Karen Kosasa

Contributor: Karen Kosasa, Director of the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program and Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, UH Mānoa.


Kimo Cashman
Kapu Series, 1992
Reproductions of silver gelatin prints

I was stunned at the boldness of Cashman’s gesture—placing the word “KAPU” across eight photographs, essentially preventing the viewer from seeing clearly what lay beneath each image. It’s meaning gnawed at me. What was this Hawaiian artist saying to his viewers, especially me, a non-Hawaiian viewer?

-Karen Kosasa


A Maquette Representing My Remembrance and Idealization of Ilya Kabakov’s “The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment,” 1989
Mixed media 

I saw this installation at the Magiciens de la Terre exhibition at the Grande Halle at Parc de la Vilette (extension of the exhibition sponsored by the Centre George Pompidou) outside Paris in 1989.  You had to look through a tiny peephole in a wall to see Kabakov’s installation. On one outer wall, Kabakov included a narrative about the man’s life and his wish to escape his circumstances. It was an enchanting experience to read the text and peer through the hole—to imagine how this person had catapulted himself into the sky.

The installation was one among nine that Kabakov developed from 1985-1988: poignant reflections on living in extreme physical and spatial proximity with others in communal apartments under Soviet Communism.

-Karen Kosasa