Wednesday, January 25 through Wednesday, February 1 from noon until 6:00 p.m. (from noon until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 28 and Wednesday, February 1)
Closed on Friday, January 27
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 25 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Tenri Cultural Institute – 43A W. 13th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Motoichi Adachi, an Emmy Award-winning writer in Tokyo, and Kyoko Sato, a New York-based curator known for her introduction of Japanese culture into New York’s contemporary art scene, have come together to launch a new art exhibition series. The series will bring Japan-based artists, regardless of genre or background, to the world’s cutting-edge art scene alongside—and in conversation with—leading international and New York-based artists, effectively interacting with and inspiring each other. The exhibition takes place in the gallery at Tenri Cultural Institute.
I cut through the art world with the sensibility that has long been active in the world of Japanese television. We want to bring a new wind of free and unrestrained ideas to a world that values old traditions. Beautiful works are beautiful and interesting works are interesting, even if they are not from famous art universities or patronized by influential galleries. We want to let attractive artists run amok in the world. I would like to try an unconventional challenge this time.”
— Motoichi Adachi
About the Exhibition
Ultimate Beauty features works by artists Takuya Sugiyama, Yuji Hamamura, Erika Harrsch, Eva Petric, and Johan Wahlstrom. The exhibition explores the impact underrepresented artists have and questions how “good” art is evaluated.
Through Ultimate Beauty, Adachi and Sato are prioritizing artists who challenge the cultural norm and seek to define and redefine beauty. When an artist chooses a direction, is it in search of beauty? Is it in hopes of leading the rest of us to a more hopeful future? Is that where the value lies? Throughout this exhibition, the curators will pose these questions and more.
. . . Composer and music theorist John Cage said, ‘The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.’ In my work as a curator, I’m not looking for the fame or prestige of the artists, but the way their work makes me feel. To put it simply, beauty comes down to whether or not it stirs my soul: It must evoke emotion. For the first exhibition of the series, I have chosen a simple and fundamental theme: ultimate beauty. How can we decide what beauty is, and what does it have to do with art, why it’s made, and the value we assign it?”
— Kyoko Sato
About the Participating Artists
Born in the Kanagawa Prefecture in 1987, Takuya Sugiyama is an artist and composer based in Tokyo, Japan. While exhibiting fine art in Tokyo, Paris, London, and New York, he provided illustrations for the relay essay “Reciprocal Letter” by Yoshikazu Okada and Jinsei Tsuji and the design for the film Nunuko no Seisen. He has collaborated with numerous fashion brands such as TAAKK, Mother’s Industry, and Under Armour and provided music for rappers Yunyudo and GOMESS. He graduated from Tama Art University in 2011 with a degree in Environmental Design.
Born in the Chiba Prefecture in 1971, Yuji Hamamura currently resides in the Nagasaki Prefecture. In 2018, at the age of 47, he began creating self-taught resin-based art with themes of the sea. As soon as he started making art, he won an award in a public competition the following year, and in 2020, his work was was featured at Kaiyukan, one of the largest aquariums in the world. In 2022, he participated in the 29th International Peace Art Exhibition; art fairs in Dubai, Paris, and Taiwan; exhibited work at the National Art Museum of Singapore; and had his first solo exhibition at SOZO, a hair salon with gallery space in Omotesando, Tokyo.
Erika Harrsch is a Mexican artist based in New York. Her works range from installation, painting, video, photography, and performance. She has exhibited worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Massachusetts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Querétaro, Mexico; Gothenburg Art Museum, Sweden; Museum of Photography, Belgium; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea.
Born 1983 in Slovenia, Eva Petric is a multimedia artist based in New York and Vienna. She creates a wide variety of works including installation, photography, video, performance, and music. She has had more than 75 solo exhibitions around the world, participated three times in the Beijing International Art Biennale, was nominated twice for the Venice Biennale, and was invited to the Cairo Biennale in 2019. Her work with lace has been exhibited at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, the United Nations, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She is currently participating in the Moon Gallery on the International Space Station, a project that takes art to the moon.
Born in Sweden in 1959, Johan Wahlstrom is based in New Jersey. Exhibiting in Europe and the United States since 1998, he has participated in group shows with Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and David Salle. He has had four solo exhibitions at the George Bergès Gallery in SoHo, New York. Before becoming a visual artist, he toured as a rock musician with Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, and Mick Ronson.
About the Curators
Motoichi Adachi is a leading broadcast writer in the Japanese television industry. He worked on mega hit TV shows such as SMAPxSMAP and Odoru! Sanma Goten! In 2008, he won the 35th International Emmy Award for Takeshi Kitano presents Comaneci University Mathematics, a program he created. Other awards include the 42nd Galaxy Award Grand Prize and the United Nations Peace Film Festival 2007 Special Award.
Kyoko Sato is a curator based in New York. She collaborated with the Asahi Shimbun to realize the Ancient Egyptian Queens and Goddesses: Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and Kobe City Museum). She founded the Asian Programming at WhiteBox, a New York art space known for its avant-garde exhibitions, and served as its director from 2018 to 2021, curating the historic exhibition A Colossal Word: Japanese Artists and New York, 1950s-Present (2018), presenting works of from masters such as Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, Shigeko Kubota, and Takashi Murakami as well as younger expats such as Tomokazu Matsuyama.