Leslie Holt: Hello Masterpiece
By Aimee Lusty
posted: 06-18-09
Hello Duchamp, 2007
Image Source

I recently came across Leslie Holt's "Hello Masterpiece (art appreciation)" series, having already posted one of her paintings as yesterday's image of the day. I felt it was necessary to follow up with a little more background about her work.

Artist Statement:

In my most recent “Hello Masterpiece (art appreciation)” series, I juxtapose the character, Hello Kitty, with famous images from art history. The paintings are postcard size, similar to those found in a museum gift shop. The famous paintings become pop culture icons akin to Hello Kitty, and the paintings’ appeal as take home sized objects reinforces their context as commodities in a market. In these paintings Hello Kitty is often taking a tour through art history and dressing up to “match” elements of the famous painting. Hello Kitty becomes a toy version of Cindy Sherman, capable of changing identities by transforming her outer appearance. However, her “toyness” and her obvious overlay on the image disrupt any illusion that she actually fits in the scene of the artwork.
In other images from this series, Hello Kitty is pointing toward social or political issues, such as war, genocide, or gender identity. I rely on her to charm the viewer into looking, but her innocent, playful appeal contrasts with the serious adult subject matter. With this contrast of adult and childlike content and these “high” and “low” cultural icons, I hope to elicit laughter and irony.

Holt not only appropriates imagery directly from Duchamp (illustration above) but as explained further in her artist statement, her approach and conceptualism also parallel his. The Hello Masterpiece series consists of over 100 paintings, all postcard size. This format directly references Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q.

Holt's work is a lighthearted, humorous, contemporary and easily accessible approach to appropriation. Be sure to check out her other artwork located here on her website.

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