Patrick Nagatani exhibition opens November 19

Growing up, I used to put together jigsaw puzzles together with my family. In some ways, working at the museum reminds me of that.

One of the things I enjoy most about working at the museum is getting to learn new stories. The diversity of these stories and the individuals and topics covered keeps my interest continually piqued whether it’s community history, individual stories, cultural traditions, or art. All of these diverse stories are like pieces of the puzzle that make up the Japanese American experience.

Now that Drawing the Line has opened, it’s time to add the next piece of the puzzle. Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani 1978-2008 opens at the museum on November 19th!

Image from "Japanese Children’s Day Carp Banners, Paguate Village, Jackpile Mine Uranium Tailings, Laguna Pueblo Reservation, New Mexico," 1990, Chromogenic print

Created by the University of New Mexico’s University Art Museum, the exhibition is the first comprehensive look at the many and varied projects artist Patrick Nagatani has worked on since 1978.

As I’ve learned more about Nagatani and his process for creating his pieces, I’ve become more interested in seeing them in person and am eagerly awaiting their arrival from New Mexico.

Learn more about the exhibition >>

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SAVE THE DATE!

Gallery Walk Through & Book Signing with Patrick Nagatani
Saturday, December 10 from 2-4pm

December 10th is one of our Target FREE Family Saturdays, so it’s a great day to visit with free crafts & workshops, plus free admission to check out all of our exhibitions!

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Stay tuned for more updates!

“Drawing the Line” exhibition opening soon!

Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles…the title says it all. But what can you really expect to see?

Here's a few quick shots taken on my phone. Just a few teasers from the in-progress installation of "Drawing the Line"

Paintings, sketches, photographs, video clips, historic documents, a trophy, a guitar, and a Corvette!

In-progress installation shot of Ben Sakoguchi paintings in "Drawing the Line"

Curious? Intrigued?

Then make plans to join us for the exhibition opening on Saturday, October 15 at 5:30pm. Some light refreshments, hear from curator Kris Kuramitsu, check out the exhibition, meet some of the artists, and take in a special performance by Nobuko Miyamoto with Benny Yee and Atomic Nancy!

In-progress installation shot of Qris Yamashita's works

Please RSVP to specialevents@janm.org by October 11th for the opening event.

For more information about the exhibition, check out the link below.

This is part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time project, so we hope to have a good turn-out for this event!

DRAWING THE LINE:
Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles
October 15, 2011 through February 19, 2012
janm.org/exhibits/drawingtheline

Thanks to Tom Schay, we'll have a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray in the exhibition. This iconic car and many others were designed by Larry Shinoda.
“Drawing the Line” banner is already outside!

 

“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.

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 >>

Labbits are up!

Sorry everyone for making you wait so long to see the Labbit collection in its entirety, but please believe me when I say I have been working round the clock to get the show up while also managing my regular job.

Anyway, I just took the last shot an hour ago (for the Labbit that arrived an hour before we set up) and got every piece online. Five pieces sold last night at the opening, but there are plenty of fantastic pieces left to choose from as you will see.

Thanks to all of the artists who participated in the show, and all of the people who came to the opening night. It all amounts to support for the Museum!

The last arrival was from artist Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani of New York. He gets special dispensation because he is 92 years old and wasn’t quite sure what to make of my request to be in a custom toy show. For those of you who are familiar with Jimmy’s story through the DVD “The Cats of Mirikitani“, you may notice a slight resemblance to the artist in this piece. If you haven’t seen the DVD, you can buy one in the Museum Store when you come to admire the Labbit show in person.

Check out all the Labbits online >>

Art in the Streets!

 

One of our neighbors here in Little Tokyo is the The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. They have a wonderful exhibition going on right now Art in the Streets, which is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art. It was amazing. Here are some pics we took while in their galleries!

If you’re in LA between now and August 8, make a day of it and check out Art in the Streets, then stop by JANM, and then grab a bite in Little Tokyo!

Gettin’ arty at Target Free Family Day THIS SATURDAY!

Saturday (June 11th) is Target Free Family Saturday from 11 am – 4 pm! This month we join our neighbors at MOCA in celebrating Street Art.  We have a full schedule of painting demonstrations, sketching workshops, and art making activities. Our friends from the Mixed Roots Festival will be taking part in the fun with some art making too.

I always have so much fun thinking about art activities for Family Day but, sometimes, something seems like a good idea at first but it needs to be tested and tweaked before putting it into action at Family Day.  Yesterday I tried things out and made a few samples of our poster making and sticker printing activities for Saturday. Fortunately, everything worked out pretty well so, come on over!  We’re ready! I can’t wait to see what the creative minds of our Family Day visitors will come up with.  Hope you’ll join us!