East Asian Languages and Cultures | Topics in East Asian Studies: Modern Visual Culture of Japan
E505 | 9684 | O'Bryan, S


This section for graduates only; meets with E350 for undergraduates on
same topic.
This course examines the Japanese history of modern and contemporary
visual art (emphasis on the 2-dimensional arts of painting,
photography, and print-making). Early in the course, we will pay
particular attention to the modes in which so-called “Western
painting,” by which was largely meant “oil painting,” became also part
of Japanese art history. The course will go on to study the variety of
twentieth-century artistic modernisms and the use of realist heroic
painting styles to rally nationalist spirit in the causes of war and
empire building.

Unlike many art history courses, we will give strong weight to the
post-WWII period, looking at the boom in innovative Japanese
photography during the 1950s and 1960s, at very early postwar
avant-garde movements, at the postwar rise of the “creative woodblock
print” movement, and at such women Japanese artists as Yoko Ono and
Kusama Yayoi, who immigrated to the United States and had great
influence on the art scene in New York City during the 1960s,
interacting with seminal figures like Andy Warhol and others. The
course ends with a look at important contemporary painting
developments in the 1990s and 2000s in Japan, including the famous
Superflat “movement,” which is shaped by manga and anime styles and
simultaneously obsessed with “cuteness,” violence and sex.