Michael Kenna: A 45 Year Odyssey 1973-2018

In the mood to get away, if only for a few minutes, and immerse yourself in beauty? This exhibition is a collection of stunningly gorgeous black and white photographs of landscapes from all over the world. Some shots are from world famous locales like Versailles or New York City. Others are so “simple” that the invoke minimalist paintings, such as photographs of snow scenes in Hokkaido. There are two special sections with photographs: Japanese nudes and haunting scenes from holocaust sites.

The Phillips Collection: A Modern Vision

In 1921 Duncan Phillips opened what is considered to be the first museum devoted in modern art in the United States. The Phillips Collection is located in Washington, DC and even those who have visited this museum will appreciate the works in this exhibition. The artworks are grouped by the decade they were acquired and this, together with the exhibition text, provides interesting insight into Duncan Phillips the art collector. His emphasis on collecting the most unique, rather than the most famous or representative, examples of an artist’s work provides the viewer with the opportunity to see some of the world’s most famous artists in new ways.

Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque

Thinking about Rubens usually invokes images of women who “embrace their curves” as we say in today’s vernacular. This exhibition offers another view of this master by focusing on his years in Italy, from 1600 to 1608. This time in Italy, the center of ancient, Renaissance and Baroque art, and his access to sculpture of the ancient world and masters such as Titian and Tintoretto, greatly influenced his art.

Catastrophe and the Power of Art

“What art can do in chaotic times where the future is uncertain.” Under the theme of catastrophe, such as the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, these artists use their talents to help us process these events through their personal vision and expression. The artwork concerns all types of tragedies, from personal experiences to large cataclysmic events. There are a wide variety of media - videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, illustrations, models, and more - used to both depict disasters both large and small and process these events through creativity in the aftermath.

Yoshimura Yoshio: Beyond Hyper-realism

Yoshimura Yoshio’s drawings depict everyday scenes, hyper realistic recreations of newspapers, self-portraits on actual newspapers, and renditions of flowers that are so realistic that they look like photographs at first glance. Over 60 works and 600 items make up the retrospective of this incredibly gifted artist and must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

Munch: A Retrospective

Edvard Munch’s The Scream is arguably one of the most famous works of art. This is your opportunity to admire it along with a wide variety of the artist’s work: self portraits, self photographs (early selfies), portraits, and landscapes. Other famous works, such as The Kiss and Madonna, are presented in multiple and in different media -- prints and oil paintings.

ArchitectureXPhotography: A Light Existing Only Here

This exhibition is an interesting exploration of the relationship between photography and architecture. Buildings have been the subject of photography from its inception, at first because they are static and later because of photography’s ability to document changes in urban environments. Taken mostly from the museum’s collection, the exhibition demonstrates the early history of architectural photography, then groups various types of architecture by photographer, including some famous sites from around the world.

Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s-1990s

The theme for this exhibition covers quite a bit of ground: societal change in eleven Asian countries as expressed through art. As stated in the exhibition text, this is not art for art’s sake but rather art for the masses, art as critique, art as documentation of change. There are several videos of varying lengths, photographs, sculptures, prints, drawings, paintings and documentation of a variety of performance art.

Georges Rouault L’Œuvre magnifié: L’Art sacré et la modernité

This exhibition showcases Rouault’s depictions of Christ and other religious scenarios with 80+ works, mostly very textured oil paintings and some prints, made from a variety of different print techniques. Seeing several portraits repeating the same characteristics (an elongated oval head with a long nose and large, almond shaped eyes) provide the viewer the opportunity to compare and contrast the paintings, which highlight the remaining variations in the artist’s unique style.

Making the Difference: Vermeer and Dutch Art

A unique opportunity to see nine (out of 35 surviving) original paintings by the Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer. Rather than sprinkling the Vermeer paintings throughout, the Vermeers are grouped together in one beautiful room at the end of the exhibition. The other paintings by 17th century Dutch artists such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, and Pieter de Hooch are shown in groups: portraits, Biblical scenes, still lifes, and daily life. These paintings serve as context and set the stage to even better admire Vermeer’s artistry and skill.

EXOTIC X MODERN: French Art Deco and inspiration from afar

This exhibition, through a collection of 85 objects, explores the influence of the exotic on the modern Art Deco movement in France. Prints (posters), sculptures, jewelry, clothing, photographs, paintings, and decorative objects are presented to demonstrate the influence of “exotic” foreign lands in Africa and Asia on Art Deco design. Highlights include lacquer pieces by Jean Dunand and sculptures by François Pompon.

Pierre Bonnard, The Never-Ending Summer

Pierre Bonnard was a member of the French artist group called the Nabis (from the Hebrew word navi, meaning prophet). He was also influenced by Japanese art, including ukiyo-e, so much so that he was called le Nabi très japonard. This retrospective of Bonnard’s paintings, prints and photographs are organized by Japanese influence, work in graphic arts, and photographs. His paintings move from emphasizing light and shadow to the influence of impressionism, a focus on intimacy and daily life, to landscapes from Normandy and southern France.

Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

Over 150 pieces from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide a retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Highlights include early portraits, cubism paintings (including Nude Descending a Staircase), readymades (including Bicycle Wheel and Fountain), a replica of The Large Glass, and photographs. The exhibition outlines the artist’s travels, his female persona (Rrose Sélavy), his passion for chess, his production of replicas of his work, and his final work Étant donnés. The exhibition ends with about 10 pieces of Japanese art, which are presented through the lens of Duchamp’s readymades and reproductions.

KAZAN - A Superb Imagination at Work

With over 100 pieces, many from outside Japan, this collection of work by Yokoyama Kazan is an unparalleled opportunity to see a survey of the work of a master. Kazan’s ability to adapt his style to fit the subject matter and his use of perspective make this exhibition especially interesting for the viewer. A 30 meter long scroll with beautifully intricate paintings of the Gion (Kyoto) festival in its entirety is so rare and detailed that scholars use Kazan’s work as an historical reference. Humorous depictions of people, landscapes, birds and flowers and daily life are rendered in sketches, ink drawings, and paintings on scrolls and screens.

Kazuki Umezawa x Taku Obata “Hyper Landscape”

This exhibition includes Kazuki Umezawa’s colorful paintings, video stills and printed images, which completely cover the gallery walls from the 2nd floor gallery to the 4th. The paintings, which include internet images that are pieced together in collage and adorned with brightly colored and glitter acrylic paint. His works continue on the third floor while Taku Obata’s large, wooden statues stand on the 2nd floor and his video plays on the 4th floor.

Challengers in Nihonga - Taikan, Shunsō, Kokei, and Gyoshū

This exhibition commemorates the 120th anniversary of the Japan Art Institute, which promotes nihonga, or Japanese painting. Made up of about 50 paintings from the museum’s collection, the exhibition is centered around the works of Yokoyama Taikan, Hishida Shunsō, Kobayashi Kokei, and Hayami Gyoshū, all members of the institute. Highlights includes all eight paintings from Scenes from the Legend of Kiyohime, by Kokei and Gyoshū’s Camellia Petals Scattering, an Important Cultural Property, on view from October 16 to November 11.

Admiration for Sengai

Sengai was a Zen priest known for his ink drawings. He lived to be 88 years old and completed most of his drawings after his retirement at age 60. He saw long life as a gift and desired to pass along guidance toward enlightenment. The drawings depict famous places from his travels, landscapes, animals and flowers. English speakers miss out as none of the writing/calligraphy on the drawings is translated into English.

Utagawa Hiroshige

This is the Ota’s second Hiroshige exhibition this year, which marks the 160th anniversary of his death. If you like Japanese woodblock prints, make sure to see this retrospective of Hiroshige’s work. Highlights include pieces from the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road, Famous Places, and Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji series. There are also prints of beautiful women (bijin-ga), animals and flowers.

Foujita: A Retrospective Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of his Death

This retrospective of the Japanese/French artist Léonard Tsuguhara Foujita encompasses over 120 works, assembled from all over the world, from all periods of the artist’s life. The exhibition highlights his particular style, both personal and artistic, which might be described as his brand today. The works include his portraits and self-portraits, “milky white” nudes, art from his travels, his war paintings, and concludes with the art inspired by his conversion to Catholicism. And cats are a theme throughout.

Monet’s Legacy

Most art lovers enjoy Monet and the Japanese are no exception. Monet’s Legacy is like three exhibitions in one: beautiful paintings by Monet and works in homage to or inspired by Monet by artists inside and outside of Japan. Almost all of the Monets are from museums in Japan, providing an opportunity to see these works in one place. Works by international artists include artist superstars such as Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning. The curators selected photographs, video and other types of artwork by Japanese artists to further demonstrate the influence of Monet.