Rune Naito: Roots of Kawaii

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Rune Naito: Roots of Kawaii

Long before the current obsession with all things kawaii, there was Rune Naito, the artist whose 1960s pictures of dishy girls and characters like the doe-eyed Runepanda laid the groundwork for an entire visual aesthetic. Though he was hardly overlooked during his own lifetime, Naito has been increasingly celebrated since his death in 2007, not least by 6% Dokidoki boss Sebastian Masuda. The Harajuku icon and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu collaborator was enlisted to produce Rune Boutique, a line of products based on Naito's illustrations that made its splashy debut in LA last December. Now he's curating an exhibition of designs and lithographs by the godfather of kawaii, including unpublished work, in a show that's likely to appeal to pop art historians as well as sweet-toothed cute fanatics.

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