Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Museum of Historical Makeovers

By awoodall
Friday, October 16th, 2009 at 1:52 pm in Fun Stuff to do in Oakland, Night Owl, Uncategorized.

The Tragic Kingdom of Gwen Stafani lasted until her death in the mid-21st Century, according to Kathy Aoki, who walked an audience through the reign of the pop pharaoh at SWARM gallery Thursday night. Pharaoh Gwen took the reigns of pop power after the death of Michael Jackson, Cher and “The King.” (Cher, Aoki tells us, never actually conceded power.)
You can see the show, Museum of Historical Makeovers,” for yourself. Aoki went to pains to create a future universe in which cute culture consumerism triumphed and ultimately led to Pharaoh Stefani’s demise. Maybe the universe is not so distant future. Aoki makes her point about gender, beauty and our own worship of pop through consumerism in several ways besides the Stefani “burial artifacts” (stellae, burial objects etc.). She also tweaks 19th century medical illustrations and art to comment on our pursuit of beauty. But my favorite, the one piece that stopped me in my tracks, was her picture of data painstakingly “recovered” by historians of the future from a USB pin drive: a picture of a cutsie doll figure with some insipid inscription. I will let you draw the conclusions and read better accounts than I can provide about Aoki’s show that is subtle and funny but packs a punch. The show runs until Oct. 25.


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