Feb 25th 2012

Closed off for centuries, Japan’s ports were opened to Western trade in the mid-19th century. This opening, as well as the extensive rebuilding effort that took place in the aftermath of the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, propelled Tokyo and the rest of the country into the modern age and onto the world stage. Western technology and cultural values quickly worked their way into Japanese society. This transformation inspired Japanese artists to create work that illustrated astounding technological advances while capturing the psychological toll modernity imposed on society. Floating World Gallery will discuss the work created by these artists in the seminar Bright Lights, Big City: The Art of Modernism in Japanese Woodblock Prints on Saturday, February 25 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

This seminar, led by Director of Exhibitions Elias Martin, will examine the early period of modern Japanese prints, from 1904 to 1959. The themes of westernization, modernism, and militarism, as well as the sociological concerns of urban planning, identity and gender will be explored through the work of over 40 artists, including Shizuo Fujimori, Kobayakawa Kiyoshi, and Koshiro Onchi. Participants will have a rare opportunity to examine original prints that are often only seen in books or behind museum glass. The seminar is complimentary, but reservations are required; please contact Elias Martin at 312-587-7800

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