Who would want to kill Hello Kitty? Certainly not us. But for many Japanese artists, their country’s obsession with all things childish and cute (or kawaii) can be stifling. Using neo-pop artist Yoshitomo Nara’s photo of a gravestone adorned by Hello Kitty statues as the show’s touchstone, the exhibit Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art features work by 16 emerging and mid-career artists who aim to confront these cultural stereotypes. The exhibit includes Makoto Aida’s Harakiri School Girls, a cartoon of bloody schoolgirls covered in their own entrails (yeah, really not cute), and Chiharu Shiota’s installation Dialogue With Absence, a painted wedding dress combined with tubes pulsing with red-dyed water to represent a woman’s “dreamlike, unconscious state of anxiety.” Another reason to visit Japan Society: Now through June 30, 50 percent of all ticket and admission sales will go to their Earthquake Relief Fund.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. Starts: Jan. 13. Continues through June 12, 2011