Gallery

Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics
Spring Exhibition

MARCH 6—JUNE 14, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure the safety of all in our community, this exhibition and Japan Society building have been temporarily closed to the public. Please visit our COVID-19 page for information on ticket refunds and donations, and stay connected with us on social media to learn more about our virtual program initiatives.

Boro (“rags” or “tatters”) are patchwork textiles hand-pieced by peasants in Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The inability to cultivate cotton in the northern climate of Tohoku necessitated the practice of stitching remnants of used fabric into utilitarian items, including blankets, coats and mittens. These hard-used garments – reworked over generations – express essential principles of Japanese ethics and aesthetics, such as an appreciation for distinguished imperfections and the avoidance of waste.

For the first time in the U.S., this exhibition assembles over 50 archival pieces from the personal collection of folklorist and cultural anthropologist Chuzaburo Tanaka (1933–2013) presented alongside new portraits by editor-photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, designs by pioneers of Japanese avant-garde fashion Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, and textile-based works by Susan Cianciolo and Christina Kim – part of a generation of contemporary artists influenced by the aesthetics and ethics of mending, patchwork, and re-use. The installation, designed by New York architecture firm SO–IL, rediscovers this traditional handicraft, its history of survival and ingenuity, and its continued legacy within creative practices today.

While our doors are closed, please enjoy a Virtual Video Tour of Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics, narrated by Director Yukie Kamiya and Assistant Curator Tiffany Lambert of Japan Society Gallery:





Exhibition Preview




Selected Works


Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics is supported, in part, by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission as part of the institution-wide Passing the Torch series.

 
 

Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor and American Airlines, the exclusive U.S. airline sponsor of Gallery.


Exhibitions and Arts & Culture Lecture Programs at Japan Society are made possible, in part, by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund, the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund established by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation, Raphael and Jane Bernstein, Friends of the Gallery, and an anonymous donor. Support for Arts & Culture Lecture Programs is provided, in part, by the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

Image: © AMUSE INC. Courtesy of Amuse Museum/Chuzaburo Tanaka Collection.

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