The Japan Society is doing an exhibition that everyone should see, even if you can only experience it online. Called Bye Bye Kitty!!!, it offers fifteen artists, working in painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and video. But the point is to skewer the whole cult of cuteness in Japanese art called Kawaii. We’ve all seen this: the big eyes, the pert nose, the high voices, the spry animals.
I wasn’t familiar with the work of photographer Katy Grannan until recently, but the more I see her work, the more she reminds me of Diane Arbus, the celluloid high priestess of degeneration. While Grannan shares Arbus’ intrepid gaze, this Yale-educated artist chooses and frames her subjects so they seem a little more flattened by consumerism, a little further from the edge than Arbus’ people, but still in a state of ruin.