Mia Kivel
Excellence Award Winner
Art History &
Pathways Academic
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Art History investigates creativity as a cultural and social force and influences global dialogues with critical insights. 

Inspired by the work of Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault, among others, I strive to put forth a concept of art historical analysis that centers not on the art object in its own right, but on the interactions between that object and society as a whole. In short, I believe that art can serve as both a mirror and a mold, reflecting the views and attitudes of the society in which it was created while simultaneously shaping the beliefs of those who view it.

 

Perhaps more importantly though, I believe in a broad understanding of what should be understood as "Art" within the context of art-historical practice. My work centers around contemporary Japanese art and visual culture, and I feel that it would be incomplete without attention paid to animation, illustration, fashion, and even music. If anything, these "pop culture" artifacts are the most critical to understanding the influence visual culture holds on society. To younger Japanese audiences, anime, manga, street fashion, and video games can the most salient forms of visual media, and their significance cannot be overlooked.

Understanding Lolita Fashion, the Sweeter Side of Japanese Punk

The Transformation Sequence of a Genre: Mahō Shōjo from Sailor Moon to Magical Girl Site

What is your most memorable

experience at KCAD?

My most memorable experience during my time at KCAD has to be the trip I took to Tokyo in December of 2019, just a few short months before pandemic lockdowns began. While the trip was largely recreational, it also served as the inspiration for the research I would eventually conduct on the Shinjuku Gyoen Imperial Gardens, Lolita fashion, and Daidō Moriyama's street photography. I also credit that two-week stay with giving me the motivation to fully commit to contemporary Japanese art as a subject for inquiry at the graduate level.

What are your most

notable accomplishments?

I certainly take pride on being nominate for and receiving these awards, but I would say my greatest achievement at KCAD has been the final project of my cultural studies capstone course with Dr. Susanna Engbers. The project--a genre study of "magical girl" anime and manga from "Sailor Moon" to "Magical Girl Site"--is near and dear to my heart, and progressed from the final assignment of a six-week summer course to something much larger. I ended up writing far more than the guidelines of the project called for, and fortunately, Dr. Engbers was happy to read it.

 

On a less serious note, I've become an accomplished cheesemonger over the last three years, and take a certain amount of pride in my work in that area as well.