Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York

ON megumi Akiyoshi, ON gallery at The Statue of Liberty, 2002.
Performance by artist in costume exhibiting a group show.
Photo: Oliver Irwin

Japan has been a constant presence in New York since 1860, when Walt Whitman witnessed a samurai delegation riding down Broadway. Not long after the first political and commercial visits, awareness of Japanese art began to trickle into Gotham, slowly at first but later building into a thriving network of creative exchange. Making a Home both celebrates the dynamism of artists who have moved here from Japan in recent decades and expands our understanding of Japanese contemporary art. The exhibition shows how a thriving artistic diaspora has developed and contributed to global trends while reaping the benefits of working within the global framework that New York provides.

The 33 selected artists, all Japanese-born, are extremely diverse, but the exhibition’s six sections are linked by ideas we associate with “home,” ranging from comfort and safety found in physical structures to angst and loneliness experienced when living in solitude. All of the Making a Home artists are true citizens of the world who have ventured beyond their homeland to enjoy the advantages of being an artist in New York, as well as experience the uncertainty that comes with starting afresh. They have dedicated their lives and careers to creating beautiful and thought-provoking works in the very midst of our city. For them, making a home and making art are one and the same.

—Eric C. Shiner


ON megumi Akiyoshi, Noriko Ambe, Ei Arakawa, Satoru Eguchi, Ayakoh Furukawa, Toru Hayashi, Noritoshi Hirakawa, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, Takahiro Kaneyama, Emiko Kasahara, Misaki Kawai, Miwa Koizumi, Yumi Kori, Nobuho Nagasawa, Hiroyuki Nakamura, Yoko Ono, Hiroki Otsuka, Katsuhiro Saiki, Kyoko Sera, Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, Go Sugimoto, Kunie Sugiura, Hiroshi Sunairi, Mayumi Terada, Yuken Teruya, Yasunao Tone, Momoyo Torimitsu, Aya Uekawa, United Bamboo, Junko Yoda, Toshihisa Yoda, Yoichiro Yoda

About the Curator

Eric C. Shiner is an independent curator and art historian specializing in Japanese contemporary art. He holds two master’s degrees in art history, from Yale University and from Osaka University where he studied as a Ministry of Education fellow under the auspices of the Japanese government. His scholarly focus is on the concept of bodily transformation in postwar Japanese photography, painting, and performance art. He was an assistant curator of Yokohama Triennale 2001. His curated exhibitions include Chameleon Dreams: Trans/Forming Identity in Contemporary Japanese Photography (Julia Friedman Gallery, Chicago, 2002), Surface to Air (Ise Cultural Foundation Gallery, New York, 2004), Triple X: Extended, Exploded, Extracted—Naoto Nakagawa, 1965–1975 (White Box, New York, 2007), and Bingyi: Dawns Here Are Quiet (Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, 2007). Shiner will co-curate Simulasian at the Inaugural Asian Contemporary Art Fair, New York (November 2007). He has also worked with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. He is an active writer and translator, and is a contributing editor for ArtAsiaPacific. His most recent article, “The Changing Face of Japanese Contemporary Art,” will appear in a forthcoming two-volume anthology on Japanese modern and contemporary art edited by Thomas J. Rimer and published by University of Hawai’i Press. He is Adjunct Professor of Art History at Pace University, New York.

This exhibition was sponsored, in part, by

Additional support was provided by The Japan Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, Tug Studio, Jack and Susy Wadsworth, Chris Wachenheim, and the Leadership Committee for Making a Home.

As part of the Millennium on View program, Millennium UN Plaza is the preferred hotel partner of Japan Society’s Centennial.

Exhibitions at Japan Society are also made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and the Friends of the Gallery. Installations at Japan Society Gallery are supported by a generous gift from Henry Cornell.


Topics:  Art

Calendar of Events

September 2020

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