Published: Sep 05, 2012 10:25 AM
Modified: Sep 05, 2012 10:26 AM
The Ackland Art Museum at UNC holds an outstanding collection of Asian art – one of the most distinguished in the southeastern United States – with Japanese art forming the most significant part.
This fall, the Ackland will showcase selections from its Japanese collection, as well as art from prominent private collections, in an extended and multifaceted celebration of Japanese art and culture called “A Season of Japan.” The exhibition runs until Jan. 6.
A public reception celebrating “A Season of Japan” will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6. Drummers from Triangle Taiko will perform.
The centerpiece of the season is “Elegance and Extravagance: Japanese Posters from the Merrill C. Berman Collection,” an ambitious exhibition of 86 important and rarely-seen Japanese posters from the late 1950s to the 1990s.
The season will also feature 19th- and 20th-century Japanese woodblock prints, recently conserved scrolls and screens, modern and contemporary ceramics, and contemporary photography, all from the Ackland’s permanent collection.
In conjunction with “A Season of Japan,” an array of public programs will be offered, including talks, music, workshops, and films. The cumulative effect of the season will be a deepening of visitors’ appreciation of the vitality and diversity of Japanese art and culture through the centuries. Details about programs and events are available at ackland.org/visit
Five major exhibitions will present graphic arts, prints, screens, and scrolls:
• “Elegance and Extravagance: Japanese Posters from the Merrill C. Berman Collection,” opening Sept. 7. Featuring rarely-seen examples alongside acknowledged classics, “Elegance and Extravagance” prompts a new look at the exuberant and inventive accomplishments of highly influential poster designers of the postwar decades.
From the psychedelic, Pop-influenced posters of Tadanori Yokoo to the crisp, bold simplicity of works by Ikkô Tanaka, to the witty and compelling designs of Shigeo Fukuda, Elegance and Extravagance provides the rare opportunity to experience firsthand the power, sophistication, and variety of Japanese posters from this era in their original form.
• “East Faces West: The Modern Japanese Print,” through Oct. 14. This exhibition brings together a surprising variety of styles, subjects, and techniques practiced by Japanese artists living in the decentralized, postmodern art world of the late twentieth century.
• “Pictures of Vanity Fair: The Traditional Japanese Print,” opening Oct. 19. The word “ukiyo,” usually translated as “the floating world,” had many of the same connotations as the English phrase “vanity fair”: a milieu where art, fashion, entertainment, and sexuality flowed together. This exhibition features color prints that are pictures of the floating world (ukiyo-e). It includes images of renowned courtesans, scenes from kabuki theater, and views of famous places in Japan, as well prints that show evidence of the opening of Japan
• “New Light on Japanese Painting: Recently Conserved Screens and Scrolls,” Part One, through Oct. 13; Part Two, opening Oct. 19. This exhibition, presented in two consecutive installations, provides a close look at 10 recently conserved and remounted Japanese hanging scrolls and screens, dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries. The works are accompanied, both in the gallery and on the exhibition’s website, by details about their recent conservation by the Nishio Conservation Studio in Washington, D.C., a studio of master conservators who combine traditional Japanese materials and practices with a modern understanding of chemistry and professional commitment to documentation.
• “Adding to the Mix 5: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields no. 176 (2009),” through Oct. 21. Hiroshi Sugimoto consistently probes the potential and pushes the limits of the medium through works of extraordinary elegance, technical accomplishment, and conceptual intelligence. The large-scale “Lightning Fields no. 176” is the result of an experimental project involving the release of a significant electrical charge on film submerged in water
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