This spring, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents the major exhibitionSuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot. On view in OMCA’s Great Hall from April 19 to July 27, 2014, the exhibition features 15 contemporary artists that have been inspired by the artistic sensibility of Giant Robot throughout its 20-year evolution.
Co-curated by Giant Robot visionary Eric Nakamura and OMCA’s Associate Curator of Art & Material Culture Carin Adams, SuperAwesome presents new or recent works by California and international-based artists affiliated with the culture and aesthetic of the popular magazine that brought Asian, trans-Pacific popular culture to mainstream audiences in the United States. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Ako Castuera, Sean Chao, David Choe, Luke Chueh, Hamburger Eyes, Andrew Hem, James Jean, Kozyndan, Masakatsu Sashie, Shizu Saldamando, Rob Sato, Amy Sol, Deth P Sun, and Adrian Tomine. Art works in the exhibition represent a range of mediums, including mural art, sculpture, illustration, portraiture, large-scale installations, graphic novels, photography, and more.
In addition, the exhibition features Giant Robot magazines and ephemera, vinyl toys, custom vending machines, and the original Giant Robot Scion XB. Designed by Eric Nakamura, inspired by Nintendo’s Famicom gaming console, and fabricated by Len Higa, the car-turned-interactive gaming station boasts built-in sound and projectors.
“SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot will emphasize the larger pop cultural context that informed so much of the early days of Giant Robot.” says Carin Adams, OMCA’s Associate Curator of Art & Material Culture. “In addition to recent work, OMCA is excited to present new installations such as a custom mural by David Choe—who painted a mural on the Facebook campus, as well as a large scale outdoor mural in our Oak Street Plaza by Andrew Hem.”
Over the past 20 years, the Giant Robot brand has expanded to include retail stores and galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, a restaurant, museum and gallery exhibitions, and a popular website. It has also become an important outlet for a generation of emerging artists, several of whom have achieved mainstream success—such as Adrian Tomine, whose work has graced many New Yorker covers, and James Jean, whose is best known for his work for Prada, ESPN, and Atlantic Records.
“In SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot museum-goers will see that a certain artistic sensibility has remained intact throughout Giant Robot’s evolution,” says guest curator and Giant Robot co-founder Eric Nakamura. “The art is accessible because it has an illustrative aspect. People without art backgrounds can understand it.”
Also featured are custom Big Boss Robot figures by Junko Mizuno, Katsuya Terada, Spanky Stokes, Mark Nagata, Aaron Brown, Reactor 88, Leecifer, Scott Tolleson, Dril One, Edwin Ushiro, Yoskay Yamamoto, Jeni Yang, Julie West, Gary Ham, Jason Limon, Stasia Burrington, Mari Inukai, Jay222, Scott Wilkowski, Jeremiah Ketner, Yukinori Dehara, Jerome Lu, Kano, Bert Gatchalian, the Scion Famicar designed by Eric Nakamura and fabricated by Len Higa and a video game "The Pack" by Ben Vance and Rob Sato.
SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot will be on view at the Oakland Museum of California April 19 through July 27, 2014. The exhibition connects to OMCA’s other spring exhibition Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records through programs and in-gallery experiences celebrating how a range of communities comes together to create shared popular culture.