Exhibition Archive

Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor
October 12, 2014 – January 4, 2015

The striking duality of deadly weaponry forged with artistic beauty is on full display in Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor. With 63 works by master craftsmen from the 13th to 20th centuries, the exhibition features five full sets of armor, masks, helmets, and warrior hats. Remarkable weapons include long and short swords, daggers, and examples of early Japanese rifles. The exhibition also showcases a pair of 17th-century folding screens by a Kano school artist depicting battle scenes from the famous Tale of the Heike, one of the greatest warrior epics in Japanese literature that marks the dawn of samurai honor, valor, and fortitude.

Lethal Beauty was curated by Dr. Andreas Marks, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Collection of the Clark Center, and tour organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

 
1. Helmet in the form of a bear’s head, Momoyama period, late 16th century. Iron, lacquer, and silk. Courtesy of Private Collection. Photography by Forrest Cavale and ZacForrest Cavale and Zach Niles of ThirdElementStudios.com
 

Ushio Shinohara
October 12, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Legendary Japanese artist Ushio Shinohara added drama and action to the opening of Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor with a special performance in the garden on October 11 at 5 pm. At once a rumination on the creative process – in all its mental and physical dimensions – and a playful send-up of “action painting” a la Jackson Pollock, Shinohara’s performance operates on multiple levels, playing off themes of humor, endurance, and history. This "boxing-painting" is only the fourth Shinohara has ever created in the United States. Shinohara, whose work has traversed many styles and mediums, is a towering figure who has participated in some of the most significant moments of postwar art, passing through phases of Pop, performance, and Neo-Dada.

 

Antique Kimono from the Alexander Collection
October 12, 2014 – January 4, 2015

In addition to highlights of the Samurai epoch, an exhibition-within-the-exhibition focuses on exquisite kimono from the Alexander Murray Collection. Equal in splendor to the decidedly masculine samurai garments, kimono and the world of women’s fashion are elegantly portrayed in pieces ranging from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. The ultimate in couture, each garment was exclusively designed, hand-dyed, painted, stitched, and embroidered to create a one-of-a-kind object.

 
Furisode, Edo period, approximately 1820 – 1840. Silk damask with embroidery, appliqué, and couching. Courtesy of the Alexander Collection
 

Suki Meets Three Samurai Cats
October 12, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Jump into a world where a lovely, little kimono can charm a roomful of children and silly, samurai cats can battle a big, fat rat. The original illustrations for two charming picture books highlight familiar Japanese traditions in the Learning Center this fall. Stéphane Jorish’s gentle watercolors for Suki’s Kimono have garnered crictical acclaim. And the anime-inspired drawings by Mordicai Gerstein energize the story told in Three Samurai Cats.

 
Stéphane Jorish, from Suki’s Kimono, by Chieri Uegaki [Kids Can Press, Toronto, 2003]. Watercolor on paper. © Stéphane Jorish, 2003. Mordicai Gerstein, from Three Samurai Cats: A Story from Japan, retold by Eric A. Kimmel [Holiday House, New York, 2003]. Pen and ink with oil paint on heavy vellum paper. © Mordicai Gerstein, 2003.
 

Icelandic Tales Illustrated by Gunnella

In the Learning Center
June 29 – September 28, 2014

Vibrant illustrations and hilarious stories delight visitors young and old in the Learning Center. Icelandic artist Gunnella presents buxom ladies and beguiling animals, who frolic through an Icelandic homeland filled with strong winds, steep cliffs, and unique challenges. These lighthearted tales are painted in a bold folk-art style that is full of fun and silliness.

Image Credit
Gunnella, “Everything the ladies did, the chickens did too,” from The Problem with Chickens, by Bruce McMillan [Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2005]. Oil on canvas. © Gunnella, 2005.

 

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