40 years, 40 portraits, 4 sisters, & Hello Kitty’s 40th Birthday

Curated by CLAI

4 SISTERS, 40 PORTRAITS, 40 YEARS: Who are these sisters? The human impulse is to look for clues, but soon we dispense with our anthropological scrutiny — Irish? Yankee, quite likely, with their decidedly glamour-neutral attitudes — and our curiosity becomes piqued instead by their undaunted stares. All four sisters almost always look directly at the camera, as if to make contact, even if their gazes are guarded or restrained.

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years (Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie) 1975, New Canaan, Conn. (Credits: Nicholas Nixon, NYTIMES)

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years (Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie) 1975, New Canaan, Conn. (Credits: Nicholas Nixon, NYTIMES)

HELLO KITTY TURNS 40! Hello Kitty is celebrating a big birthday this year. In the time since the first simple coin purse was sold in Japan back in 1974, Hello Kitty has become a multi-billion dollar empire — $8 billion worth of products bearing her image sold internationally in 2013. The Japanese company that created the cartoon cat now oversees the production of products ranging from backpacks to lunchboxes to picture books.

Simone Legno's 2014 sculpture Kittypatra is on display at the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (NPR)

Simone Legno’s 2014 sculpture Kittypatra is on display at the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (NPR)

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