Embankment Galleries South Wing

25 Jan14 Apr 2024

A major new exhibition exploring the irresistible force of cuteness in contemporary culture.



Guarding Cute Angel

55 x 32 x 15cm




What guards loveliness is stillness, and all that is still (dull) becomes loveliness. It is the lovely momentary framing of the butterfly sword thrust into the subjunctive.



Opening January 2024, Somerset House presents CUTE, a major new landmark exhibition exploring the irresistible force of cuteness in contemporary culture.  From emojis to internet memes, video games to plushie toys, food to loveable robotic design, cuteness has taken over our world. But how has something so charming and seemingly harmless – adorable, doe-eyed animals, chubby-cheeked babies, flowers, hearts, stars, sweets and other such romantic motifs – gained such traction?  
CUTE brings together contemporary artworks, including several new artist commissions, and cultural phenomena such as music, fashion, toys, video games and social media, in this brand-new show examining the world’s embrace of cute culture and how it has become such an influential measure of our times. It will seek to unravel cuteness’ emotive charge, revealing its extraordinary and complex power and potential.  
Presented in partnership with Sanrio, the exhibition will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of cute’s most iconic and ubiquitous figures, Hello Kitty, featuring a dedicated plushie space, immersive disco and display of Hello Kitty products throughout the decades, including rare and unique items.   
Featured artists announced to date include AYA TAKANO、Mike Kelley、Karen Kilimnik、Nayland Blake、Cosima von Bonin、Hannah Diamond、Ed Fornieles、Juliana Huxtable、Rachel Maclean、Julien Ceccaldi、Paige KB、Isaac Lythgoe、Alake Shilling、Wong Ping、Liv Preston、Ram Han、Maggie Lee、Bunny Rogers、Andy Holden以及 Somerset House Studios 艺术家Chriszhongtian Yuan和Sian Fan。  

CUTE commissions

and contemporary artworks  

Hypersonic sees post-internet cuteness take on its most exuberant form. In today’s globally connected, hyper-capitalistic world, cuteness has become accelerated, maximalist, super glossy and futuristic. This section will feature works from artists and designers such as Super Nhozagri Kingdom, Xiuching Tsay and MSCHF which reflect this shiny new confidence and point towards cuteness’ radical potential to help us find new ways of being human. 



Step Inside, Think Outside     
As the home of cultural innovators, Somerset House is a site of origination, with a cultural programme offering alternative perspectives on the biggest issues of our time. We are a place of joy and discovery, where everyone is invited to Step Inside and Think Outside.  
From our historic site in the heart of London, we work globally across art, creativity, business, and non-profit, nurturing new talent, methods and technologies. Our resident community of creative enterprises, arts organisations, artists and makers, makes us a centre of ideas, with most of our programme home-grown.   
We sit at the meeting point of artistic and social innovation, bringing worlds and minds together to create surprising and often magical results. Our spirit of constant curiosity and counter perspective is integral to our history and key to our future.