Two Gorgeous Postwar to Present Day Japanese Photography Exhibits On View at SFMOMA

Now through early next year, the newly expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) highlights Japanese photography in two exhibitions: Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now and New Work: Sohei Nishino. These exhibits celebrate the museum’s commitment to the profoundly important work made by Japanese photographers from the time of postwar renewal in the 1950’s to present day.

Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now, available for viewing through March 12, 2017, highlights SFMOMA’s considerable collection of Japanese photography, focusing on gifts and promised gifts to the museum through the Campaign for Art, notably the important donation of over 400 works from the Kurenboh Collection, Tokyo. Featuring nearly 200 works from the museum’s collection, Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now will be on view in the new Pritzker Center for Photography.

Organized thematically, the show explores topics such as Japan’s relationship with America, changes in the cities and countryside and the emergence of women—especially Miyako Ishiuchi, Rinko Kawauchi and Lieko Shiga—as significant contributors to contemporary Japanese photography. The exhibition will also include various forms of photography from daguerreotypes to chromogenic prints to photomontage, as well as more than 20 important photography books.

Sohei Nishino, Diorama Map London, 2010; courtesy the artist and Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

Sohei Nishino, Diorama Map London, 2010; courtesy the artist and Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

New Work: Sohei Nishino will be on display until February 26, 2017. The gallery is located on the museum’s fourth floor and features recent works from Diorama Maps, including a new map of San Francisco made especially for the exhibition.

Sohei Nishino began his Diorama Maps series as a university student at Osaka University of Arts. After researching his chosen city, Nishino spent up to two months walking and photographing the urban environment, capturing thousands of images of streets, alleys, corners and vistas from every imaginable angle. He then prints his contact sheets, cuts out the individual frames and affixes them by hand onto board. Through this process, Nishino creates a large-scale, collaged map that expresses a truly personal interpretation of the featured location. Once the collages are complete, Nishino digitally photographs and presents them as high resolution, large-scale prints, often as large as 6 x 7 feet.

Tickets to the SFMOMA are free for children under 18 years old, $19 for those ages 19-24, $22 for seniors, and $25 for adults. SFMOMA has been collecting and exhibiting photography since its founding in 1935 and was one of the first American art museums to do so. Today the photography collection includes more than 17,000 objects, and is the largest collection at the museum. Its strengths include outstanding examples of work by West Coast modernist masters like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and their counterparts on the East Coast such as Alfred Stieglitz and Charles Sheeler.

Written by Carlos Olin Montalvo

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