friday evening members-only opening party. Typical weekend attendance figures for the museum are between 400 and 500.

The show, which is sponsored by Hello Kitty creator and manufacturer Sanrio, features not only merchandize emblazoned with the cute, cat-like character, but also original artworks commissioned expressly for the exhibition (see “see “40 Artists Create New Works for Hello Kitty Retrospective“). Among the works included are Hello Kitty sculptures by Simone Legno and Colin Christian.

The populist exhibition is unsurprisingly not the most complex or sophisticated. In the words of Los Angeles Times writer Carolina Miranda, “For anyone expecting a profound examination of what Hello Kitty might mean within the larger scope of Japanese design and popular culture, let it be said: This is not your show.”

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” continues at the Japanese American National Museum through April 26, 2015.


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