Columbia Museum of Art
1515 Main St.
Columbia, South Carolina
Japan and the Jazz Age
The Columbia Museum of Art announces a new exhibition showcasing the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated design of Japanese Art Deco, a popular design style of the early 20th century characterized by bold lines and simple shapes. Japan and the Jazz Age opens on February 7, 2014, and remains on view through April 20, 2014. It is the first exhibition of its kind in the United States, exploring the artists' ingenuity and love of the materials. This exciting show features nearly 130 dramatic examples of Art Deco in a wide variety of objects including sculpture, photography, ceramics, lacquer, glass, wood furniture, jewelry, textiles, graphic design, painting and woodblock prints.
Japan and the Jazz Age features a dynamic range of material, allowing visitors to discover this rich period in world history and visual culture. This exhibition recreates the energy and excitement of the Art Deco age in Japan between the two world wars-from the 1920s to 1940s. The artists celebrated in this exhibition transformed the traditional motifs in Japanese art to reflect their more cosmopolitan lifestyle while capturing the rapidly changing and modernizing Japanese culture during the Jazz age, including flappers and music halls.
"Most people know about the Jazz Age in New York and Paris, but not in Japan," says CMA curator Victoria Cooke. "This exhibition gives you a glimpse at a moment in history when Japanese culture was influenced by the Western love of improvisational music, joyous dancing, fast trains, and city skylines with sleek skyscrapers."
This beautiful and historically fascinating exhibition tells the story of how the traditional transformed into the modern. With extraordinary skill and creativity, Japanese artists married the urbane decorative styles emerging in Europe with revered forms of the past: geisha became 1920s flappers; ancient origami cranes turned into sleek, gold statuettes; kimono morphed into emblems of fashion chic. Art Deco injected new style into everything from traditional woodblock prints and textiles to sculpture. The contradictions of this epic era in world history of the 1920s and 1930s, and the astonishing innovation that can result from a clash between the old and the new are evident in Japan and the Jazz Age.
"We are so pleased to bring this unique exhibition of beautiful art deco from a fascinating period in Japanese history to our visitors," says CMA director Karen Brosius. "These pieces bring to life an exciting time of growth, innovation, and transition that we do not always think about occurring simultaneously in Japan and the West. Our visitors will find an interest in some aspect of the diversity and range of the collection on display-be it music, fashion, animals, or other-there is truly something for everyone to delight in here."
The exhibition is drawn from The Levenson Collection-one of the world's premier collections of Japanese art in the Art Deco style-and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia under the title DECO JAPAN: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945.
A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue, DECO JAPAN: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920-1945, will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.
Sponsored by Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina, P.A., Sylvan's Jewelry and Mikimoto, Dr. and Mrs. John Mark Dean, Jerry Dell and Ben Gimarc, and The Smith Family Foundation. Support has been provided by The Chisholm Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
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