Enhance Your Visit with Guide by Cell

 

Martin Hsu stands next to his painting Hello Kitty Transcendence, on view now as part of Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty at JANM.
Martin Hsu stands next to his painting Hello Kitty Transcendence, on view now as part of Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty at JANM.

 

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Kitty has finally arrived at JANM, and people can’t stop talking about it. Check the museum’s Facebook page for links to the latest press coverage of the exhibition, including stunning photos from the exhibition’s first week. If you haven’t seen the show yet, be sure to buy your advance tickets online.

Eimi Takano sits in front of her plush sculpture, Ribbon Camp.
Eimi Takano sits in front of her plush sculpture, Ribbon Camp.

While in the gallery, you can enhance your experience of this multifaceted exhibition with our exclusive Guide by Cell audio tours, available free of charge (except those that may be associated with your cell phone plan). The tours feature curator Christine Yano and several of the exhibiting artists offering their unique perspectives on the exhibition. Simply look for the cell phone logo on selected labels in the exhibition and dial 213.455.2924 to access the tours. Follow the prompts and enter the numbers given on the labels.

Still thinking about the exhibition after your visit? Or, not in Los Angeles but still curious to learn more? The great thing about these tours is that they are accessible from anywhere. Just visit our Hello! Extras page to access the phone number and the complete list of prompts.

The Hello! audio tours are available through April 26, 2015.

 

SNEAK PEEK: Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty

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JANM staff members have been working overtime to put together Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. The 40th-anniversary exhibition will be the biggest U.S. showcase for the popular cute icon to date, with 40 works of contemporary art and over 500 Hello Kitty artifacts.

Many details of the show are top secret until the grand public unveiling on October 11, but with Sanrio’s permission, we are sharing these exclusive sneak peek photos with our loyal readers.

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Archivist Lauren Zuchowski measures the first-ever Hello Kitty phone, made in 1976. An object’s dimensions and condition have to be noted for the museum’s records before it goes on display.

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Collections Manager Maggie Wetherbee holds up a vintage Hello Kitty calculator, also from 1976. It still works!

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Sanrio has produced many Hello Kitty kitchen appliances over the years, often sized for younger cooks and diners. This Hello Kitty waffle iron makes kid-size Hello Kitty waffles in four friendly shapes.

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A Hello Kitty blueberry soda is a perfect fit for this Hello Kitty mini-fridge from 2007. Both products were made and sold in Japan.

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Here’s the first Hello Kitty artwork to be installed! Artist Nicole Maloney looks on and offers direction as a team of handlers assemble her sculptural installation, Hello Kitty All Stacked Up!, in the Weingart Foyer.

You can see these pieces and much more in person when Hello! opens on October 11. Remember, Hello! is a specially ticketed exhibition and we strongly recommend that you buy/reserve your tickets in advance by clicking here. JANM members get in FREE!

Stay tuned to our blog for more Hello Kitty news and tidbits over the next few weeks!

A Behind the Scenes Look at “Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World”

National Museum Collections and Exhibitions Staff are busy preparing for the opening of the upcoming exhibition Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World which opens this weekend on March 8!

Here is a peek behind the covered doors.

As the photographs are hung
As the photographs are hung
A Dragon lurks behind the photographs
A Dragon lurks behind the photographs
The wall art was painted by hand
The wall art was painted by hand
Hanging the photographs
Hanging the photographs

Join us this Saturday for the opening day. Many of the artists will be here to present live tattooing, lectures, and a book signing of the exhibition catalogue.

For information about the exhibition and related public programs, visit: janm.org/perseverance

Perseverance – Live Tattooing and Lectures on Saturday, March 8th

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Tattoo by Yokohama Horiken. Lettering by Chaz Bojorquez. Photo by Kip Fulbeck.

 

JANM’s highly anticipated exhibition, Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World will be opening to the public this Saturday, March 8th!

Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind, as it will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.

GroupShotPerseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.

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Tattoo by Horikiku. Photo by Kip Fulbeck.

Many exciting things are planned for the public opening of Perseverance! Join us from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for an event that will feature Live Tattoo Demonstrations by Horitomo, Miyazo, Shige, and Yokohama Horiken including tattooing by both machine and tebori—traditional Japanese tattooing by hand.

Saturday’s public opening will also pack in the afternoon with lectures given by curator Horitaka (Takahiro Kitamura), exhibition designer and photographer Kip Fulbeck, and a number of the artists featured in the exhibition—Junko Junii Shimada, Chris Horishiki Brand, Jill Horiyuki Halpin, and Chaz Bojorquez. The program will also include a live tattoo model unveiling.

These back-to-back lectures will begin at 1 p.m., and the last lecture will be given at 4:30 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to artists and contributors talk about their work in the exhibition and the importance of the art of tattoo in their life!

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Tattoo by Miyazo. Photo by Kip Fulbeck.

Saturday’s opening will conclude with a signing of the exhibition catalogue with all of the attending artists. The catalogue, along with a variety of custom merchandise produced for the exhibition, will be available for sale at the Museum Store. Get your copy of the exhibition catalogue signed by these amazing artists!

For a full schedule and additional information, please visit the Perseverance exhibition page.

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The programs are free with museum admission. Purchase admission at the front desk of the Museum on event day. No pre-payment accepted. Last entrance to the National Museum will be at 5 p.m.

Lectures will take place in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (glass building across the Courtyard from main building). Admission required for entry. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis, until maximum capacity is reached. Seating is limited so please arrive early!

Fundraising Auction of Usagi Yojimbo Artwork

Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner
Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner

Just a heads up about this most worthy cause. The art in this auction is also being published as a book which we will sell in the Museum Store later this year.

Proceeds from the auction and book sales will help to offset the Sakai family’s ongoing medical expenses. There is some GREAT art to be had created by a stellar list of artists. The auction starts on March 6!

Click here for details >>

Stan and Sharon have been wonderful supporters and partners of JANM. We had an exhibition of his work in 2011 (Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo), he presented a session at our 2013 National Conference in Seattle, and we sell many Usagi Yojimbo products in our Museum Store, including JANM exclusive items.

Here is a photo of Stan and Sharon in 2011 at our Gala Dinner that year—happier times!

 

Estelle Ishigo Drawing from JANM Collection Featured in National Constitution Center Exhibition

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Estelle Ishigo’s drawing All In One Room, as it was prepared by Collections Staff for travel to the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is currently featuring the drawing All In One Room by Estelle Ishigo in their permanent exhibition The Story of We, the People.  The drawing will be on display through November of 2014.

Estelle Peck Ishigo (1899-1990) is most well known as an artist who chronicled the experience at the Heart Mountain concentration camp.

Estelle Peck was born in Oakland in 1899 to parents of English, Dutch, French ancestry.  Her family moved to Los Angeles and Estelle attended the Otis Art Institute, where she met Arthur Ishigo (1902-1957), a San Francisco-born Nisei who was working as a chauffeur for California Lieutenant Governor Robert Kenny.  As anti-miscegenation laws at the time prohibited interracial couples from getting married, Peck and Ishigo took a trip across the border to Tijuana to be wed in 1928. Hoping for a career as an actor, Arthur worked as a janitor at Paramount Studios while Estelle worked as an art teacher.  Shunned by her family, the couple lived among the Japanese American community.

Estelle Ishigo (Gift of Mary Ruth Blackburn, Japanese American National Museum [2000.103.12])
Gift of Mary Ruth Blackburn, Japanese American National Museum [2000.103.12].
With the outbreak of World War II and the removal of all West Coast Japanese Americans to inland concentration camps, the couple faced a dilemma. As a Nisei, Arthur was required to be removed while his wife was not. Though he wanted her to stay behind, she accompanied her husband, first to the Pomona Assembly Center in California, and then to Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

Throughout the war years, Estelle drew, sketched, and painted what she saw, providing a valuable document of life in the American concentration camps. “Strange as it may sound, in this desolate, lonely place I felt accepted for the first time in my life,” she later wrote of her time at Heart Mountain. She and her husband remained at Heart Mountain in order to record the last days of the camp until it was officially closed. The Ishigos were given $25 and put on a train to the West Coast. “I felt as if I were part of a defeated Indian tribe,” she remembered later.

In 1990, filmmaker Steven Okazaki made a documentary of Estelle Ishigo’s life titled Days of Waiting. Estelle passed away before seeing the film, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Estelle Ishigo’s story and drawings comprise an important aspect of the permanent collection at the National Museum. The Estelle Ishigo Collection can be seen on the Museum’s website at:  janm.org/collections/estelle-ishigo-collection

Learn more about Estelle Ishigo on our Discover Nikkei website >>

Submitted by Margaret Zachow Wetherbee, Collections Manager

Shizu Saldamando Artist Talk & Workshop on August 24

CARM’S CREW (2009) Shizu Saldamando Gold leaf and oil on wood. Jo Willems and Karen O’Brien. Photograph by Michael Underwood. © Shizu Saldamando
CARM’S CREW (2009) by Shizu Saldamando
Gold leaf and oil on wood. Jo Willems and Karen O’Brien. Photograph by Michael Underwood. © Shizu Saldamando

 

Interested in an afternoon spent learning with a fantastic Los Angeles contemporary artist? Join us on Saturday, August 24, at 2:00pm (free with Museum admission) to see the world of Shizu Saldamando through her own eyes with an artist talk and portrait workshop. Shizu is known for her unique portraits that draw inspiration from her Asian and Mexican heritage.

During the talk, Shizu will discuss her series Stay Gold, currently hanging as part of the Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter exhibition on view at JANM through September 22, 2013. Her drawings and paintings begin as snapshots taken with a cheap point-and-shoot and are then stripped of context and redrawn. Through portraits of her often-unsuspecting friends—taken at parties and informal gatherings—Shizu gives the viewer an insider’s glimpse into a youthful world of freedom and shifting, malleable identity.

In addition to her contribution to Portraiture Now, Shizu has recently worked on Art Intersections: Asian-Latino Pop-Up Museum, hosted by the Smithsonian in downtown Silver Springs, MD. As a curator for the second day of the pop-up—working alongside Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot (another familiar face at JANM)—Shizu projected artwork representing the Asian-Latino connection onto public surfaces.

Learn more about Shizu in this KCET article and video.

Hong Zhang Gallery Talk

TWIN SPIRITS #1 (2002) Zhang Chun Hong Charcoal on paper. Diptych. Collection of the artist. © Hong Chun Zhang

Wondering about the meaning behind the scrolls of hair in Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter? Interested in learning more about art?

Chinese-born artist Hong Zhang will be leading a gallery talk about her work in Portraiture Now at 1pm on Sunday, July 28. Her soft, yet subtly detailed charcoal works represent themes such as familial bonds and life’s twists and turns.

Zhang received her BFA in Chinese painting from the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1994, before coming to America in 1996. She has an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and now resides in Lawrence, Kansas.

Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter displays the diversity of contemporary Asian American identity through the groundbreaking work of seven visual artists—CYJO, Zhang Chun Hong, Hye Yeon Nam, Shizu Saldamando, Roger Shimomura, Satomi Shirai, and Tam Tran. The exhibition will close September 22, 2013.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear an acclaimed artist discuss her work! The talk is free with Museum admission.

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural opens February 9th!

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters opens this Saturday!

The exhibition features the work of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters—artists who have explored some of these otherworldly concepts, illustrating how traditional ideas have evolved and been adapted over time.

The exhibition will be up from February 9 – March 17, 2013. That’s just 5 weeks to come check it out before it closes!

For more details, visit: janm.org/supernatural

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We are celebrating the opening with two FREE events!

TARGET FREE FAMILY SATURDAY
Art from the Heart
11AM – 4PM
FREE ALL DAY!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day and the opening of Supernatural exhibition! Show your love by making art for yourself and others. Participate in art workshops with Timothy Watters and Edwin Ushiro!

Check janm.org/target for schedule >> 

 

Supernatural Opening Party
6:30PM – 9PM
FREE!
Get mystical with JANM! Celebrate the opening of Supernatural with the artists and some spooky fun—wandering ghosts, a medium, and special treats!

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Learn more about the exhibition and the artists on our Discover Nikkei website. We’ll be adding an interview with Timothy Watters next week:

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Here are a few photos from the exhibition installation happening this week. Check our Facebook page for more photos: Supernatural photo album

 

Artist Edwin Ushiro prepares sketchbooks to display in the exhibition
Edwin Ushiro's sketchbooks
Paintings by Timothy Teruo Watters waiting to be hung
New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Healthy & Happy New Year from the Japanese American National Museum!

New Year's mochi by Hisako Hibi
"New Year's mochi" by Hisako Hibi. Hisako Hibi Collection (99.63.2)

 

This image is from JANM’s permanent collection. It’s a painting by artist Hisako Hibi and features a still-life of kagami mochi / okasane.

On the back is this inscription:

Hisako Hibi. Jan 1943 at Topaz. Japanese without mochi (pounded sweet rice) is no New Year! It was very sad oshogatsu (New Year). So, I painted okazari mochi in the internment camp.

Our cultural traditions bring our families & communities together, and has the power to give us comfort.