Each season we offer a selection of exhibitions on Japanese art. We hope you will enjoy the fall 2022 selection.
You can submit an exhibition for our next selection.
The exhibition shows prints by Hasui Kawase, Charles W. Bartlett, Fritz Capellari, Hakuho Hirano, Toyonari Yamamura, Koson Ohara and other Shin Hanga artists. The exhibition will be held with the full cooperation of Watanabe Woodblock Print Shop, which still maintains the spirit of "shin-hanga." It will explore Shozaburo Watanabe's challenges and introduce the charm of Watanabe's fresh expression colored by a modern spirit through rare first prints of Watanabe's woodblock prints, of which only a few remain.
Photo by Minamoto Tadayuki
A fourth-generation bamboo artist, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV (b. 1973) dramatically pushes the boundaries of the artform. While continuing his family’s tradition of weaving bamboo flower baskets and smaller sculptural works, he is also renowned for using bamboo as a material for large-scale contemporary artworks and installations at museums and other venues around the world. The exhibition LIFE CYCLES examines the Chikuunsai artistic lineage, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV’s creative process, and the life of Japan’s bamboo forests.
Born in Sakai in Osaka, Chikuunsai trained in sculpture at Tokyo University of the Arts. He then studied traditional Japanese basket weaving in Beppu in Oita prefecture and with his father, Tanabe Chikuunsai III. Keenly aware of artistic life cycles, Chikuunsai is passing down to his children the skills and knowledge he inherited from earlier generations. He is also conscious of the life of the bamboo he uses in his work. As he harvests bamboo from the woods of Kochi in Shikoku, he also strives to nurture and preserve the forests. For his site-specific installations, Chikuunsai previously used torachiku, or “tiger bamboo,” which has now become scarce. For this installation, he employed two other types of bamboo—madake (“Japanese timber bamboo”) and kurochiku (“black bamboo”), which is also disappearing. The exhibition highlights the importance of conserving the bamboo forests, or chikurin, for future generations.
Expect the unexpected. The exhibition Underdogs and Antiheroes: Japanese Prints from the Moskowitz Collectionfocuses on the captivating stories and urban legends of individuals living on the fringes of society in early modern Japan. Key subjects in theater, literature, and visual arts reveal antiheroes and underdogs whose virtues are often embodied by their rejection of societal norms, making them misfits and moral exemplars at the same time. The exhibition will follow virtuous bandits, tattooed firemen who love to fight, rogues from the kabuki theater, and others.
Highlighting the transformative gift of the Pearl and Seymour Moskowitz Collection to the National Museum of Asian Art, Underdogs and Antiheroes features subjects that are not commonly associated with traditional Japanese print culture but were nevertheless central to the interests of an early modern public. The exhibition will explore new visual and thematic ground, further strengthening the museum’s trailblazing role in reconsidering presentations of Asian cultures.
In June 2018 renowned contemporary photographer Arthur Tress generously donated his collection of Japanese illustrated books and prints to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Totaling over one thousand titles and representing nearly four hundred years of publishing history, Tress’s collection spans the historical range of the Japanese illustrated book. This exhibition presents highlights from the collection, including seventeenth century manuscripts, evocative landscape studies and painting manuals, poetry coterie books and comic novels, as well as modern design and textile studies.
Imagined as a study collection, Tress’s gift formed the backbone of three curatorial seminars where undergraduate and graduate students alike engaged with the rich cultural and intellectual history of the Japanese book. Displaying a selection of Japanese books along with Tress’s own photography, this exhibition places the Japanese illustrated book into conversation with Tress’s photographs. The exhibition engages Tress’s practices as both artist and collector, juxtaposing the two media to present moments of unexpected visual poetry that resonate across geographic place and time.
Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) left a great mark on the Japanese art world. He learned the traditional sketch style of the Maruyama-Shijo school, and studied various painting styles of many other schools. Based on his efforts, in 1900, he went to Europe to further his painting education. After returning to Japan, he broke new ground, creating a new painting technique that incorporated the expression of Western realism into Japanese painting. He also became famous as a leader of a new age because of his original painting style and his high painting skill. In 1937, he received the first Order of Culture. Seiho remained as a leader of the Kyoto painting circle.
This exhibition, commemorating the 80th year after Seiho’s death, will show various works by Seiho, as well as by others who flourished in Kyoto at that time, who learned from Seiho in the private art school Chikujo-kai or at Kyoto City Technical School of Painting (Kyoto City Kaiga Sen-mon Gakko), and who were painters from the Association for the Creation of New Japanese-style Painting (Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai) for which Seiho worked as an adviser. Please appreciate the wide range of works by Seiho, who had a great influence as a head of the Kyoto painting circle, and other painters around him.
For the first time in Europe an exhibition devoted to this aesthetic concept in photography and ceramics is displayed. Over one hundred works by national and international artists make this Japanese concept of the beauty of imperfection accessible to the viewer. The acceptance and appreciation of the transience and imperfection play central roles and are reflected in a wide range of Japanese art forms such as in the tea ceremony, in poetry and in art. The artists featured in this exhibition have, in their own unique way, been influenced by wabi-sabi. This influence can be seen for example in a photo of melting snow printed onto hand-made paper or a simple asymmetrical teacup with a crack in the glaze.