Amy & Penelope Hill

Amy Hill’s “LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It” at JANM this weekend!

Amy Hill will be at the museum this weekend for 3 performances of her show, “LOST AND FOUND, Life as I (K)NEW It.”

Amy & Penelope HillOctober 1 @ 7 pm
October 2 @ 2 pm & 7 pm

Amy Hill explores how her life has evolved since her daughter became a part of her family. She talks about adoption, single motherhood, multiracial/transracial identity mash-ups and her continuing struggles to figure it all out in a humorous and honest way. Far from her days of flying solo, she has moved into a not so solo world: her daughter may or may not make an appearance.

Read our interview with Amy about the show:

Lost and Found: Amy Hill on Adoption and Identity
By Mia Nakaji Monnier

Watch a teaser of the show:

 

Purchase tickets >>

$15 Members, Students, Groups (10+), Seniors
$20 non-members

*Special: $5 families who have adopted. For discount rates, email Koji Steven Sakai at ksakai@janm.org for password!

“Folding Paper” Preview — Origami exhibition coming to JANM next year!

On Sunday, September 18, the museum hosted a special sneak preview of the upcoming exhibition, Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilites of Origami for our Upper Level Members.

Meher McDonald sharing slides of origami works during her presentation.

Meher McArthur, curator for the exhibition that will be opening at JANM in March 2012, gave a wonderful presentation about the history of origami in Japan, but also revealed a tradition of paper folding in Europe that surprised many in the audience.

Museum staff are collaborating with Meher on this exciting exhibition that will look at not just the origins and growth of paper folding, but also present an incredible selection of origami works from a diverse array of “folders” around the world. Not only do they represent countries like Japan, the U.S., France, Belgium, and Vietnam, they are diverse in their backgrounds as well. Some are artists and educators, while a large contingent are from math & science backgrounds.

Many exclamations of amazement from the crowd when Meher informed us that this was made from one piece of paper, and that the artist conceived & figured out how to fold it in his mind!

In addition to the mind-blowing contemporary pieces, the exhibition will also include a section on the influence of origami on science, medicine, fashion, and architecture. A very special section will focus especially on the role of origami cranes as a symbol of global unity and world peace.

This exhibition is being produced to travel by International Arts and Artists, but the Museum is a co-developer and will be the originating venue. Our own origami expert, volunteer Ruthie Kitagawa, is helping to create examples of some of the traditional pieces. It will open at JANM on March 10, 2012 and will travel for 3 years.

Inspired by the documentary, Between the Folds, Meher is putting together an exhibition that will delight and inform kids, educators, mathematicians, artists, and everyone in between.

If you are interested in supporting this exhibition, call Sarah Carle at 213.830.5670 for information about sponsorship opportunities.

P.S. Meher will be guest-blogging here on our FIRST & CENTRAL JANM blog! Check back for updates from her and more behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks!

These masks elicited a lot of 'oohs' and 'aahs'
Geometric origami. (sorry for the quality of the images. Took them on my phone)
Sadako Sasaki's story has inspired people around the world. Very excited that one of the cranes she folded will be in the exhibition.

Shibori Class!


Shibori Girl taught another incredible shibori workshop at the Museum this past Saturday. The workshop was close to full and students of all levels had a fantastic time experimenting with their shibori and indigo dyeing projects. Glennis, who is Shibori Girl, just returned from a month-long trip in Japan where she attended the annual Arimatsu Shibori Festival and brought samples of gorgeous vintage and contemporary shibori samples for everyone to covet.

Indigo Shibori Samples

 

Instructor’s Tombo Sample
Stitching the Tombo Design

For this workshop, the goal was to create a tombo (dragonfly) image on indigo using basic shibori stitching techniques. Seemed like a daunting project at first but it turned out to be a very simple task and the results were impressive. I’m sure it was a breeze only because of Glennis’ expert step-by-step instructions. After mastering the tombo project, students were able to experiment with different techniques for the rest of the workshop. The three hours zoomed by and students were still scrambling to squeeze in yet one more project into the dye vat.

Glennis with a Small Indigo Vat

 

To illustrate how much this group of students enjoyed the workshop: There was a loud collective groan when Public Program Manager, Koji Sakai said that there wasn’t another shibori workshop scheduled until 2012. “That’s too long a wait!” There was grumbling. So now there is talk about have a two-day shibori workshop next year. What do you think? Any past workshop attendees out there reading this blog? Weigh in and email Koji your thoughts about the two-day workshop at ksakai@janm.org or post your comments on this blog.

If you have ever been tempted to take any of the shibori classes the Museum offers, please, just jump in and sign up when you see the next one being offered. You will not be disappointed – Glennis is a generous and knowledgeable instructor who leads an excellent workshop which gets you back in touch with that inner-artist in you and leaves you craving to create more and more shibori pieces. Warning: Shibori and indigo are extremely addictive.

Thank you Glennis!

Students' Finished Tombo Projects!

 

Photos taken by K Doi

Becoming American? Reintroducing Issei Artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Next Saturday, on September 24th at 2pm, Dr. ShiPu Wang will be at the Museum to talk about his book, Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi was one of the preeminent 20th century American artists. He was active in New York as a teacher and in both artist circles and Japanese American organizations from pre-war until his death in 1953. At the time, he was an internationally known painter and graphic artist, but sadly is not well known now, particularly in the Japanese American community.

Becoming American? is the first scholarly book in over two decades to offer a critical evaluation of the pivotal art of Yasuo Kuniyoshi.

We asked one of our volunteer writers to interview Dr. Wang about the book for our Discover Nikkei website:

Becoming American? Reintroducing Issei Artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi >>

For more info about the program on September 24 >>

Drawing From Memory

Just one more reminder about the Allen Say event this weekend. Don’t want any fans to miss the opportunity to see some original artwork and to hear Allen speak about this special book. There’s also a great review (one of the many this book has received) on this web site. You have to go to “D” and search for the title Drawing From Memory to access the review.

This is my favorite photo from the book. Sensei Noro Shinpei looks like a cowboy even though he’s wearing a kimono. You can sense the excitement and promise in the wistful young Allen.

Purchase the book from the Museum Store Online >>

2011 Lexus winner Karen Nakawatase with Tammie Kanda of Toyota

2011 Lexus Opportunity Drawing Winner!

Congratulations to Karen Nakawatase of Fountain Valley, CA, winner of the 2011 Lexus Opportunity Drawing! Nakawatase was the recipient of a new Lexus RX450h hybrid, courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Her winning ticket was drawn on April 16, 2011, at the Japanese American National Museum’s annual Gala Dinner & Silent Auction in Los Angeles. Nakawatase (left) is pictured here with Tammie Kanda of Toyota (right).
2011 Lexus winner Karen Nakawatase with Tammie Kanda of Toyota
Photo by Nobuyuki Okada
Thank you to everyone who supported the drawing, which raised more than $120,000 in donations to support diversity education programs at the Japanese American National Museum.

Today’s Groupon: Discount on our Tea Fest!

I was excited to see today’s Groupon discounts for our very own Chado Tea Room! There are three options:

  • For $10, you get two tickets to the first annual Los Angeles Tea Festival on August 13 and 14 (a $20 value).
  • For $30, you get afternoon tea for two people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $61 value).
  • For $48, you get afternoon tea for four people and $25 worth of loose-leaf tea (a $97 value).

Have you been to our Chado Tea Room? It is a wonderfully civilized place to have Afternoon Tea. A hidden gem. I love it!

Well, I just wanted to point out these fabulous deals, especially the discounted tickets to the Tea Fest in conjunction with our Saturday, Aug 13 Summer Festival — our most popular event of the year! — just in case there are a few rare JANM blog readers out there who do not get the Groupon alerts. The Chado Groupon is available until the end of day Saturday July 30th!

Chado Groupon Deal >>

Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit

I say Labbit, you say Rabbit

I have received a couple of inquiries as to the origin of the title for the Year of the Labbit show, so I thought perhaps an explanation was in order. I was not trying to confuse, confound, or humiliate anyone for not being able to pronounce Ls and Rs (like my mother planned to when she wanted to name me Laura so neither my Chinese nor Japanese grandparents would be able to say my name correctly –Lola, Rora,..)

Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit
Angry Asian labbit! (Jerome Lu's Hyperactive Shaolin Rabbit)

 

The blank toy that was used for the show was an already existing product created by Kid Robot and the artist Frank Kozik. I wondered about the name since the toy had absolutely no reflection of any Asian influences. I assumed it was a combination of the Latin based word for “rabbit” which in French at least is “lapin” and  “rabbit”, and left it at that. There were never any indications that this was aimed at an Asian audience, it never came with Asian themed accessories, and wasn’t questioned until I decided to use it for the blank canvas for this show, at this Museum, and called the show the Year of the Labbit.

I contacted the artist to ask him how the Labbit got its name. Frank told me that his first version of this toy was a mean-looking rabbit with a cigarette in its mouth and a scar on its forehead. I had seen this in his artwork as a “Smorkin’ Labbit”, and indeed several toy versions were made with variations of rabbits and other inanimate objects (like watermelons, hamburgers, etc. all smoking cigarettes.) Frank said that he sent his Smokin’ Rabbit design to Asia for final production. When he received his first shipment of packaged product, someone in Asia had changed everything to Smorkin’ Labbit! Rather than scrap the whole project and return everything for a re-do, he decided to let serendipity to play into his product and kept the name as is.

The version of Kozik’s toy we are using is called the Happy Labbit and is a little more family friendly and cute. But basically I chose it because its shape offered the most surface area for artists to paint on.

Labbit Custom Show UPDATE

Here’s an update on our Year of the Labbit Custom Show opening on Thursday!

Whew, working to open two shows a week apart is insane! It always gets done, often without all the behind-the-scenes drama showing up in the final product (see my last post re: drama.)  However some important items you should know: 1.) the Labbit Show opens at 6:30 PM on Thursday, July 14. We won’t unveil until then. 2.) Admission to the exhibition is FREE that evening. 3.) Some of the Labbits will be auctioned off on eBay through out the run of the show. These include Labbits by Mike Shinoda, Kip Fulbeck, higashi glaser and Stan Sakai. The auctions will be posted on the Year of the Labbit page on our web site. Each auction will last a week so you will have plenty of time to bid.

Online sales for the other pieces will be up (gulp!) hopefully by the opening night. I can’t tell you exactly when, but keep checking our site. We won’t start selling until the show opens however.