Japan Society Gallery explores the continuing generative power of Japanese popular culture in Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints (March 9-June 9, 2013), an exhibition juxtaposing contemporary works of art with over 100 historic ukiyo-e woodblock prints drawn from one of the world's great collections of "pictures of the floating world" at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).
In showcasing approximately 30 works by ten International Artists who either draw inspiration from the ukiyo-e artists' style, technique, or engagement in popular culture, Miwako Tezuka, the newly appointed Director of Japan Society Gallery, has recast the exhibition, which comes to New York from the MIA, where it originated earlier this year. Dr. Tezuka will feature different contemporary artists than those shown in Minneapolis, as well as 100 iconic ukiyo-e prints.
True to the chic, playful aesthetic of culture in the Edo period (1615-1868), Japan Society Gallery is commissioning AIKO, a graffiti artist based in Brooklyn, to create at the entry to the exhibition a wall-size mural that pushes her tough, urban, pop sensibility while referencing traditional ukiyo-e motifs. Other present-day artists selected, to date, to participate are Emily Allchurch (London), Paul Binnie (London), Ishii Toru (Saitama prefecture), Kazama Sachiko (Tokyo), Tomokazu Matsuyama (New York), and Masami Teraoka (Hawaii).
The historic prints on view in Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints are all masterworks, selected to convey the great breadth of ukiyo-e production and the variety of expressions of 21 of its masters. The legacy of ukiyo-e, so well represented here, is inspiration for Ishii Toru, a 31-year-old artist based in Japan. More than any other of the featured contemporary artists, Ishii, who creates pop paintings not on canvas but on silk using a method of dyeing called yuzen, has challenged himself to reinterpret the spirit of Hokusai and other ukiyo-e artists in the visual language of today.
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and V subway at Lexington Avenue). The public may call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org for more information.