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Playing with the memes (forms and symbols) of visual culture;

straddling the line between art and popular culture.

Brazilian artist, Sergio Allevato draws on his expertise in botanical illustration to comment on current politics and popular culture. In his Botanical Atlas Series, he imbeds features of popular Disney characters into meticulously rendered plant illustrations. The joke is complete when the features line up in a key to plant morphology (a trope taken from natural history illustrations). In his Flora series, popular culture figures are composed of flowers, seeds and plant parts. Allevato argues that pop culture images, such as these, are like an alien species; they invade and take over. Sergio;

Kathy Aoki delights in social satire. Known for her feminist images and her iconoclastic humor, Aoki draws on many resources, particularly visual culture and conventional feminine “memes” such as princesses, pink flowers and hearts, lipsticks and mascara brushes. In this series of prints and sculptures, Aoki reaches back to the young-girl culture to make paper dolls of President Obama, Sarah Palin, Arnold Schartzenegger and Newt Gingrich, each with three Interchangeable outfits. (


Aoki’s tour de force is her Museum of Historical Makeovers, a faux future (4th millennium) museum-style exhibition that features classical (18c) encyclopedia-style prints to poke fun at today’s obsession with physical beauty. The center of the exhibit is the newly-discovered tomb of Gwen Stefani and her backup singers. These canopic jars are from that tomb. (

Jason Freeny presents X-ray visions of pop-culture toys that reveal the inner structures only real creatures have. His “anatomical figures” are clear examples of art playing with the forms and vocabulary of science. We see here a collision of pop-culture characters with scientific analysis and representation. This is funny but it is also disturbing. It prompts us to ponder about what is natural and what is cultural; what is real and what is not. (

 What if your favorite fictional cartoon characters were real and afflicted with common human foibles? Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Oniveros explores that notion in his many funny, yet dark portrayals of these much-loved characters. Ontiveros also plays with the visual tropes of art—mixing legendary artists with our cartoon heroes and playing with iconic images from art history. With these mischievous images, Ontiveros is playfully iconoclastic. He calls this work Chaos Pop or, when it really gets edgy, Profanity Pop. (;

Seigo Allevato
Katy Aoki
Jason Freeny
Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Oniveros
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