The Pawsome Exhibition: Exploring the Enduring Appeal of Cuteness in London

CUTE HEADER Press Release
Credit: Somerset House

Have you ever pondered why our hearts just can’t resist all things adorable? Brace yourselves, for London’s Somerset House is poised to illuminate the answer in their upcoming exhibition ‘CUTE’. Opening its doors in January 2024, this showcase promises a captivating exploration of the realm of toys, emojis, video games, and more, all in the pursuit of unraveling the profound impact of cuteness on our culture and society. And indeed, cats will reign supreme in this irresistibly endearing exhibition.

In the words of the formidable American drag icon Alyssa Edwards, “I don’t get cute, I get drop-dead gorgeous.” But perhaps it’s time to shift our focus from the drop-dead gorgeousness and peer closer into the all-encompassing influence of cuteness.

Curated by the esteemed Claire Catterall, Senior Curator at Somerset House, ‘CUTE’ will delve into a wide spectrum of adorable elements, from emojis and internet memes to video games and plush toys. By bringing together contemporary artists from diverse fields, this exhibition seeks to unravel our insatiable adoration for all things cute.

Described as “a groundbreaking exploration into the irresistible force of cuteness in contemporary culture,” ‘CUTE’ will plumb the depths of how cute culture has become a dominant presence in our lives. The roster of featured artists is undeniably impressive, showcasing the talents of Mike Kelley, Yumeji Takehisa, Aya Takano, Ado Mizumori, Juliana Huxtable, Wong Ping, Rachel Maclean, Ram Ham, and many more.

A major highlight of ‘CUTE’ will be an immersive visual and sonic music installation by the multi-talented artist, Hannah Diamond. Drawing inspiration from a classic girl’s sleepover, this installation will spotlight a dazzling array of videos from renowned artists such as SOPHIE, Charli XCX, A.G. Cook, GFOTY, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, felicita, and, of course, Diamond herself. Prepare to be swept away by the finest super cute electronic dance music in a stunning showcase of hyper pink girlhood.

But what would an exhibition of cuteness be without the feline star of the show? Indeed, Somerset House has teamed up with Sanrio to celebrate the 50th anniversary of none other than Hello Kitty. For some, Hello Kitty embodies the ultimate cute icon, while for others, she represents a waving beacon of Kawaii with the vacant, yet captivating, gaze of a killer.

A dedicated segment of the exhibition will pay homage to Hello Kitty, featuring a retrospective of her evolution over the years, a paradise of plushies, and even a disco. As if that weren’t enough, there are murmurs about a meow-tal section. Absolutely thrilling!

Mark your calendars, as ‘CUTE’ will grace Somerset House from 25th January to 14th April 2024. So, brace yourselves for a voyage into the enchanting realm of cuteness that is guaranteed to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

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