Japan Society Photography Exhibition Commemorates 3.11


Japan Society, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, NYC, Japan, 3.11, 3/11, photography, exhibition, In the Wake, Japan earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster

In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11

Friday, March 11 through Sunday, June 12

Japan Society – 332 E. 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

Admission: $12/$10 seniors and students/Free Japan Society members and children under 16

In an exhibition originally organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Japan Society presents In the Wake, a photography exhibition that commemorates the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011, in Northeastern Japan.

The catastrophe has been met with an overwhelming reaction in the arts, marking a profound shift in the contemporary Japanese cultural landscape.

Opening five years to the day since 3/11, Japan Society’s presentation of In the Wake reveals a stunning range of photographic responses to the disaster and the artistic paths that lie ahead as Japan continues to rebuild. Experience the power of art to transcend unspeakable tragedy with works by some of Japan’s leading visionaries, including Nobuyoshi Araki, Naoya Hatakeyama, Keizō Kitajima, Lieko Shiga, and Tomoko Yoneda.

On view through June 12, the exhibition is the centerpiece of an institution-wide observance of what was the first natural disaster in Japan caught in its entirety by cameras. Public programs, films, performances and special events will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition at Japan Society to commemorate the anniversary and examine issues surrounding post-3/11 recovery and reconstruction.

In the Wake features more than 90 photographs, videos, and installations created by 17 artists who contemplate what has been lost and what remains in the aftermath of a national tragedy that took some 18,000 lives and displaced another 400,000 individuals.

A special highlight of Japan Society’s presentation is a room-sized installation entitled Lost & Found, one artist’s painstaking project to collect hundreds of thousands of lost family photos from the region and restore, digitize and in some cases even return the photos to those who lost them.

In the Wake invites us to accept a challenge: that is, to enter into the reality of devastation through the power of art,” Yukie Kamiya, Gallery Director at Japan Society. “These are works of art with universal resonance that speak to human resilience. News of the earthquake and tsunami swept through Japan Society offices five years ago, immediately prompting the organization to jumpstart an international effort that has now grown to over $14 million and 66 grants supporting relief and recovery. This exhibition extends that effort and Japan Society’s mission of more than a century to connect Japan to American and the rest of the world.”

The exhibition will trace the presence of the sublime in photographs, ranging from more documentary-style pictures to those created by way of more experimental approaches. It will expand upon MFA Boston’s critically praised installation from two sections – focusing on the earthquake and tsunami, and the Fukushima disaster, respectively – to trace the range of photographers’ responses to 3/11, from documentary-style pictures, to experimental techniques and metaphorical approaches, to a final section on Tohoku in myth and memory.

SYMPOSIUM: New Directions in Japanese Art and Architecture after 3/11

Friday, March 11 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $35/$25 Japan Society members, seniors, and students (includes admission to the exhibition)

While the human loss and material devastation caused by the triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis remain urgent issues five years on, the “New Directions” symposium focuses on innovations in art and architecture that have arisen in the aftermath of the disaster, and considers the ongoing efforts at rebuilding from new perspectives. Leading artists, practitioners and scholars discuss the emergence of local community as a determining factor of creative expression, and its potential as a model for art and architecture globally. Participants include architectural historian and ArchiAid co-founder Prof. Taro Igarashi (Tohoku University), exhibition artists Lieko Shiga and Tomoko Yoneda, and In the Wake co-curator Anne Nishimura Morse (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). 

For more information, please visit Japan Society’s website.