Faculty Scholarship Talk by Erin Schoneveld - "Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism"

Monday, November 18, 2019
4:15 PM - 6:00 PM (ET)
LUT LUT 200 Instruction and Events
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Hochberg, Rachel A

Join us for a reception at 4:15pm and talk at 4:30pm by Erin Schoneveld on her recent book, Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism: Art Magazines, Artistic Collectives, and the Early Avant-garde.

From its inception in April 1910 until its dissolution in the aftermath of the disastrous Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, the art magazine Shirakaba (White Birch, 1910–1923) released 160 issues featuring articles on Japanese and Western art practices, theory, and criticism. Shirakaba was one of the first Japanese art magazines to reproduce the works of Rodin, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse. Shirakaba was also valuable in disseminating the writings of European artists and intellectuals, issuing translations of Gauguin’s Tahitian travelogue Noa, Noa; Matisse’s Notes d’un peintre; C. Lewis Hind’s The Post-Impressionists; and Van Gogh’s Lettres. This talk will examine the fluid relationship that existed between different types of modern visual media, exhibition formats, and artistic practices during early 20th century Japan by exploring the vital role of the art magazine as a medium that aspired to cultivate new audiences and foster the exchange of ideas. Within this context, Schoneveld argues that Shirakaba held a seminal position in the broader conversation of modernism on the international stage by opening up an oppositional space in which to address diverse views about modern art, literature, theory, and identity. In doing so Shirakaba became a crucial inflection point for the development of Japan’s early avant-garde by demonstrating that, contrary to the received narrative that posits Japanese modernism as merely derivative, the debate around modernism among Japan’s avant-garde was lively, contested, and self-reflexive.

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