NEW YORK.-To celebrate the strong and historic cultural links between Japan and New York, Japan Society Gallery presents Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York from October 5, 2007 January 13, 2008. The second exhibition of Japan Society's 2007-08 centennial celebration, which began with Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan (through June 17), Making a Home is a large-scale group exhibition featuring the work of 33 Japanese contemporary artists who call New York City home. The show not only comprises a broad range of mediafrom painting, sculpture, and photography to fashion, architecture, and sound artbut also covers diverse age groups, identities, experiences, and styles that display the breadth and depth of Japanese contemporary art as developed, practiced, and presented in New York. Ranging from Misaki Kawai's playful sculptures that capture the artist's interior fantasy world to the renowned artist Yoko Ono's poignant conceptualism, the artists and works included in the exhibition provide insight into the ideas and processes stimulated by the confluence of cultures that is New York City.
Presenting works by artists that have been active in New York since the 1960s as well as young artists who have only been in the city several years, Making a Home draws attention to the fact that Japanese artists have made the city their home for decades, and for a variety of reasons. Some came for enhanced exposure to the international art world; some came to escape restrictions that they faced in Japan; still others came to challenge themselves to take their artwork in wholly new directions. In each artists case, the city has provided a context and catalyst for their work to flourish and develop. Although their individual practices are wholly unique, these artists share the common trait of venturing from their homes in Japan to stake claim to the capital of the international art world, New York City, where each has created a new aesthetic vocabulary influenced by Japan, New York, and the world beyond.
Making a Home will include works by such luminaries as Fluxus founding member Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone, and Ushio Shinohara--some of the vanguard leaders of contemporary art in both Japan and the United States. In addition, the show will introduce the work of several emerging artists still in the early stages of their careers, including Misaki Kawai, Hiroyuki Nakamura, and Hiroki Otsuka. The entire gallery space and many public areas of Japan Society will come alive with massive wall murals painted in Japanese sumi ink by Otsuka, with mannequins wearing the creations of fashion house United Bamboo, and with several other installations. A number of new works were also commissioned specifically for the exhibition. Several collaborative installations and exhibitions are planned during the course of the show, including a massive installation by renowned artist Nobuho Nagasawa at the Ise Cultural Foundation in New Yorks SoHo District.
To further extend the reach of the exhibitionand to include more voices among New Yorks community of Japanese contemporary artistsan Open Studios Weekend is planned for October. Japanese artists working in any medium and located in all boroughs of the city will post images of their work on a special website developed for the project, and their studio locations will be plotted on a map so that members of the public may easily visit them in their homes and workspaces. This effort will create a new community of Japanese artists in New York City, and will allow visitors to experience an often-unseen look inside working artists studios.
Artists featured in Making a Home are: ON megumi Akiyoshi, Noriko Ambe, Ei Arakawa, Satoru Eguchi, Ayakoh Furukawa, Toru Hayashi, Noritoshi Hirakawa, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, Takahiro Kaneyama, Emiko Kasahara, Misaki Kawai, Miwa Koizumi, Yumi Kori, Nobuho Nagasawa, Hiroyuki Nakamura, Yoko Ono, Hiroki Otsuka, Katsuhiro Saiki, Kyoko Sera, Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, Go Sugimoto, Kunie Sugiura, Hiroshi Sunairi, Mayumi Terada, Yuken Teruya, Yasunao Tone, Momoyo Torimitsu, United Bamboo, Aya Uekawa, Junko Yoda, Toshihisa Yoda and Yoichiro Yoda.
Eric C. Shiner is an independent curator and art historian specializing in Japanese contemporary art. He holds two Masters degrees in the History of Art, one from Yale University and the other from Osaka University, and focuses on the concept of bodily transformation in Postwar Japanese photography, painting, and performance art. Shiner was an assistant curator of the Yokohama Triennale, Japan's first ever large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, held in 2001. He has also organized exhibitions in Chicago at Julia Friedman Gallery (2002), and in New York City at Ise Cultural Foundation (2004) and White Box (2007). In addition to his own exhibitions, Shiner has also worked on large shows at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. He is an active writer and translator, and is a contributing editor for Art AsiaPacific magazine.
A full-color catalogue highlighting each artist's work, scholarly articles on the exhibition and Japan Society's role in supporting contemporary artists in New York in the 1950s and 60s, as well as an essay on artist Yayoi Kusama's career in the city during that time will be published to commemorate the exhibition.
Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York is sponsored by Nooka Inc. Additional support is provided by The Japan Foundation, Tug Studio, Jack and Susy Wadsworth, Chris Wachenheim, and the Leadership Committee for Making a Home. Media sponsorship is provided by WNYC and LTB Media. As part of the Millennium on View program, Millennium UN Plaza is the preferred hotel partner of Japan Societys Centennial. Exhibitions at Japan Society are also made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Endowment Fund and the Friends of the Gallery. Installations at Japan Society Gallery are supported by a generous gift from Henry Cornell.