For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979

October 9, 2015–January 10, 2016

In the wake of the social and political upheaval of the late 1960s, Japanese artists and photographers began crafting a new visual language for an age of uncertainty. Their embrace of camera-based experiments would alter the cultural landscape and lay the foundations for contemporary art in Japan. For a New World to Come is the first comprehensive exhibition to spotlight this radical break with the past. With some 200 works by such luminaries as Ishiuchi Miyako, Daidō Moriyama, Jirō Takamatsu, and Shōmei Tōmatsu, the exhibition charts the stunning diversity of photographic practices during this pivotal era, from conceptual series situated squarely within global artistic currents, to visually arresting meditations on time, place, and self.

For a New World to Come was organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). It is co-presented in New York City with the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, where a portion of the show is on view from Sept. 11 to Dec. 5, 2015.

$12; students & seniors $10, Japan Society members & children under 16 free. Admission is free to all on Friday nights, 6–9 PM.

Gallery hours:

Tuesday–Thursday, 11 AM–6 PM; Friday, 11 AM–9 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM–5 PM. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Docent-led tours:
Starting Friday, October 9, through Sunday, January 10, 2016, docent-led walk-in tours will be conducted Tuesday–Sunday at 2:30 PM and Fridays at 2:30 and 7 PM. Japanese language tours will be conducted Friday nights at 6 PM. Tours are free with admission and are approximately one hour in duration.

Exhibition-Related Programs

Audio Tour

Japan Society Curator of Exhibition Interpretation Michael Chagnon, Ph.D., takes listeners on a guided tour of For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979. Using highlights from each section, this audio tour provides more context for the works on display. Click here to start.

Gallery Talk Series

Select Fridays at 7 PM & Sundays at 3 PM, through Jan. 10

Start and end your weekend at Japan Society Gallery with these energetic, 15-minute conversations with leading curators, writers, artists, and specialists of Japanese art and photography. Drop by to hear their unique perspectives on select highlights in the exhibition. Free with admission to the exhibition. Groups are limited to 30, first-come, first-served basis.

Sun., Nov. 8 at 3 PM: photo critic Vicki Goldberg
Sun., Nov. 15 at 3 PM: artist and writer Taro Masushio
Fri., Nov. 20 at 7 PM: photographer and professor Joel Lederer
Sun., Nov. 22 at 3 PM: professor Jonathan Reynolds (Barnard College, Columbia University)
Fri., Dec. 4 at 7 PM: scholar and curator Miwako Tezuka
Fri., Dec. 11 at 7 PM: photobook collectors Russet Lederman and Jeff Gutterman

Nobuo Yamanaka (1948-1982), Manhattan in Pinhole 1, 1980. Chromogenic print, 8 1/16 x 10 in. National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. © Nobuo Yamanaka.


Included Works


This exhibition is generously supported by Chris A. Wachenheim, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Nikon Inc., the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Howard and Cindy Rachofsky, and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation.


Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines.

Exhibitions at Japan Society are made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund, and Friends of the Gallery.
Arts & Culture Lecture Programs are made possible by funding from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.
Additional support is provided by Chris A. Wachenheim, and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

Image: Toshio Matsumoto (b. 1932), For the Damaged Right Eye (detail), 1968. Triple 16mm film (transferred to DVD), color, 12 min. 9 sec. Toshio Matsumoto. © Toshio Matsumoto / Photo: PJMIA

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