On Mascots and Imaginings

You'll see Jocko and his ilk popping up in various guises here and on LATDA collateral (should you choose to become a member). It was decided early that the generically named Jocko should become the frontman for LATDA. Why? Because everybody loves monkeys (we were told), and this is a museum that needs to be loved... for survival.
 
Even in the face of criticism that argues that simian imagery undercuts what should be a staid museum image, Jocko gamely continues to help us monkey with the process of imagining what LATDA should be.

On the eve of another LATDA milestone (the mounting of a major exhibition that will have broad appeal as well as sub-culture support... a show that hits cutting edge notes along with some history-tinged ones... a show overflowing with gorgeous kokeshi (wait...you don't know what kokeshi are? HINT: they are the "d" in LATDA), we apologize for not imagining LATDA as a stuffy hall filled with dinosaurs. No, thanks to Jocko's hard work, KOKESHI: FROM FOLK ART TO ART TOY gIves LATDA a home, if only for 3 months, in two museum galleries packed with... glorious, crazy, beautiful obsession.

Word is getting out!

Even though the press release went out with an incorrect word in the title (mea culpa, I did proof it, but missed the version of the title in the header) posts are appearing daily about the impending opening of the exhibition. Today I ran across this curious one from a blog that appears to be affiliated with Sanrio.

I can't figure if it was translated from English to Japanese and back to English again.

KOKESHI: FROM FOLK TOY (should be Folk ART) TO ART TOY EXHIBITION TO FEATURE OVER 300DOLLS
July 3rd, 2009 | Tags:
A brand new exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Toy (see above) to Art Toy, orderly by a Los Angeles Toy, Doll & Amusements Museum in partnership with a Japanese American National Museum , will move together a normal Japanese doll with hundreds of examples of la mode [wha?]as well as law [is this the translation for "custom"?] kokeshi combined by American as well as general artists commencement upon Jul …


Well, any PR is good PR!

Kokeshi Are Coming

Yes, many kokeshi are coming to the Japanese American National Museum in a collaborative exhibition with LATDA. It's a lot of work conceiving and birthing over 300 babies, and we aren't even talking about the artists. Yet. But I thought you'd be interested to see how the curator-in-chief spends her evenings. Designing the show? No. Haranguing for money? No. Designing the caterer's platter? See for yourself.

Oh, and despite what the blog says, Maria didn't post this.

--Gary

Edible Kokeshi
© LATDA Museum

Toy Challenge Redux

Toy Challenge Redux

As usual, the judges consisted of professionals and students from the science and engineering spectrum (it was, after all, sponsored and organized by Sally Ride SCIENCE). Among the minority fields represented were myself and Deborah Ryan, department chair in Toy Design at Otis College of Art and Design.

Although the competition is aimed at encouraging young girls to compete in fields that could lead to careers in science and engineering, boys were allowed to be part of each team. Similarly the judges were gender-balanced and I had an equal difficulty understanding...

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Kokeshi Krazy

Kokeshi Krazy

When we were first thinking about vinyl art toys as a subject for a show, we tried to put them in some sort of historical context (because that’s what museums do…contextualize objects). An interesting parallel to individual artists mixing specific personal style with mass production happened in Japan in the mid -19th century with the popularization of kokeshi, the limbless, wooden, folk dolls. In fact, one of the artists whose work is associated with the current art toy movement describes his work as modern day kokeshi.
 

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Beyond Beyond Ultraman -- A New Year, A New Show

Beyond Beyond Ultraman -- A New Year, A New Show

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that Beyond Ultraman has come and gone already. The last day of the show we had a program with David Gonzales that brought in a standing-room-only crowd of over 150 to a space that held chairs for 70. It was a heady way to end a successful exhibition. A great front page article in the Pasadena Weekly preceded the event and attracted a wonderfully diverse crowd, many who had never visited the PMCA before. ...
 

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The Deadly Doll

The Deadly Doll

Did that catch your eye? Well, when I was ten, it caught mine too. At that time I thought I had read every book in the Cahuenga Branch library about dolls. Then I discovered the adult card catalog and found a book I hadn't read --"The Deadly Doll." I included it in my biweekly stack of ten books, but it was confiscated by a well-meaning librarian. It was some Perry Masonesque pulp novel.

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