Japan Society Announces New Gallery Director

New York, NY — Japan Society has announced Dr. Miwako Tezuka will take over directorship of Japan Society’s Gallery from Joe Earle, who retires effective September 30. A Columbia University alumna and NYC-based curator specializing in contemporary Japanese art, Tezuka will be the first Japanese director of Japan Society Gallery. Her tenure begins July 2, 2012.


“I am honored to join Japan Society and to work with its dedicated staff to create exciting exhibitions and related programming that stir the imaginations of the New York audience and people the world over,” said Tezuka, upon the announcement. “The uniqueness of Japan Society as a multidisciplinary organization allows us to develop projects that fully present the dynamic energy, diversity, and complexity embodied within Japanese arts and culture.”


One of Tezuka’s most recent curatorial contributions to New York City was Asia Society’s Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool in fall 2010. The major solo exhibition of Japanese Neo Pop artist Yoshitomo Nara achieved great popular and critical success, and received numerous rave reviews including one from The New York Times, which called the exhibition “a game-changer.”


“Miwako is a well-regarded curator, who has an intimate knowledge of the New York art scene and a broad perspective of Japanese art in the global sphere,” said Motoatsu Sakurai, President, Japan Society. “We look forward to the vision she will bring to the gallery. Her track record of expanding the dialogue between traditional and contemporary art will amplify Japan Society’s status as one of America’s premier institutions for exhibitions of Japanese art.”


In recent years Japan Society Gallery has seen record attendance and international recognition. KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Manga + Video Games (spring 2009) was the second-best attended show ever at Japan Society Gallery, and Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters (spring 2010) was the best-attended pre-contemporary show of all time. In 2011 Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art was voted 2011 “Best Show in a Non-Profit Gallery or Space” by the United States Section of the International Association of Art Critics.


Japan Society’s current exhibition is the critically acclaimed Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 (closing June 10), America’s first survey of Japanese art deco, organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia, and touring the U.S. 2012-13. Joe Earle’s final exhibition as director will be Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828), opening on September 29, 2012.


Dr. Miwako Tezuka is an internationally recognized curator and expert in modern and contemporary Japanese art who has contributed greatly to the field through her scholarly and curatorial work. Prior to her appointment at Japan Society, Tezuka was Associate Curator at Asia Society in New York, where she was responsible for creating cutting-edge exhibitions of contemporary Asian and Asia American artists. In 2006, she cocurated Projected Realities: Video Art from East Asia, the first exhibition at Asia Society that thoroughly focused on video art. In the following year, Asia Society launched its video art collection, for which Tezuka played a key role in selection and management. From 2007 she oversaw “In Focus,” a series of solo exhibitions, through which she realized the first solo exhibitions at the New York museum of such significant contemporary artists as Yuken Teruya from Okinawa, Suda Yoshihiro from Tokyo, and U-Ram Choe from Seoul. In addition to Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool, her significant curatorial contributions at Asia Society included Yang Fudong: Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest (2009) and Mariko Mori: Kumano (2010).


Tezuka’s curatorial, scholarly, and advisory work, has received significant attention from luminaries in the field and major media, and she has been invited to advise and lecture at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  She received her PhD from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University in 2005 with the dissertation titled Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop): Avant-Garde Experiments in Japanese Art of the 1950s. In 2003, to connect scholars and art professionals who share the interest in contemporary Japanese art, Tezuka cofounded the global online network PoNJA-GenKon (Post-1945 Japanese Art Discussion Group/Gendai Bijutsu Kondankai).


Tezuka has published numerous articles and essays in various languages. Her recent publications include: “Experiment and Tradition: An Avant-Garde Play Pierrot Lunaire by Jikken Kōbō and Takechi Tetsuji” in Art Journal (Spring 2012); “Between Ethos and Logos: Sarah Sze’s Shifting Perspectives” in Sarah Sze: Infinite Line (New York: Asia Society, 2011); “Music on My Mind: The Art and Phenomenon of Yoshitomo Nara” in Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool (New York: Abrams, 2010); “Kori Yumi, Antenna, Kengo Kito: essay and interviews” in Tokyo Visualist (Tokyo: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2009); “Imagine Again and Again: Copies of a Portrait of Minamoto no Yoritomo by Yamaguchi Akira” in Impressions (March 2009); “Yuken Teruya: What Comes Around Goes Around” in Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York (New York: Japan Society, 2007); and “Synergy: Shuzo Takiguchi and Experimental Workshop—A Continuing Lineage of Creation” in Drifting Objects of Dreams: The Collection of Shuzo Takiguchi (Tokyo: Setagaya Art Museum, 2005).




Extending in scope from prehistory to the present, Japan Society Gallery exhibitions since 1971 have covered topics as diverse as classical Buddhist sculpture and calligraphy, contemporary photography and ceramics, samurai swords, export porcelain, and masterpieces of painting from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. Each exhibition, with its related catalogue and public programs, is a unique cultural event that illuminates familiar and unfamiliar fields of art.


Japan Society is an American nonprofit committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language, and education. For more information, visit or call 212-832-1155.


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