The opening of Japan in the 1850’s to trade with Western nations inspired “Japonism,” the widespread public enthusiasm in North America and Europe for “artistic” Japanese and Japanese-style consumer goods affordable by all economic classes. This illustrated talk by Will Chandler, former curator of Decorative Arts at SDMART, will survey the ways in which Japanese exporters invented new kinds of artistic products to help pay for modernization, and how American merchants presented Japanese culture and Japanese goods to attract buyers. Will’s presentation is based on his essay in John Vollmer’s Re-Envisioning Japan, Meiji Fine Art Textiles, published by 5 Continents Press in 2016, the cover of which illustrates a Meiji era silk tapestry in the SDMA collection donated by Archer Huntington in 1939.
The transmission from China of Zen Buddhism introduced to early medieval Japanese painters an array of new figural subjects, some religious in nature and others ostensibly less so. Alongside sinicized devotional imagery came pictures of a host of figures from Chinese antiquity—praiseworthy monks, notable eccentrics, and celebrated literary heroes. This talk will examine the concurrent reception of these images in medieval Japan through an exploration of the dynamic interaction between pictures of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, and ancient Chinese poets.
Aaron Rio graduated from Indiana University and earned his MA, MPhil, and PhD in art history from Columbia University. He has also held visiting research positions at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at The University of Tokyo, Gakushūin University, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Allison Tolman, a second generation dealer of contemporary Japanese works of paper, grew up in Tokyo where her parents have owned and operated a gallery, The Tolman Collection of Tokyo, since 1971.The Tolman Collection is the largest publisher of contemporary Japanese prints. She will discuss the print world in Japan from after the Second World War to the present, with emphasis on printmakers active today.