Discussion: Life and Art in Late Edo-Period Japan
This week marks the end of the month-long celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. With the parades, the parties (wasn’t Cherry Blast awesome?!), the programs, and all of the cultural opportunities available to D.C. and its visitors – it was astounding to see institutions, retailers, restaurants, and individuals come together to create a fully realized city-wide commemoration.
However, as the Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close, there is yet another cultural celebration still in our midst: Japan Spring on the National Mall. Japan Spring is a season-long series of programs, recognizing D.C. as the first city outside Japan to host three concurrent exhibitions of masterpieces by distinguished Edo period artists. These exhibitions, if you haven’t already heard about or experienced them, are: Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples (March 10–July 8, 2012) and Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji (March 24–June 17, 2012) at the Sackler gallery; and Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800) at the National Gallery of Art (March 30–April 29, 2012).
In honor of Japan Spring, both institutions are presenting an array of programs for public edification and enjoyment. One upcoming lecture, in particular, will reference both exhibitions now on view and help us distill the significance of late Edo-period Japanese art, and why it is important to society and culture today.
Entitled Visual Culture and Social Upheaval: Imaging Change in Late Edo-Period Japan, the lecture is a part of the Freer|Sackler galleries’ Articulation series, featuring conversations about art and culture from multiple viewpoints that are inspired by and deepen interest in the themes of Freer|Sackler exhibitions.
This lecture will explore the intersection of pop culture and spiritual concerns of Japanese society during this in time period – when natural disasters, foreign threats, religious pilgrimages, and exotic Buddhist cults combined to bring that world into a new age of popular and spiritual culture. It will be a chance to uncover the reasons why Kano Kazunobu’s paintings of Buddha’s legendary disciples and Hokusai’s famous print series of Mount Fuji (both exemplified in both the Hokusai and Masters of Mercy exhibitions now on view) became so iconic and why their popularity endures even today.
Leading the discussion will be leading scholars in the field, including:
- James C. Dobbins, Fairchild Professor of Religion at Oberlin College
- Patricia Graham, independent art historian, and
- Constantine N. Vaporis, Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Moderated by James Ulak, Senior Curator of Japanese Art at Freer|Sackler and curator of Masters of Mercy, the event is bound to provide unexpected insights into the art on view at the museum in an innovative, engaging, and interactive forum.
Visual Culture and Social Upheaval: Imaging Change in Late Edo-Period Japan takes place on Saturday, May 5th at 2pm at the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium.
Short URL: http://bit.ly/HTIPpx