Fram Kitagawa talks about “Art in the Age of the Global Environment”. Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7pm. Kitagawa is eminently qualified to speak on the subject since he is director of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, an event connecting artists and art organizations to the land with public art events. He is also the author of “Art Place Japan” (Princeton Architectural Press). Free with RSVP and part of a UW-JSPS Symposium on Socially Engaged Art in Japan being held on campus Nov. 12 – 15. 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St. (206) 543-2280.
“Frank Kunishige at The Seattle Public Library” is the first solo exhibition of that photographer since his death. Kunishige was born in Japan in 1878 and arrived in Seattle in 1917. His early work here was for the Edward S. Curtis Studio. He was an important member of The Seattle Camera Club, a primarily all-Japanese camera club founded by Dr. Kyo Koike that focused on “Pictorialism”. Kunishige’s work had a soft focus and he printed his work on rough textured custom-made paper that had a mysterious, dream-like quality. His photo of visiting modern dancer Aida Kawakami remains a classic. The show runs through Dec. 15 at Seattle’s Central Library’s Level 8 Gallery with 30 photographs on view and more available for viewing online. Guest-curated by Elizabeth Brown, former chief curator of Henry Art Gallery. 1000 Fourth Ave. Go to http://cdm16118.contemtdm.oclc.org for more details.
Roger Shimomura, whose past work was recently highlighted at Tacoma Art Museum is back in Seattle with a show of new work entitled “Great American Muse” on view from Nov. 5 – Dec. 24. Inspired by Tom Wesselmann’s “Great American Nude” series which saw the artist interplay the female figure, still life objects and a familiar piece of contemporary art, Shimomura riffs off this premise and enriches it with his own mix of of race and culture. Opening reception is Nov. 5 from 6 – 8pm. Paired with “Universal Archive: Recent Collaged Linocuts” by the great South African artist William Kentridge. Greg Kucera Gallery, Inc. is at 212 Third Ave. in downtown Seattle.(206) 624-0770 or go to www.gregkucera.com.
“Beauty of The Hand – Textiles From Across The Globe, The Collection of Leslie Grace” will be on view at Aijoya Thornton Place. Grace was for many years, the owner of La Tienda on University Ave., a well -known store for folk arts from around the world. Around 50 pieces of ethnic textile will be on view. Opening reception is Wed., Nov. 18 from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. Co-curated by June Sekiguchi and Anna Macrae. 450 N.E. 100th St. in Seattle. Call (206) 306-7920 by Nov. 15 to RSVP.
“Thought Patterns” is a group show featuring artists and craftspersons working in diverse media and how they construct their ideas in patterned and repetitive ways. Features the work of Louise Kikuchi, June Sekiguchi and others. Through Feb. 14. Bainbridge Art Museum at 550 Winslow Way E. on Bainbridge Island. (206) 842-4431 or go to www.biartmuseum.org. Open daily. Free.
The City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture presents “Art Interruptions”, a series of ephemeral moments of surprise and reflection in the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway on view now through Jan. 3, 2016. See the work of seven artists including Naoko Morisawa, Carina del Rosario, Hanako O’Leary, Bayu Angermeyer, Esther Ervin, Alison Foshee and Sonya Stockton. For details or to get a map of locations, call (206) 684-7171.
Book art, the wonderful world of books made by artists doesn’t get the attention it deserves. These one-of-a-kind creations are as wide-ranging and creative as the imagination of the artists that make them. Locally, we have a whole room devoted to them at the new Bainbridge Museum of Art and the treasure that is the book art collection at UW Special Collections at the UW Library. Now we get another chance to enter the magical world of this art in a new group show put together at Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building. “Unhinged: Book Art On The Cutting Edge” showcases over 70 works by 63 artists from the U.S., Australia, Canada and Great Britain. Includes work by Julie Chen and Long Bin-Chen. Curated by Barbara Matilsky. Through Jan. 3, 2016. 250 Flora St. in Bellingham, WA. 250 Flora St. (360) 778-8930 or email [email protected].
“Genius/21 Century/Seattle” is a large-scale celebration of exceptional multidisciplinary and collaborative artistic practice in Seattle in the twenty-first century. Featured are over sixty visual artists, filmmakers, writers, theater artists, composers, musicians, choreographers, dancers, and arts organization. Artists participating in “Genius” were selected by leading arts writers and the Seattle artistic community to be recipients of “The Stranger Genius Award”. Eyvind Kang, Lead Pencil Studio, Susie J. Lee and D.K. Pan are among the list of distinguished artists included in this exhibition. The exhibition and its more than thirty-five events going on until Jan. 10, 2016. On Sat., Nov. 21 at 11am, Susie J. Lee will talk about her Yesler Community Center/Frye Art Museum Project. Frye Art Museum. 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250. Admission and parking are always free. Closed Mondays.
Cornish instructor/sculptor Robert Rhee who ran an artist Airbnb earlier has a solo show of his own work made from gourds in cages. The work is stark, spare and ultimately moving if his earlier work in “Out of Sight” is anything to go by. This solo show is entitled “Winter Wheat” and is on view Nov. 5 – 28. Glassbox Gallery at 831 Seattle Blvd. S. Go to glassboxgallery.com for details.
Alano Edzerza from Tahiti showcases his woodcarving, jewelry and prints in “Moving Forward” on view Nov. 5 – 28 at Stonington Gallery in Pioneer Square in Seattle. 125 South Jackson St. (206) 405-4040 or go to www.stoningtongallery.com.
Sculptor June Sekiguchi participates in COCA 24 Hour Art Making Marathon set for Nov. 11 – 12 . From 9am Nov. 11 through the night to 9pm Nov. 12, watch a group of Northwest artists of various genres create new work on the spot. There will be a silent auctioning off of the work created on Nov. 13 at 5:30pm. All proceeds benefit the non-profit arts organization. The Summit Building at 420 E. Pike. Email [email protected] or call (206) 728-1980.
“Here’s What I Got” is a grab-bag of work by gallery artists including Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Krab Jab Studio at 5268 Airport Way S. # 150. Nov. 14 – Dec. 5. For details, go to krabjabstudio.com.
“Rebels Of The Floating World” is the title of a forthcoming show featuring work by two acclaimed contemporary urban artists who explore our complex transitions between tradition and history. New work by Jonathan Wakuda Fischer who has turned the Japanese woodblock tradition on its head and made it contemporary and Louie Gong who will be showing a new series of paintings combining Native American and Chinese motifs. Remains on view through Nov. 28.Also on Sat., Nov. 14 there will be be a screening of a documentary film entitled “UNRESERVED: The Work of Louie Gong” by Long House Media and more from 3 – 4pm. On Sat., Nov. 28 from noon to 5pm, there will be a closing party for the show and a Holiday Pop-up Store opening (remains on view through Dec. 31) of small works and artful gifts by gallery artists. Artxchange Gallery. 512 First Ave. S. (206) 839-0377.
New work by Margot Quan Knight at ArtsWest Gallery. On view through Nov. 22. 4711 California Ave. S.W. (206) 938-0339 or go to artswest.org.
“Slash And Burn” is a group show curated by Suze Woolf that looks at artists who either cut or burn material to make their art. The work of Naoko Morisawa and June Sekiguchi is included. Opening reception is Dec. 11 from 6 – 8:30pm. Kirkland Art Center at 620 Market St. in Kirkland. (425) 822-7161.
New work by sculptor James Brems and new textiles from Mimbres Textiles are on view through Nov. 4. Sat., Nov. 7 is the start of the “9th Annual Simple Cup Show 2015”. Sale by lottery begins at the opening on Sat., Nov. 7. Draw a lottery number at 6:30pm and the sale starts at 7pm. There will be a book signing and demonstration with the Japanese illustrator NOSHI on Sat., Nov. 14. Her delightful new book is full of vibrant color and fun. KOBO at Higo. 604 South Jackson. Email is hello@kobo seattle.com. KOBO also has a sister location on Capitol Hill at 814 East Roy St. (206) 726-0704.
Photographer Michael Kenna has spent a considerable amount of time in Japan taking images of landscapes and still-lives. There is a pristine, precise delicacy to his work that catches every detail. A new series entitled “Forms of Japan: Photographs” comes to G. Gibson Gallery with an artist and book signing reception set for Nov. 5th from 6 – 8pm. The show is on view through Nov. 28 sharing the space with paintings by Mary Iverson. 300 South Washington in Pioneer Square. Go to www.ggibsongallery.com for details.
Fram Kitagawa is Director of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Trienniale, one of the largest art festivals in the world. He gives a talk entitled “Art in the Age of the Global Environment” on Nov. 12 at 7pm. Free but reservations suggested. Henry Art Gallery. Free. 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St. (206) 543-2280.
“Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” is a show that should prove to be a family favorite. On loan from the Japanese American National Museum, the show lands in Seattle at the EMP Museum at Seattle Center on Nov. 14 and remains on view through May 15, 2016. The show looks on the history of the Japanese icon and her influence on popular culture. Includes an extensive product survey, with rare and unique items from the Sanrio archives, alongside a selection of innovative contemporary artworks inspired by Hello Kitty and her world. Opening reception /party on Friday. Nov. 13 from 7pm – midnight. Includes photo op with Hello Kitty herself, march in your Hello Kitty attire in the Supercute Fashion Parade, taiko drum performance, friendship bingo in the game center, origami & jewelry, collect stars & stickers for your books325 – 5th Ave. N. (206) 770-2700. Etc. Japanese snacks from food trucks. “J Pop” dance party. $25 general admission ($20 for EMP members), $10 for youth 5 – 17. Free for kids 4 and under.
Abmeyer & Wood presents the work of two contemporary sculptors, Erika Sanada and Calvin Ma. Sanada makes strange sculptures of animals and Ma turns robots into wooden action figures. Nov. 30 – Jan. 2. 1210 Second Ave. (206) 628-9501 or go to abmeyerwood.com.
The First Friday Lecture for Nov. 6 at Seattle Art Museum downtown is “Intimate Impressionism” by Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s Deputy Director for a Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture. She talks about items in the current traveling exhibition entitled “Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art” now on view at SAM. At 11am and free with museum admission.1300 First Ave. (206) 654-3210 or go to www.seattleartmuseum.org.
The Yakima Valley Museum has the current exhibit, “Land of Joy and Sorrow – Japanese Pioneers of the Yakima Valley” up until 2018. It tells the history of Japanese families who created a community there before the war. Only 10% of families returned to re-settle there after the war. 2105 Teton Dr. (509) 248-0741. In related news, a softball from this collection that saw play at Heart Mountain internment camp and owned by George Hirahara has been given to the Smithsonian and was on display in the incarceration section of the exhibit, “The Price of Freedom – Americans at War”. (As reported in the North American Post.) In other news, Hirahara’s Oregon photographs of the Japanese American post-WWII experience in the Pacific Northwest are now available online at Densho. To see his documentation of Nikkei Oregon life in “New Partner Collection: Frank C. Hirahara Photographs From The Oregon Nikkei Endowment”, go to http://www.densho.org/new-partner-collection-frank-c-hirahara-photographs-from-the-oregon-nikkei-endowment/. Also a profile of the Washington State University Hirahara Collection of photos from Heart Mountain is now featured on the Japanese American History Not For Sale Facebook Page by going to https://www.facebook.com/japaneseamericanhistorynotforsale.
Cascadia Art Museum is a new Northwest museum in Edmonds, WA. Their inaugural exhibition is entitled “A Fluid Tradition: Northwest Watercolor Society…The First 75 Years” on view through Jan. 3, 2016. It includes the work of George Tsutakawa amongst dozens of others. 190 Sunset Ave. in Edmonds. Go to cascadiaartmuseum.org for details.
Seattle ceramic artist Akio Takamori and Lead Pencil Studio (Annie Han & Daniel Milhayo) were both recipients of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards given by the Portland Art Museum which will give all winners a group show which has been re-scheduled to run from Feb. 13 – May 8 in 2016. The extension will allow some artists to do brand-new work site-specific to the PAM space. “Anish Kapoor – Prints from the Collection of Jordan Schnitzer” remains on view until Oct. 25, 2015. The Portland Art Museum is at 1219 SW Park Ave. Go to www.portlandartmuseum.org for details.
Portland artist Robert Dozono has a show of new work entitled “Garbage Paintings and Other Works” at Blackfish Gallery Nov. 3 – 28, 2015. Opening reception is Nov. 5 from 6 – 9pm. 420 N.S. Ninth Ave. in Portland. (503) 224-2634 or go to www.blackfish.com.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene has the following – Opening Oct. 3 and remaining on view until Jan. 3, 2016 is “Expanding Frontiers – The Wadsworth Collection of Post War Japanese Prints”. Remaining on view until July 24, 2016 is “‘True’ Korean Landscapes & Virtuous Scholars” and “Benevolence & Loyalty: Filial Piety in Chinese Art” up until July 31, 2016. 1430 Johnson Lane. (541) 346-3027.
The work of noted Northwest ceramic sculptor Patti Warashina is included in SOFA, the annual expo show of sculpture, objects, functional art and design in Chicago. Nov. 6th – 8th, 2015. Opening night on Nov. 5th at Navy Pier. Go to sofaexpo.com for details.
New and recent shows /activities at the Wing include the following – Coming Thurs., Nov. 5 from 6 – 8pm is the opening of the show, “Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance. Explores the practices and cultural significance of tattoos, highlighting the unique perspectives of the South Pacific communities in the Pacific Northwest. Free. Members and special guests are invited to RSVP. Reception open to the public. “Khmer American: Naga Sheds Its Skin” opens on Thurs., Dec. 10 from 6 – 8pm. War has had a huge impact on Khmer culture and identity. Despite these challenges, the community continues to shape the US and Cambodia. Members and invited guests can RSVP at wingluke.org/calendar. 7pm open to the public. Free. “Tales of Tails: Animals in Children’s Books is a recent show to open at the museum. “CONSTRUCT/S” is a group show that presents a diverse group of six international, national and local female artists who will transform The Wing’s art gallery into a multi-sensory, interactive exploration of identity, subjectivity, history, culture and gender. It is curated by Dr. Stacey Uradomo-Barre. It remains on view through April 17th, 2016. Artists include the following – Terry Acebo Davis from California recreates her mother’s bedroom drawing upon the fact that she is suffering from dementia. This room is a place she yearns to return to and the piece deals with a fragmented narrative of memory, loss, identity, and Filipino American culture. Kaili Chun from Hawai’I has an interactive installation of man-made steel bars that unlock to grapple with issues of subjectivity and community and reflect the continuous socio-political negotiation of Native Hawaiians with the mainstream society. Yong Soon Min from California, after a career exploring Korean American Identity and colonialism now examines her own personal struggle of pain and trauma as she tries to recover from a cerebral hemorrhage that affected her ability to form language and memories. Min has shown previously in Seattle with temporary art installations. Tamiko Thiel (Germany) & Midori Kono Thiel (Seattle) present a mother-daughter collaboration combining traditional calligraphy with mobile technology. Their augmented reality installation virtually links art and culture with physical landmarks significant to the local Japanese American community. Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts went to Evergreen College in Olympia as a student. She has shown here previously with an installation at Suyama Space and a show at Greg Kucera Gallery. Her new piece here was inspired by the early 20th century tent houses of Japanese immigrant farmers. This work interweaves family memories and community history, evoking the migratory nature of the Japanese American farming community. She also has a public art commission at the Seattle Public Library planned as well. A catalog for this show is available. The Young Family Collection of Qing Dynasty robes opened Jan. 15th . “Who Gets To Belong?” is an exhibit that looks at the Immigration Act of 1965 that lifted the quotas for Asian Pacific Islander immigration. This exhibit which opened March 5th will look at the cultural and political climate that pushed for this act. “Do You Know Bruce?” is a major new show on the personal, intimate story of martial arts artist and film star Bruce Lee and the significance of Seattle in his life. Opens Oct. 4th with the full support of the Lee Family. The Wing is the only museum in the world, outside of Hong Kong, to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee’s life. The Lee family has plans to eventually open a permanent museum on Bruce Lee’s life and legacy in the Chinatown-ID neighborhood. Year 2 of the exhibition opens Oct. 3rd, 2015 and digs deeper into the significance of Bruce Lee and his impact in media during a time of racial stereotypes and barriers. Includes text panels by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man) plus Green Hornet toys, personal letters, behind-the-scenes photos from the sets of “Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon”, hand-written film notes, rare photos inside his early Chinatown studio and much much more. A new set of Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tours begin Oct. 6th. A “Toddler Storytime” is set for Thurs., Nov. 5 from 10am – 12pm. Kids will learn how to make a wish and listen to “Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World”. A fun art activity follows. Free. On Sat., Nov. 7 from noon – 2pm, Lane Wilcken, author of “Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern” talks about the history and culture of Paciic Islander tattoos. Q&A/book signing to follow. Presented in conjunction with the “Tatou/Tattoo” exhibit. There is a teacher workshop & curriculum training sesson entitled “Reimagine Belonging: Exploring Historical and Personal Narratives of Migration in the Classroom” set for Sun., Nov. 8 from 9:30am – 4:30pm. In conjunction with the “Belonging” exhibit and presented in partnership with Wings and Roots. $10 or $20 with lunch. Contact [email protected] forFun Day” set for Sat., Nov. 14 from 10am – 5pm gives you free gallery admission all day. Fun animal activities such as face painting, storytelling and an art exploration workshop. Find out how chickens are linked to the Wing. Something for everyone. Free. Pork Filled Productions present a staged reading of “Tale Of The Shining Yonsei” on Thurs., Dec. 3 from 6 – 8pm. Follow Akira, a 4th generation Japanese American as he looks to Japanese fairy tales for help in how the handle the intricacies of dating and following your heart. Free. To help celebrate Bruce Lee’s 75th Birthday, all Bruce Lee merchandise will be 10% off on the weekend of Nov. 28-29. A free gift with any $20 purchase while supplies last. “Shop-o-Rama” is a special event in the Marketplace with lots of local artist pop-up shops, an Asian American Santa, book promotions and great discount specials every Sat. from Nov. 14 – Dec. 21. Free cookies & cider and free giftwrapping. Members can double their discount and a limited Year of the Sheep glass with gift membership purchase. For details, go to wingluke.org/shop. The Museum is located at 719 South King St. (206) 623-5124 or visit www.wingluke.org. Closed Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. First Thursday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm. Third Saturday of each month is free from 10am – 8pm.
“Voices of Nisei Veterans – Permanent Exhibition and Collections” is composed of rare collections preserved by the Nisei Veterans Committee and tells the story of Japanese American veterans before, during and after WW II. Access is by pre-arranged tour only. For reservations or information, email [email protected] or [email protected]. Jointly sponsored by the NVC Memorial Hall and The Wing. 1212 South King St.
“Pacific Voices” is an ongoing exhibit that celebrates the language, teachings, art, and cultural ceremonies of seventeen cultures from the Pacific Rim. Burke Museum at the University of Washington. 17th Ave. NE & E 45th Streets. (206) 543-5590 or try Washington.edu/burkemuseum.
Currently on view at Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park – First Free Saturday family activity takes place from 11am – 2pm. “Paradox Of Place: Contemporary Korean Art” is a new show set for Oct. 31, 2015 – March 13, 2016 at the Tateuchi Galleries. This is the first major exhibition of Korean contemporary art in over a decade in Seattle. This show was put together in collaboration with Ms. Choi Eunju, former chief curator of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea. Six leading-edge Korean contemporary artists’ representative works will be in this show. Works range from mix-media, installation, video art, to photography, all of which are prominent forms in Korean contemporary art. Co-organized by the Seattle Art Museum and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea with generous support from the Korea Foundation. “Saturday University” is a series of talks on art and ideas at Seattle Asian Art Museum every morning at 9:30am $10 admission. . The series includes the following –Christopher Phillips, Curator at ICP, New York talks about “Chinese and Korean video Art” on Nov. 7. Deepali Dewan, Senior Curator of South Asian Arts at Royal Ontario Museum address the topic of “Paint and Photography in India” on Nov. 14. Yasufumi Nakamori, associate Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will talk about the show he curated for that museum entitled “Experiments in Japanese Art & Photos, 1968-79” on Nov. 21. The Winter Saturday University Series will address topics under the theme of “Sites of Meaning: Cultural Heritage Preservation in Asia.” The opening lecture will be on Sat. Jan. 23rd at 9:30am and Stefan Simon, Director of the Yale University Institute for Cultural Heritage will kick it off. For complete information on all events, go to seattleartmuseum.org.
Tacoma Art Museum has opened a new wing to accommodate the gift of a new collection. “ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST: The Haub Family Collection at Tacoma Art Museum just opened. Included in the present show is work by contemporary Chinese American artist Mian Situ. He creates epic paintings in the European tradition but inserts Chinese American immigrants as protagonists in scenes in which they’ve previously been missing. The photography of Seattle photographer Chao-Chen Yang is included in a group show entitled “Northwest in the West: Exploring Our Roots”. This show explores the distinct identity of Northwest art and how it has adopted, adapted and reacted against its western roots. A theme particularly apt and timely since the museum is building a new wing to house their new collection of Western art. Both shows through the fall of 2015. “Art AIDS America” is a groundbreaking exhibition that underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art from the 1980’s to the present. The late Martin Wong has work in this show. Co-curated by TAM Chief Curator Rock Hushka and Dr. Jonathan Katz who directs the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Buffalo. On view through Jan. 10th, 2016.Tacoma Art Museum is at 1701 Pacific Ave. (253) 272-4258 or go to TacomaArtMuseum.org.
Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland has “Oregon Nikkei: Reflections of an American Community” a show that celebrates the lives and contributions of Oregon’s Nikkei community, and evokes memories of shared experiences – from early settlement through the trials and tribulations of WWII and into the 21st century. On view through Jan. 17, 2016 is “Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit”.Open Tu. – Sat. 11am – 3pm and Sundays, noon – 3pm. 121 NW 2nd Ave. (503) 224-1458 or email [email protected].
“Meet Me at Higo” permanent exhibit- Part Two” presented and sponsored by the Wing is a multi-media presentation and self-guided tour that tells the origins and history of the store as a Japanese American five and dime. At Kobo at Higo, 604 South Jackson. E-mail [email protected] or call (206) 381-3000.
The Art History Lecture Series with Rebecca Albiani for the upcoming year includes a series of talks on “Netsuke: Miniature Masterpieces of Japanese Sculpture” set for Jan. 14th at 11am and 7pm and Jan. 15th at 11am. The talk is repeated three times. To register, call (206) 432-8200.
On view through Jan. 3, 2016 is “Not Vanishing: Contemporary Expressions in Indigenous Art, 1977-2015”, an important show that examines the evolution of the contemporary Native American arts movement and the works of artists living in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and southern British Columbia. Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA. 121 s. First St. (360) 466-4446 or go to museumofnwart.org.
Opening Dec. 11 and remaining on view until Jan. 24, 2016 is a survey of the work of South Korean contemporary artist Kim Beon. His conceptually driven videos, installations and drawings brim over with a warm sense of humor. Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby St. in Vancouver BC, Canada. (604) 662-4719 or go to vanartgallery.bc.ca.
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco has the following shows – “Continuity And Pursuit” is a show of paintings by Yoong Bae until Dec. 13, 2015. “Exquisite Nature: 20 Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings (14th – 18th century)” comes down Nov. 1, 2015. “Picturing Sound, Creating Mood” is a series of twelve paintings from the 18th to 19th century that reveal the multisensory world of Indian painting up till Nov. 22, 2015. On view from Oct. 30 – Feb. 7, 2016 will be “Looking East, How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh And Other Western Artists”, a show created by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 200 Larkin St. (415) 581-3500.
“Raycraft is Dead” is the title of a mixed media installation by L.A. based South Korean artist Won Ju Im. In it, she deconstructs the spaces of her own home and invites the viewer to rethink our everyday experiences in our own spaces. Includes sculptures, video projection and collage. On view until Dec. 6, 2015 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 701 Mission in San Francisco. (415) 978-2700.
“New Stories from the Edge of Asia: Tabaimo” marks the first solo museum exhibition of this amazing Japanese artist who uses alluring large-scale surreal animations that combine everyday objects and experiences. Opens Feb. 5, 2016 at the San Jose Museum of Art. 110 South Market St. (408) 271-6840. Not to miss!
The Japanese American National Museum has the following current and upcoming exhibitions. Ongoing is “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” is a historical group show that incorporates hundreds of objects, documents and photographs collected by the Museum on over 130 years of Japanese American history. On view until Jan. 24, 2016 is “Giant Robot Biennale 4” an annual show showcasing the diverse creative works brought together between the pages of that popular zine which is a staple of alternative Asian American pop culture. Looking further down the road is an important photography show entitled “Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920 – 1940” tentatively set for Feb. 28 – June 26 of 2016 and curated by Southern California photography historian Dennis Reed who has curated a previous excellent show of the Japanese Camera Club of Los Angeles. 100 North Central Ave. (213) 625-0414.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has the following shows. “Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East” remains on view until Jan. 3, 2016. “Ritual Offerings in Tibetan Art” continues until Oct. 25. 2015. “Living for The Moment: Japanese Prints from the Barbara S. Bowman Collection” opens Oct. 4 and remains on view until Jan. 16, 2016. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (323) 857-6010.
The Skirball Cultural Center in association with the Japanese American National Museum presents “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams” from Oct. 8 – Feb. 21, 2016. In addition to Adam’s work, the exhibition includes other photographs, documents, publications, artifacts, and works of art that detail life and conditions at Manzanar and offer personal narratives of the experience. A range of propaganda posters, films, pamplets, and magazines portray the anger, prejudice, and overt racism fo the times. Additional material comes from Adam’s contemporaries, Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake. But what is the cherry on top of the sundae (at least for me) is the inclusion of “Citizen 13660: The Art of Mine Okubo”. Her work cuts to the quick and gives a very honest and personal portrayal of how life was in the camps as lived by the inmates. Activities related to this show include the following – Classes entitled “In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams” Oct. 17, Nov. 6, Nov. 8, and Nov. 21. The film “Children of the Camps” is screened on Oct. 15 at 8pm. Public tours Tues. – Sun. beginning Oct. 15 at 1pm. A member program is Preview Day for the show on Oct. 7 from noon – 5pm. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles. Free on-site parking. (310) 440-4500.
In related news, the Mine Okubo Collection at the Riverside City College is believed to be the most extensive repository of Mine Okubo’s papers and art work in a single location. This is a virtual treasure trove for people interested in the work of this important American artist. To see the collection, call the Director of the Center for Social Justice at (951) 222-8846. Additional material on the artist can be found at the Japanese American National Museum, the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution and University of California at Riverside.
Oakland Museum of California presents a major exhibition on historic and contemporary pacific cultures and peoples and their interactions with California. “Pacific Worlds” remains on view through Jan. 3rd, 2016. The show explores the on-going connections and intersecting experiences of Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, along with Filipinos, Native Californians, and American collectors and colonists. Opening Dec. 12 and remaining on view until Jan. 3, 2016 is “UNEARTHED: Found & Made”. This show juxtaposes contemporary sculpture by L.A.-based artist Jededian Caesar with traditional Japanese suiseki from Bay Area clubs.1000 Oak St. in Oakland, CA. For details, go to museumca.org or http://www.museumca.org/.
“Ishiuchi Miyako: Post War Shadows” is a retrospective of this self-taught photographer who emerged out of the shadows of WW II in a mostly male generation of Japanese photographers. Her work offered a different perspective on the Japan she knew, the hometown port city of Yokosuka. Later work would fuse both the personal and political as she did work on Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Frida Kahlo’s clothing and the map of the skin found on different torsos. On view until Feb. 21, 2016. “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography” is a complimentary group show of young women photographers that have surfaced in the 1990’s influenced by Ishiuchi’s work. They include Kawauchi Rinko, Onodera Yuki, Otsuka Chino, Sawada Tomoko and Shiga Lieko. This show has identical exhibition dates as Ishiuchi’s show. J. Paul Getty Museum. 1200 Getty Center Dr. (310) 440-7330.
The Fullerton Museum presents a show entitled “Forgotten Faces” which focuses on the “comfort women” of World War II, those Asian women forced into becoming prostitutes for the Imperial Japanese Army during the 1930’s & 40’s. The work from three distinct genres reflects the struggles of women from Indonesia, China, Korea and the Philippines. The first part of the show consists of photographs, maps and text boxes. The second part utilizes art to tell the story. Watercolors by Steve Cavallo depicts the women. Cavallo spent time listening to tapes of their stories before actualizing each drawing. A series of portraits of comfort women taken by photographer Jan Banning takes up the next part of the show. Each photo is accompanied by a brief testimonial by each woman. Mixed media art by Chang-Jin Lee combines text from newspaper advertisements used to recruit comfort women. Cal State Fullerton History Professor Kristine Dennehy was brought in to educate docents about the comfort women issue. The exhibit address the present problem of human trafficking today. Also information is provided from a variety of organizations that help victims. On view through Nov. 1, 2015. The Fullerton Museum Center is at 301 Pomona Ave. in Fullerton, Calif. (714) 783-6545.
New work by Seattle artist Diem Chau is on exhibit through Oct. 31st, 2015 at the Philadelphia Zoo as part of “Second Nature”, an array of artist installations that ell the stories of endangered species through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials. Her series of carved crayons “Precious Few” take the forms of 48 animals on the endangered species list. The zoo is at 3400 W. Girard Ave. in Philadelphia. Their phone # is (215) 243-1100. Diem Chau is represented locally by G. Gibson Gallery (ggibsongallery.com) and she is open to commissions.
“Asian Art at 100: A History in Photographs” is a survey of the Met’s Asian galleries photographed from 1907 – 19 45. Through May 22, 2016. “Celebrating The Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection”. Over 300 items from what many consider the best Japanese art collection outside of Japan are on view through July 31, 2016. 1000 – 5th Ave. (212) 535-7710 or go to www.metmuseum.org.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston organized the traveling show entitled “For A New World To Come: Experiments In Japanese Art And Photographs, 1968-1979”. Vietnam War protests and opposition to a treaty extending American military occupation rocked Japan and fueled the Japanese arts movement at this time. For the first time, many artists and movements heretofore unknown to the West are exposed. This stimulating exhibition comes to New York split into two different venues. The first segment shows at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery through Dec. 5, 2015. Go to nyu.edu/greyart for details. The other portion of the show hits Japan Society Gallery from Oct. 9, 2015 through Jan. 3, 2016. Go to japansociety.org for more information.
“Japanese Kogei/ Future Forward”. Twelve different artists show different changing approaches to Japanese “handcrafts” – especially in the area of ceramics. Oct. 20 – Feb. 7, 2016. Museum of Arts and Design in New York. 2 Columbus Circle. (212) 299-7777 or [email protected].
Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) is a yearly event from Oct. 28 – Nov. 8 this year in New York City that attempts to draw attention to the artistic practice and cultural production from Asia. Exhibitions around town at leading museums, galleries and arts institutions include work by Walid Raad, Shazia Sikander, Wong Dongling, Pouran Jinchi , Sopheap Pich , Lee Mingwei and emerging artists from Central and Southeast Asia.
Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is in a group show entitled “HAIKU – Poetry in Art” at the Michael Warren Gallery through Nov. 19, 2015. At Republic Plaza at 370 – 17th St. in Denver, CO.
Some upcoming shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston include the following – “Crafted Objects in Flux” is a group show that look at artists who “simultaneously blur and expand craft’s landscape.” Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is included in this show and she has plans to do a live performance sometime during the run of the show. On view through January 10th, 2016. “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia” is a new exhibition that proves that the Asian influence on the West is not a recent phenomenon. It examines these influences across continents as early as the late 16th/ early 17th century. On view through Feb. 15, 2016. 465 Huntington Ave. in Boston. (617) 267-9300.
“Reopening Of The Renwick Gallery”. The first building in the nation designed specifically as an art museum officially reopens after a two year renovation with “Wonder” in which nine contemporary artists were invited to create room-size installations inspired by the building itself. Maya Lin is one of them. Opens Nov. 13 and remains on view until July 10, 2016. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery are along the museum mall in Washington, D.C.
On view through Jan. 3, 2016 is “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms”. It showcases recently excavated objects that highlight the prosperity and achievements of the little-known Philippine Kingdoms that flourished long before the Spanish discovered the region and colonized it. They affirm the unprecedented creativity, prosperity, and sophisticated metalworking tradition of the pre-colonial period. They also attest to flourishing cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom. Also showing at the same time is “Video Spotlight: Philippines”, an exhibition of contemporary video art by Poklong Anading, Martha Atienza, and Mark Salvatus. Coming in 2016 is “Kamakura: Realism And Spirituality In The Sculpture Of Japan” More than 40 sculptures which show the relationship between realism and sacred use of the objects. The Kamakura era is often regarded as a period similar to the Renaissance in Europe. Feb. 9 through May 8, 2016. Asia Society Museum at 725 Park Ave. in New York City. Go to AsiaSociety.org/museum for details.
In March of 2016, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over the building designed by Marcel Breuer that was once the Whitney Museum. A retrospective of the Indian modernist painter Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) will be one of three opening exhibits in this building. The Met’s current artist-in-residence, jazz composter/pianist Vjay Iyer will do a number of appearances as well. The building will now be known as the Met Breuer. Madison Ave. and 75th St. in New York or go to metmuseum.org for details.
The first U.S. survey of the work of Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Hongtu comes to the Queens Museum of art. The artist left China in 1982 and settled in Queens. Through Feb. 28, 2016. Email [email protected] for details.
“Sotatsu – Making Waves” is a major show of that Edo-period, 17th century Japanese screen painter taking place at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery this fall from Oct. 24th – Jan. 31st, 2016. Over 70 pieces of work from American, European and Japanese collections including work by later artists influenced by Sotatsu. 1050 Independence Ave. SW in Washington DC. (202) 633-1000.
“Designing Traditions Biennial IV – Explorations in the Asian Textile Collection” is an exhibition that shows how traditional Asian craftsmanship inspires contemporary creativity. Through Jan. 3. 2016 at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. 20 N. Main St. in Providence, R.I. Go to www.risdmuseum.org for details.
“Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art and Tradition” is a groundbreaking photographic exhibition that explores the master craftsmanship of traditional Japanese tattoos and their enduring influence on modern tattoo practices. On view until Nov. 29, 2015 at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A traveling exhibition on loan from Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. 200 N. Boulevard in Richmond, VA. (804) 340-1400.
“Martin Wong: Human Instamatic” covers the full trajectory of this Chinese American painter from his Bay Area roots to his pivotal role in documenting the multicultural environs of the Lower East Side of New York. On view through Feb. 12, 2016. “Transitions: New Photography From Bangladesh” is on view Oct. 15 – Feb.. 14, 2016. Bronx Museum of the Arts in Bronx, New York. 1040 Grand Concourse. (718) 681-6000. The West Coast site for the traveling exhibition of Martin Wong will be Sept. – Dec. 2017 at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in their new location on Center St.
Although the late Japanese artist Onichi Koshiro never traveled West, his work bore innovations from European modernism that surface in his mastery of the traditional Japanese art tradition. The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo gives him the first retrospective of his work in twenty years and includes oil paintings, photographs, drawings, printmaking and book design. Jan. 13 – Feb. 28, 2016.
Korean modern sculptor/installation artist Do Ho Suh (his work is in Seattle Art Museum’s permanent collection) has a show of his translucent “fabric buildings” at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Feb. 12 – Sept. 11, 2016.
Painter Barbara Takenaga is known for her labor-intensive, energetic abstractions composed of matrix-like, swirling patterns of dots but nothing tops the unprecedented scale of a 100’ wall mural she has done for “Nebraska”, a large scale commission from her series “Nebraska Paintings”. The piece captures the open spaces and big sky of her native state. The artist says the moody palette conveys “the ‘violet hour” of in-between time, when the land and sky start to blur.” Korean artist Ran Hwang uses thousands and thousands of buttons and pins to install “Untethered”, a 140 foot-long sculpture of 14 birds, including six phoenixes. The artist says “I choose buttons because, like human beings, they are at once common and ordinary yet as unique as the rarest jewels. Each button can move freely between the head of the pin and the wall, suggesting the human desire to be free from any restriction.” Both shows are currently on view at MASS Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts. Go to www.massmoca.org for details.
The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is a regional museum in a small college town that always manages to have fascinating shows no doubt to the sage skills of their curatorial staff. On view now through November is “Liu Bolin – Hiding in Plain Sight” . This contemporary Chinese artist is know for painting his body to camouflage into backgrounds whether they be graffiti-heavy walls of New York or China’s Yellow River. This former sculptor from Beijing was a child of the Cultural Revolution and began his disappearing act around 10 years ago as a silent protest against the government’s crack down on growing social issues and their need to suppress criticism of its actions. Since then the artist has taken on world issues such as pollution and deforestation. He is quoted in a CNN interview that “I always use my works to question and rethink the inequality and imbalance caused by the process of human development.” 1701 East Front St. in Traverse City, Michigan. Go to dennosmuseum.org for details.
Wendy Maruyama’s “wildlife Project” is now on view through Jan. 3, 2016 at the Houston Center For Contemporary Craft. The show illustrates the plight of the elephant and the illegal ivory trade. The artist has traveled to Africa and studied the problem, meeting with officials. Her new constructions come from her thoughts on this issue of world crisis. She gives a talk at the museum on Nov. 21 at 2pm. 4848 Main St. (713) 529-4848 or go to www.crafthouston.org. Expect to see this show hit the West Coast in 2017 from Feb. – May at the San Francisco Museum of Craft And Design.
“Harajuku – Tokyo Street Fashion” looks at Harajuku’s current trends and wide influence around the world. Opens Nov. 19 and remains on view through April 3, 2016. Honolulu Museum of Art at 900 Beretania St. Go to www.honolulumuseum.org for details.
“East Asia Feminism: FANTASIA” is a look at the current state and implications of East Asian women’s art from a feminist perspective. The diverse works of 14 artists from Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and India are represented. On view through Nov. 8, 2015. Seoul Museum of Art. 61, Deoksugung-gil, Jungu, Seoul, South Korea. Call +82-2-1330 (in Korean, English, Chinese & Japanese).
Although artist Etsuko Ichikawa is Seattle-based, she remains a member of NOddiN, a Japanese collective of filmmakers, copywriters, artists, and designers who consider the current and future of Japan and express their concerns through their creative work. The theme of their annual exhibit held this year Oct. 2 – 4 at CLASKA in Tokyo is ‘to doubt’. Ichikawa made a set of hand-sewed boy’s & girl’s baby clothing made of camouflage fabric with matched shoes with an accompanying greeting card that reads “Welcome to this world! For your bright future fighting for your country, I send you these camouflage baby clothing. Much Love.” The piece is a criticism of Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s newly passed security laws that now allow for Japanese military action in support of collective defense abroad, a violation of Japan’s constitution, including Article 9 known as the Peace Constitution.
The November/December issue of ArtAsia Pacific looks at the work of Li Shan, a member of China’s legendary No Name Painting Society and three leading female artists from Bangladesh. Also profiled is Tibetan artist Tsherin Sherpa and Eugen Tan, founding director of National Gallery Singapore. Go to [email protected] for details.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. will honor architect/artist Maya Lin for her achievements in the arts at the inaugural American Portrait Gala in November. She has completed her largest commission to date, a campus in Cambridge, Mass., for the pharmaceutical company, Novartis. It opens in December. Its exterior looks like a modern version of a New England stonewall. A new room installation entitled “Folding the Chesapeake” opens at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. A new book on her art and architecture has just been published by Skira/Rizzoli. Two ongoing projects dealing with the environment that she’s working on are “What is Missing?”, a multisite, multimedia work that focuses on a crisis of biodiversity and “Confluence” which are six outdoor installations that enable viewers to see wildlife from a different perspective.
“NOT Untitled” by Chang-Jin Lee is a project based on the artist’s interviews with “comfort women” survivors from Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Netherlands and a former Japanese WWII soldier. It brings to light the memories of 200,000 young women who were systematically exploited as sex slaves in Asia during WWII by the Imperial Japanese Army. On view until Dec. 13 at Buk Seoul Museum of Art. Free. 02-2124-8800.
Noted Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”) has over the past dozen years has had a parallel career with his video installations which intersect with his thematic material in his films. A new installation work entitles “Fireworks (Archives)” was originally commissioned by Kurimanzutto Gallery in Mexico City was recently part of “Wavelengths”, the experimental program at the Toronto International Film Festival. The viewer is led through a surreal sculpture garden lit by flashes. A sonic soundtrack of crackles, explosions and the sound of gunfire fill the air. The installation has connections with his new film “Cemetery of Splendor” which had its debut at Toronto as well. Both mirror his obsession with and exploration of Thailand’s Northeast, a marginalized area that provided a home to communist and rebel insurgents and the scene of some of the country’s most violent military battles and occupation.
The Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei reports that Danish toymaker Lego has refused his studio’s request for a bulk order of plastic toys on political grounds. The company says it “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” The work was for an exhibition planned with the work of Andy Warhol in Australia. An earlier work entitled “Trace” that was shown on Alcatraz Island had pixelated images of more than 175 prisoners of conscience. Coincidentally the company has expanded its presence in China, investing ina new manufacturing facility in Jiaxing. Upon the artist’s announcement of his refusal by Lego however, dozens of his fans offered their legos for his use online.
Pioneer female Korean painter Chu Kyung-ja, most known for her paintings of female figures and flowers died in New York City recently from a chronic illness. She was 99.
Nonsequitur’s Fall Concerts at the Chapel present a wide-ranging series of experimental music and sound art as part of the Wayward Music Series at the Chapel Performance Space in the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford. Some highlights include the following –Judy Dunaway is considered the “mother of balloon music” and she comes to Seattle on Sat. Nov. 14 at 8pm to improvise with local instrument builder and sound-finder Susie Kozawa and Esther Sugai. 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. at the Chapel Performance Space on the 4th floor of the Good Shepard Center. For details on the whole series, go to websites for Nonsequitar or Wayward Music Series.
One Beat (see related article in this issue) brings 25 artists from around the world to Seattle where they will perform and collaborate with local musicians at a variety of venues across the city from Nov. 2 – 7. One Beat is the pioneering global initiative from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Bang on a Can’s on a Can’s Found Sound Nation. Performers and producers from 17 countries and territories. There will be five public performances with public discussions and on-stage collaborations. There will also be visits to public schools. Shows include “One Beat South” on Nov. 4 at Columbia City Theater at 8pm at 4915 Rainier Ave. S. “One Beat Impact” takes place on Nov. 5 at Langston Hughes Performing arts Institute at 104 – 17th Ave. S. at 7pm. “OneBeat School of Music” takes place for free at 2:30pm at EMP Museum on Nov. 6. 325 Fifith Ave. N. “OneBeat@SAM Remix” takes place Nov. 6 at 8pm at Seattle Art Museum at 1300 1st Ave. On Nov. 7, “One Beat Global Resonance” happens at St. Mark’s Cathedtal at 1245 10th Ave. E. at 8pm. Among the musicians coming here are singer-songwriter Ami Kim from the U.S., Composer/Sound Designer/Theramin player Ng Chor Guan from Malaysia, Liuqin player Tsai Hui Ya from Taiwan, percussionist Arun Sivag from India and many others. Go to http://1beat.org/onebeat-seattle/ for details.
The Steve Griggs Ensemble plays “Music Made from Japanese American Memories of WW II” at the Panama Hotel Tea Room at 2pm every Saturday in 2015. Free. 605 South Main St. Sponsored by 4Culture, National Park Service, and Earshot Jazz.
Jazz Alley, one of Seattle’s finest jazz clubs features the following. L.A. based jazz fusion/new age pianist Keiko Matsui performs Nov. 12 – 15. 2033 – 6th Ave. downtown. (206) 441-9729 or go to [email protected].
Oct. 9 – Nov. 18 are the dates for Earshot Jazz Festival 2015 bringing exciting local, national and international musicians to various Seattle stages. Performing as part of this series is local percussionist/composer Paul Kikuchi and his “Songs of Nihonmachi”, an evocative collage of turn-of-the century Japanese popular songs re-interpreted in modern arrangements. Kikuchi’s great grandfather who settled in eastern Washington had a record collection of such tunes. Recently Kikuchi was able to go to Japan on a Japan/U.S. Exchange Artist Fellowship and research more of this early music of the era. He performs jazz versions of some of the most popular recorded songs in 1920s/1930s Japantown with Ivan Arteaga on reeds and Jeff Johnson on double bass.Tues., Nov. 5 at the Panama Hotel at 6pm. To get the full schedule of the Earshot Jazz Festival 2015, go to www.earshot.org. The Panama Hotel is at 605 S. Main St. in the Nihonmachi section of Chinatown/ID.
Golden Dragon Acrobats use acrobatics, costumes, traditional dance and modern and traditional music to entertain the masses. Nov. 7 at Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia. 512 Washington St. SE. (360) 753-8586 or go to washingtoncenter.org.
Seattle Times presents: “Beyond Cedar Planked Salmon: What is Northwest Cuisine?”, a conversation with four leading Seattle chefs moderated by Bethany Jean Clement. Come and hear Marie Hines, Rachel Yang, Matt Dillon and Tom Douglas compare culinary notes. Thurs., Nov. 12 at 7pm at Seattle Downtown Central Library. (206) 386-4636 or go to www.spl.org.
“Storywallahs: An Evening of Storytelling” is an event held in partnership with KUOW, Pratidhwani, and Tasveer. Organizers are looking for performers who can tell a five-minute story about living in both South Asia and the U.S. for an audience. Sign up to tell yours or just come and listen to storytellers from the Indian and South Asian communities. Set for Sun., Nov. 22 at 6:30pm. Go to seattleartmuseum.org/gardnercenter for details or call (206) 442-8480.
Singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama performs at the Triple Door with fellow local singer/songwriters Betsey Olsen and Emi Meyer. Sun., Nov. 22 at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6pm. 216 Union St. (206) 838-4333 or try tickets.thetripledoor.net. Meyer’s latest release “Monochrome” debuted at #1 in Japan in Sept. It comes out in the spring of 2016 on the Seattle-based jazz label, Origin Records.
ON The Boards has another exciting season of performance art in all genres. Of particular interest is Degenerate Art Ensemble’s (led by Crow Nishimura and Joshua Kohl) “Predator Songstress” which has been created in stages and zeroes in on the theme of totalitarianism, surveillance, and control filtered through a modern day surreal fairy tale dusted with butoh and anime crumbs. With all productions, the ensembles strength is in numbers with a crack team of lighting designers, video artists costume designers and musicians. Premieres at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Nov. 5 before opening here in Seattle, Dec. 3 – 6, 2015. In related news, the Nov. 2015 issue of City Arts magazine puts Crow Nishimura of the Degenerate Art Ensemble on the cover with a story entitled “Rebel Royalty”. Tanya Tagaq is an amazing Inuit throat singer who digs into past, present and future with a flexible, powerful voice that will have you on your feet as she blends native tradition with electronica, industrial and metal influences to tear apart the walls of the silent movie, “Nanook of the North” projected behind her as she sings. One night only on April 6, 2016. 100 Roy St. (206) 217-9888.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the programs Seattle Symphony has to offer under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot later this year going into 2016. Want comedy with your music? The duo of Ingudesman & Joo return to Seattle after their success in 2012 at Benaroya with an all new show that mixes laughs with classical music and popular culture on March 3rd at 7:30pm.If you want a preview of the music the Symphony will be playing on their upcoming tour of Asia, check out the Ravel Piano Concerto as performed with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano along with music by Faure and Dvorak on June 5th.
Seattle Opera has announced their 2015/16 season under new General Director Aidan Lang. It marks a return to full-year programming with a total of six operas,, new productions and a world premiere. Many productions will also highlight new Asian and Asian American performers. Jonathan Lemalu, a Samoan from New Zealand makes his Seattle Opera debut singing the role of Nourabad in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” next. Set in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka), the story revolves around two young men who vow to never let a woman come between their friendship until the inevitable happens. Through Oct. 31. Finally, Director Lang returns to stage directing Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. Chinese-born bass-baritone Shenyang makes his Seattle Opera debut as Figaro. McCaw Hall at Seattle Center at 321 Mercer St. (206) 389-7676 or try 1-800-426-1619 or go to [email protected].
“Extraordinary Ordinary People – American Masters of Traditional Arts” is an exhibition with monthly artist performances & humanities programs on Fridays from 7:30 – 9:30pm on Oct. 30th, Nov. 13th and Nov. 20th. Traditional artist demonstrations on Saturdays from 11am – 4pm on Oct. 3rd, Oct. 31st and Nov. 14th. The exhibit is up through Nov. 30th. Admission, opening on Fri. Sept. 11th at 7pm and demonstrations are free. Suggested $10 donation for all performances. A cross-cultural mix of music and culture from cancion music from Latin America, Croatian Americans, Finnish music, Hindustani classical music, Cowboy and Native American and Scandinavian music. For the traditional artist demonstrations in the front gallery, catch Yoshiyasu Fujii on Oct. 31 demonstrating Japanese American calligraphy. For the traditional artist performances & humanities programs in the large studio, catch Debi Prasad Chatterjee in a concert of Hindustani classic music on sitar on Oct. 9. Jack Straw Cultural Center at 4261 Roosevelt Way NE in Seattle’s University District. (206) 634-0919 or go to www.jackstraw.org for details.
Stella Stephanie Kosim gives a classical guitar recital on Sun., Nov. 22 at 7:30pm. UW School of Music’s Brechemin Auditorium on the Seattle campus. (206) 543-1201.
Tea ceremony demonstrations continue at Seattle Art Museum downtown every Third Thursday at 5:30pm and every Third Sunday at 2:10pm. Free with admission.
The UW World Series season for 2015/2016 has some extraordinary performances booked from around the world at their UW Seattle Meany Hall location. In the “World Dance Series” comes the Akram Khan Company is known for fusing the classical Indian form of kathak with contemporary dance. They make their northwest debut with “Kaash” in which the theme of Hindu gods, black holes, Indian time cycles, tablas, creation and destruction all play key roles. Nov. 12 – 14th at 8pm. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center consisting of CMS Co-Artistic Director and Pianist Wu Han and violinists Sean lee and Benjamin Bellman take solo turns in music by Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. One night only on March 19th, 2016 at 7:30pm. The Daedalus Quartet plays Friday, April 29th, 2016 at 7:30pm with work by Beethoven and the world premiere of a new work by UW Music composer Huck Hodge. In the “Special Events” category, the Peking Acrobats and sitarist Anoushka Shankar make appearances. Peking Acrobats come to perform their daring balance maneuvers with live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments on Sat., Jan. 23, 2016 at 3pm and 7:30pm. Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of the late virtuoso sitar master, Ravi Shankar brings her own genre-defying mix to the instrument with Indian music, electronica, jazz, flamenco and Western classical music all playing a part. She performs on Sat., April 9th, 2016 at 8pm. A “Special Engagement” will feature “An Evening with Yo-Yo Ma” on Tues., Dec. 8, 2015 at 7:30pm. This world – renowned cellist has recorded classical music and has never been afraid to collaborate with musicians from various genres from all over the world. This appearance is a rare opportunity to hear him in an intimate space. (206) 543-4880 or go to uwworldseries.org or get tickets in-Person at 1313 NE 4lst St. Ticket
The 2015-16 Saturday Family Concerts at Town Hall Seattle are set. Traditional Japanese arts with Kabuki Academy are set for Nov. 14th. Other acts include Caspar Baby Pants, Pointed Man Band, Swil Kanim Pig Snout!!, Gustafer Yellowgold, Franchesska Berry and Frances England. Town Hall Seattle is at 1119 8th Ave. (206) 625-4255 or go to www.townhallseattle.org.
Hmong New Year is celebrated at the Armory at Seattle Center with food, games, performances, activities and music. Free. All day on Nov. 7, 2015.
Vancouver B.C.-based DJ Pat Lok makes an appearance at Rebar on Nov. 14. In 2012 he was co-winner of The Rapture’s “How Deep Is Your Love” remix competition with producer/DJ partner Cyclist on DFA Records. His Daft Funk Party mixtapes have garnered a global following. 1114 Howell. (206) 293-9873 or go to www.RebarSeattle.com/.
If you miss the instrumental music of the islands, Seattle Slack Key presents the “Seventh Annual Seattle Slack Key Festival” on Nov. 8. Whiri Tu Aka performs A cappella music inspired by Maori culture on Nov. 20 at Town Hall Seattle. Go to www.townhall.org for details.
Musicians Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney perform “Viscous Circle” on Thurs., Dec. 3 at 8pm. Part of the Frye Art Museum’s “Big Genius Show” which celebrates the talents of Seattle’s arts community. One of many continuing activities that complement the show which remains on view through Jan. 10. 704 Terry Ave. (206) 622-9250.
ARC Dance which includes their school of ballet and Arc Youth Dance Company are getting ready for their annual production of “Nutcracker Sweets”. There will be five performances in the ARC Dance Studio in North Ballard Dec. 11 – 13 and two performances at the Shorewood Performing Arts Center on Dec. 19. For details, call (206) 948-6506.
Trumpet player/composer and UW Jazz Professor Cuong Vu remains active locally performing in various concerts on the Seattle UW campus. He will be part of the Bill Frisell and Michael Gibbs concert with the UW Symphony and Jazz Studies Faculty on Jan. 14 & 15 at Meany Theater 7:30pm. He also joins UW faculty member Melia Watras in a concert of “Schumann Resonances” along with Winston Choi on piano, Matthew Kocmieroski on percussion and Michael Jinsoo Lim on violin on Jan. 26 at Meany Theater at 7:30pm. New works by Richard Karpen, Vu and Watras will also receive their world premieres. (206) 543-4880 for tickets.
Pacific Northwest Ballet Concertmaster Michael Jinsoo Lim participates in a UW Faculty Chamber Music Concert on March 6 at 7:30pm at Meany Theater on the Seattle UW campus. (206) 543-4880 for tickets.
As part of Seattle Rep’s 2015/2016 new season, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” will be performed Jan. 8th – 31st. The story is about a Pakistani-born successful New York lawyer whose life is turned upside-down when his Muslim heritage is questioned. 155 Mercer St. (206) 443-2222 for tickets.
“The Frye Art Museum Guitar Series” presents Connie Sheu on Sat., April 16, 2016. Sheu teaches at Pasadena Conservatory of Music. She specializes in performing original music for guitar by female composers.
“Caught”, a play by Christopher Chen gets a production by Seattle Public Theater as part of their 2015-16 Mainstage Season. It runs May 20th – June 12th, 2016 with a preview on May 19th. The play is a mind-bending satire about truth, art, and deception. When an art gallery hosts a retrospective of the work of a legendary Chinese dissident artist, the artist himself appears and shares with patrons the details of his ordeal that explores truth, art, social justice and cultural appropriation.7312 W. Green Lake Drive N. Go to www.seattlepublictheater.org for details.
“Ethnomusicology Visiting Artists Concert: Ade Suparman; Sudanese Music of Indonesia” takes place on June 2, 2016 at 7:30pm at Meany Hall on the Seattle UW campus. Go to www.music.washington.edu or call Arts UW Ticket Office at (206) 543-4880.
“Monstress” is a theatrical adaptation based on a book of short stories by Lysley Tenorio created by Philip Kan Gotanda and Sean San Jose as Directed by Carey Perloff at A.C.T’s Strand Theaer in San Francisco through Nov. 22. 1127 Market St. (415) 749-2228 or [email protected].
“Allegiance” is a new musical inspired by a true story of the Japanese American internment camps during WW II starring Lea Salonga and George Takei. Previews begin Oct. 6. Visit allegiancemusical.com for details. Comments by Director Stafford Arima in Sunday NY Times were telling re: the state of Asian Americans in the acting industry. He said the casting for the show reminded him of how limited the opportunities were. “You would look at the resumes and just see 12 productions of the ‘King And I’ and nine productions of ‘Miss Saigon’.”
The Stage Directors And Choreographer’s Foundation based in New York City awarded Tim Dang, Director of L.A.’s East West Players since 1993, the Zelda Fichandler Award for 2015. The prize is given to recognize directors or choreographers who are “transforming the regional arts landscape through imaginative, brave work in theater.” Dang announced he will leave East West players in the June of 2016 to contemplate other career possibilities.
Lam Chun-wing, a 19 year old from a working class Hong Kong suburb becomes the first Chinese dancer to join the Paris Opera Ballet in its 346 year history.
Film & Media
Sundance Cinemas in the University District presents the following. “Meet The Patels” is a documentary film done by brother and sister, Ravi and Geeta Patel. It’s a funny yet honest look at the universal search for happiness when it comes to finding a mate. Having just broken up with a girlfriend, Ravi allows his parents to talk him into seeking a wife through traditional Indian matchmaking. The trials and tribulations of this search produce laughs and some soul searching as well. Or as Geeta Patel put it as she stood behind the camera, “So I put the camera on him because I’m a sister. My brother is, like, hilariously suffering right now – let’s film it!” Also opening at Sundance and Ark Lodge Cinema in Columbia City on Nov. 13 is Anthony Lucero’s “East Side Sushi” (see related article in this issue) about a working class Latina single mother who takes a job washing dishes in a Japanese restaurant only to discover a love for making sushi. Her trials and tribulations in a male-dominated industry to carve out a career as a sushi chef form the core of the film. Sundance is at 4500 9th Ave. N.E. and their # is (206) 633-0059. Ark Lodge Cinemas is at 4816 Rainier Ave. S. and their # is (206) 721-3156.
Opening Nov. 6 at Pacific Place is “The Nightingale”. It tells the story of an elderly Beijing man who takes his granddaughter on a nostalgic trip back to their hometown in the countryside. It’s a French-Chinese co-production directed by Philippe Muyvers and was selected by China as its candidate for best foreign language film in the 2015 Oscars. AMC Pacific Place is at 600 Pine St. #400 in downtown Seattle. (206)652-8908.
“Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie” directed by Kazuya Nomura is set for release on Nov. 10 at the Guild 45th. This is supposedly an update of the classic original for the new generation. 2115 N. 45th in Wallingford.
“Boruto” is a full-length anime feature directed by Hiroyuki Yamashita that tells the story of numerous characters locked in a drama of power and retribution in this world and another galaxy. Screens Oct. 30 – Nov. 5. Nov. 20 – 25 brings “Moana” with sound. After Robert Flaherty filmed “Nanook of the North” in 1922, he journeyed to the South Seas Island of Sava’l to film Samoan lifestyles in situ. Fifty years later, Flahery’s daughter returned to Samoa with Ricky Leacock and recorded location sound, dialogue and folk songs to compliment the images of her father’s silent film. At the Grand Illusion Cinema. 1403 N.E. 50th in the University district. (206) 523-3935.
Northwest Film Forum presents the following. “Not on Netflix” is a series featuring the greatest films you’ve never seen hosted by film auteurs at Scarecrow Video. Nov. 13 brings Ratio Timoer’s 1984 film “Devil’s Sword” from Indonesia. It’s billed as “the only mystical king-fu, sci-fi epic from that country. What it lacks in philosophical depth, it makes up for with excessive gore, goofy sexuality, a cool synthesizer score, and surreal visuals.” Screens on Nov. 13. The Seattle premiere of “Taxi” by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi runs Nov. 13 – 19. This project was done while living under a filmmaking ban. He stars in as well as directs this taxi ride around Tehran. 1515 12th Ave. (206) 329-2629.
Here are some new films that will be coming to a local Landmark Theatre in Seattle soon. “He Named Me Malala” is a new documentary film on the efforts of Malala Yousafzai and her father to bring education benefits to the young girls of Pakistan. Malala gained world-wide notoriety when she survived assassination attempts by the Taliban to end her efforts at educating more girls in Pakistan. This film will open on Oct. 9th either at the Guild 45th. Emmy award-winning Director Cary Fukunaga (Director & Executive Producer of HBO’s “True Detective”) brings a new movie based in Africa about boy-soldiers based on the book by Nigerian writer Uzodinma Iweala. Entitled “Beasts of No Nation”, it is Netflix’s first original film. The film stars Idris Elba who plays a warlord who takes a young boy-soldier under his wing. Set for October 16th at Seven Gables Theatre. “Attack on Titan” is part one of a film adaptation of the famous Japanese manga series, a dark fantasy horror fable by Hajime Isayama. It was directed by Shinji Higuchi and stars Haruna Miura, Kiko Mizuhara and Kawata Hongo. Devotees of the manga have panned the film for the deviations of plot and changes in the storyline the director made compared to the original book but some film critics have praised the film on its own merits. Judge for yourself as it comes to the Guild 45th in Wallingford later this fall.
Opening Nov. 5th at SIFF Egyptian is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin” which is the official entry by Taiwan in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category for the Academy Awards 2016. Those expecting a martial arts film with lots of fight scenes will be disappointed as this beautiful film focuses instead on the search for the human soul and the landscapes one travels through both physical and psychological to find peace, humanity and reconciliation. 801 E. Pine. (206) 324-9996.
The 3rd Annual Friday Harbor Film Festival takes place Nov. 6 – 8 on San Juan Island. Some filmes include the following – ”The Haumana” by Keo Woolford is the first narrative feature-length film about Hawai’is traditional hula. “Kumu Hina” is a documentary film by Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer about the struggle to maintain Pacific Islander culture and values within the Westernised society of modern Hawai’i. Go to www.fhff.org for complete schedule.
Seattle Shorts Film Festival 2015 (www.seattleshort.org) takes place Nov. 14 – 15 at SIFF Film Center. “Even The Walls”, the award-winning documentary film by Saman Maydani and Sarah Kuck with cinematopgraphy by Canh Nguyen looks at the gentrification and residents of Seattle’s Yesler Terrace, “My Dad’s a Rocker” is a rare, personal glimpse at China’s first wave of rock musicians and Shirlyn Wong’s “Mobile Stripper” from Walla Walla plus many others will all be screened.
“Silver Screen Buddhas” is the title of a contemporary Korean film series introduced by Sharon Suh that portrays elements of Buddhism, gender and Korean society. Ki-duk Kim’s “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” screens on Sun., Jan. 24 at 3pm. Im Kwon-taek’s “Come, Come Upward” screens on Thurs., Jan. 28 at 7pm. Shown as part of the program activities to complement the exhibit, “Place of Paradox: Contemporary Korean Art” on view through March 13, 2016. Seattle Asian Art Museum on Volunteer Park on upper Capitol Hill. (206) 442-8480.
The legendary Japanese novel “The Key” about the twisted sexual relationship between a married couple by Junichiro Tanizaki has been adapted by American director Jefery Levy and stars David Arquette and Bai Ling as the couple. The film premieres at the Hollywood Film Festival on Sept. 24.
Opening in Sept. are the following films – “Katti Batti”, a romance between a serious young architect and a free spirit directed by Nikhil Advani. “The Office” is a romantic musical comedy from China directed by Johnnie To and starring Chun Yun-fat now at AMC Pacific Place. Soon-Mi Yoo, a South Korean director living in the U.S. made the documentary film, “Songs From The North” in which she tries to understand North Korea, the place, the people and the propaganda. “Veteran” is a new South Korean film directed by Ryoo Seung-wan about a kind-heated detective who butts heads with the CEO of a giant corporation. Shen Xu directs and stars in the comedy entitled “Lost In Hong Kong”. Ramin Bahrani directs “99 Homes” which stars Andrew Garfield as a single dad evicted from his Florida home forced to make some tough decisions. Also now playing at AMC Pacific Place is “Saving Mr. Wu” which is based on the true story of the kidnapping of a movie star by a gang led by a crafty sociopath. Stars Andy Lau, Wu Ruofu (who was the actor in real life who was kidnapped) and Zhang Huo. Directed by Deng Sheng with gritty cinematography shot mostly at night. In Oct. look for the following – “Yakuza Apocalypse” is a wacky action horror comedy thriller by Takashi Miike who just loves mashing up genres (coming to Seattle Sundance Theaters). Taiwanese master filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s new film entitled “The Assassin” is set in ninth-century imperial China where a little girl is kidnapped and trained to be a professional killer. What does she do when her target turns out to be her childhood fiancé. Hou won the best direction prize at Cannes this year for this film. Opens Nov. at the Egyptian. “A Fool” by Chen Jianbin looks at what happens when a Chinese shepherd makes the mistake of trying to bribe an official to get his son out of prison. “Tokyo Tribe” is a new action thriller by Sion Sono in which a future Japan is run by gangs and the battle for Tokyo looms ahead. Finally in Nov. comes Tham Nguyen Thi’s documentary about a former female monk who must escort a group of traveling Vietnamese transgender performers.
Other new films with dates not yet set for release but probably due by 2016 are the following – Jia Zhangke of all of China’s directors seems to have his pulse on a China evolving so quickly that its own people can barely keep up. “Mountains May Depart” is a dark portrait of a capitalist-era family through the decades as they struggle to survive in China and abroad. Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees” opened at Cannes and was picked up by Roadside/Lionsgate for distribution. The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe who meet on Mr. Fuji bent on suicide. Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s newest entitled “Journey to the Shore” has a piano teacher going on a second honeymoon with her missing husband who returns as a ghost. Adapted from the novel by Kazumi Yumoto Stars Eri Fukatsu and Tadanobu Asano. Due out next year is the long-awaited new project by Martin Scorsese in which he adapts Shusaku Endo’s historical novel on Christians in Japan in a period when Christianity was not allowed. A priest played by Andrew Garfield travels to Japan to confront rumors that his mentor has abandoned the church. Shot on location in Taiwan. The director remarked that “The subject matter presented by Endo was in my life since I was very, very young.” Kazuhiro Soda’s 21/2 hour documentary entitled “Oyster Factory” was a Locarno Film Festival Official Selection and takes a close look as globalization comes to a small Japanese village whose sole industry is the harvesting of oysters.
Bay Area filmmaker/writer Arthur Dong’s feature on a famed San Francisco Chinatown nightclub has come out with new editions. A new hard cover edition of the book “Forbidden City USA” previously only available in paper has been published with new additions and improved color tones. The documentary film upon which the book was based has been digitized and restored with fun extras such as Noel Toy’s nude feather dance in a Blu-Ray DVD edition. For details on the book and documentary film, email [email protected].
Although there are a number of Asian American animators working for Pixar studios, “Sanjay’s Superhero”, a new short by Sanjay Patel qualifies as the first film by an Asian American from Pixar. Patel says he grew up hating his parent’s Hindi culture and just wanted to fit in. While his father sat in the living room in meditation to his God, the son sat enthralled by his Gods, the TV cartoon superheroes of his youth. The film is an appreciation of his parent’s culture and his own identity. It will slow alongside the Pixar feature length film “The Good Dinosaur” later this year.
Local filmmaker and film historian Sudeshna Sen offers a film appreciation class entitled “How To Build A Filmmaker – Satyajit Ray” in two sessions at Northwest Film Forum set for Nov. 16 & Nov. 23. Participants will learn of the director’s many diverse talents and have a chance to screen and discuss the director’s early, mid-career and later works, including films of his not generally available for viewing by the general public. 1515 – 12th Ave. (206) 329-2629.
The Written Arts/Talks
The Hokubei Hochi Foundation present former UW Professor and Haruki Murakami English translator Jay Rubin in a reading of his debut novel “The Sun Gods” (Chin Music Press) about an inter-racial marriage torn apart by the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Sun., Nov. 15 at 1pm. Nagomi Tea House at 519 – 6th Ave. S. To RSVP go to [email protected]. For information, call (206) 519-5461.
On Thurs., Nov. 19 at 4:30pm in Room C5, Seattle University School of Law will present a booksigning by Professor Lorraine Bannai’s new book entitled “Enduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justice” (UW Press). Present will be Judge Marilyn Hall Patel who issued the historic decision to vacate Korematsiu’s WWII conviction for resisting orders that culminated in the incarceration of 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry. Besides the author and Judge Patel, sharing remarks will be Korematsu’s daughter, Karen Korematsu. For detail, email Lauire Wells at [email protected].
Elliott Bay Book Company has another list of readings set for spring in their store as well as at various venues around the city. All readings at the bookstore unless other wise noted. Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk reads from his new novel entitled “Strangeness in my Mind” at Seattle Central Public Library downtown. Nov. 7th brings novelist Isabel Allende who talks to Florangela Davila about her new novel entitled “The Japanese Lover” at Seattle First Baptist Church. At the dawn of WWII a Polish couple sends their young daughter to the safe care of an aunt and uncle in Los Angeles. In this new environment the young woman slowly is drawn into a relationship with the son of a Japanese gardener. When WWII starts, all Japanese Americans on the West Coast are incarcerated. But through time in different circumstances, the lovers find some way to meet. Journalist Deepa Iyer talks about the new war on South Asians in the U.S. in the wake of 9/11 in “We Too Sing America” (New Press) on Dec. 1 at Town Hall Seattle. Elliott Bay Book Company is on Capitol Hill at 1521 – 10th Avenue. (206) 624-6000.
Acclaimed Washington writer Alex Kuo and retired Professor of English at Washington State University has been busy. Recent books include “My Private China” (Blacksmith), a collection of sketches of contemporary China on issues the Chinese find important and “Shanghai, Shanghai, Shanghai” (Red Bat Books), a new novel about a culture writer/closet novelist and his encounters with a myriad of characters that populate Chinese society including a Bogota pickpocket, a defiant Uighur woman with a borrowed baby, a German navel attaché, American evangelicals working the Beijing Olympics, and China’s first female conductor of western classical music. He will be reading from these books during his Northwest tour. Venues/dates are as follows – Nov. 16 at Washington State University, Pullman on Nov. 16 at 5:30pm, Whitworth University, Spokane on Nov. 18 at 7pm, Pendleton Center for the Arts on Nov. 19 at 7pm, Looking Glass Books in La Grande on Nov. 20 at 6pm, Nov. 22 at 3pm at University Book Store in Seattle on the Ave., Nov. 30 at Watermark Book Co. in Anacortes at 2:30pm and Anacortes Public Library at 7pm and Dec. 2 at 7pm at Village Books in Bellingham. Go to www.alexkuo.org/prose/shanghaishanghai.html for details.
Congratulations to Eastwind Books of Berkeley who received an award for their service to the community by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. This book store has one of the largest number of titles in the country specializing in Asian American and Asian Studies.
The rising intolerance for human rights and freedome of expression has polarized the atmosphere around the world. In India under the Modi administration to the point that noted India writers such as Burbachan Bhullar, Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Atamjit Singh and GN Levy are returning their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest. The recent protest was sparked by the rise of intolerance in the country as exemplified by the murder of writer MM Kalburgi and the lynching of a Muslim man over rumors that he had eaten beef which later proved to be unfounded. Bangladesh is also in turmoil. Demonstrations continue over fatal attacks on writers and publishers by suspected hardline Islamists. The latest victim was publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan who was hacked to death in his office. Earlier victims have included online activist, writer and blogger Avijit Roy. A militant group believed to be affiliated to al-Qaida claimed responsibility and threatened to murder more writers and publishers who defamed Islam. Demonstrations have continued to protest government inaction over the attacks with books burned and shops closed. Rallies have called for more protection for publishers, bloggers and writers. Many have fled the country or gone into hiding. More than 150 writers including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Yann Martel and Colm Toibin have signed a letter condemning the attacks and calling on the government of Bangladesh “to ensure that the tragic events…are not repeated.” In Indonesia, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival has been forced to call off panels, exhibitions and a screening of the documentary film, “The Look of Silence” all around events marking the 1965 massacre of alleged communists after threats from authorities to revoke the festival organizer’s operating permit. Festival founder and director Janet DeNeefe issued a statement saying “1965 is an event that has and continues to influence many Indonesians and as such, we chose to dedicate a proportion of the program to enriching our understanding about this, through themes of reconciliation and remembrance. We hoped that these panel sessions would enable conversations to take place that continue Indonesia on its journey of healing, particularly for those whose lives were so severely affected.” Taken from reports from The Guradian and Wikipedia.
One finds it hard to keep up with the steady stream of new titles coming out even in the limited categories of works by or about Asian Americans and new titles on Asia but here’s a recent sampling:
“Why Ghosts Appear” (Chin Music Press) is another beautifully designed thriller/mystery novel by Todd Shimoda with artwork by LJC Shimoda. In this story a fortune teller asks a detective to find her missing son.
“Roads of Oku – Journeys in the Heatland” (Far Roads) by Dennis Kawaharada traces the Hawai’i-based writer’s own personal journey in his ancestral heartland of Japan. Accounts of Hawaiian history and Japanese religion, customs, geography and archaeology fill the accounts of his travels.
Kyung-Sook Shin’s ”Please Look After Mom” was a New York Times bestseller. Now she’s back with a new novel entitled “The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness” (Pegasus Books). Korea’s industrial sweatshops of the 1970’s catapulted that South Korea into a global economy. Shin tells that story through the eyes of a young girl from the countryside working in the factories under conditions of exploitation, oppression and urbanization.
As more and more citizens flee North Korea, more and more memoirs are published telling their stories. “Stars Between The Sun And Moon – One Woman’s Life OIn North Korea And Escape To Freedom” (Norton) by Lucia Jang and Susan McClelland is the latest.
“Art Place Japan – The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature” (Princeton Architectural Press) by Fram Kitagawa as translated by Amiko Matsuo and Brad Monsma tells the remarkable story of a rural farming region in Niigata that now thrives under an arts festival that combines art, ecology and community participation. Individual artists and cultural organizations from around the world come to the area every three years to transform it into a large-scale art installation. The director of this event and the author of this book will be speaking at Henry Art Gallery on hursday, Nov. 12 at 7pm as part of a conference on public art in Japan at UW. 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St. (206) 543-2280.
Few people know of the Indian participation in World War II and Raghu Karnad tells that personal story by uncovering stories of his family who served in “Farthest Field – An Indian Story of the Second World War” (Norton).
“The Hundred Year Flood” (Little A Books) by Matthew Salesses is a striking debut novel about a lost soul, a Korean adoptee trying to find his place in the world while living abroad in Prague.
“I Am China” (Anchor Books) by Xiaolu Guo tells the story of a Chinese rock musician, his British translator, his poet lover and how he ends up in exile in England seeking political asylum.
“Last Boat To Yokohama – The Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon” (Three Rooms Press) by Nassrine Azimi & Michel Wasserman tells the amazing tale of a remarkable woman who secretly helped create Japan’s new constitution after WW II, writing an article that mandated equal rights for all women in Japan. This article was the work of a 22-year-old Vienna-born, naturalized American woman of Ukranian-Jewish descent who had grown up in Japan.
“The Investigation” (Pegasus Books) is a novel by J. M. Lee translated by Chi-Young Kim that tells the story of Japan’s wartime history, inspired by the real-life case of jailed dissident Korean poet Yun Dong-Ju.
“The Incarnations” (Touchstone) is a new novel by Susan Barker that traces the existence of a Beijing cabbie during the summer Olympics who keeps finding letters from a stranger in his cab that takes him on a journey through Chinese history from the Ming dynasty to the Opium War and the Cultural Revolution. Forgotten characters of his country’s history and folklore float before his eyes. Barker had a British father and Chinese Malaysian mother. She lived in Beijing during the country’s preparation for the Olympics.
Adrian Tomine has been telling stories in his comic format since he was a teenager with the ‘zine, “Optic Nerve”. Of late his work has been featured prominently in the New Yorker. His latest book entitled “Killing And Dying” (Drawn & Quarterly) with no great fanfare simply zeroes in on the hole of the American heart and dwells there with incisive, stark portrayals of different Americans just trying to get through their lives day by day. Tender, heartbreaking and real. Catch him live at Portland’s Wordstock Festival on Nov. 6 & 7.
“The Good Immigrants – how the YELLOW PERIL became the MODEL MINORITY” (Princeton) by Madeline Y. Hsu looks at how American political narratives from earliest times to the Cold War changed immigration policy and made Chinese immigrants a ‘model minority’.
Akhil Sharma’s novel “Family Life” (Norton) about an immigrant family torn asunder by duty and the need for survival made the “10 Best Books” list of 2014 in the New York Times Book Review. Now it has come out in a new paperback edition.
“Keywords For Asian Americans” (NYU) is a collection of essays edited by Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Linda Trinh Vo, and K. Scott Wong. Looks like a key reference book for Asian American Studies.
“Gasa Gasa Girl Goes To Camp – A Nisei Youth behind a World War II Fence” (Univ. of Utah) by Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey uses a sophisticated collage of artwork, prose and photographs a candid memoir of the camp experience through the eyes of a young girl.
Dao Strom returns with a double format presentation that shows off her writing chops and music in one package. “We Were Meant to be Gentle People” is a poetic memoir that charts a life experienced across oceans and continents in fragments of memory, image and history. The book is combined with a music cd entitled “East/West” with “chapters” in the book corresponding to song titles and lyrics interwoven amid the essays and fragments. The book is available through amazon, Ingram and various independent booksellers. The cd in both digital download and CD format via cdbaby.com or daostrom.bandcamp.com and iTunes. You can get the dual format of Cd + book via the author’s own website. Go to paperdollworks.com for details.
“Ocean of Bitter Dreams – The Chinese Migration to America 1850 – 1915” by Robert J. Swendinger has been reprinted on China Books.
“Taken from the Paradise Isle – The Hoshida Family Story” (Colorado) Edited by Heidi Kim with a foreword by Franklin Odo tells the story of artist George Hoshida and his efforts to keep his family intact during desperate times.
Bamboo Ridge Press, the publishing organ of a dedicated group of Island writers in Hawai’i keeps chugging along. The latest issue of the magazine (#106) is just out ci-edited by Gail Harada and Lisa Linn Kanae. Also due out by December is “Between Sky And Sea”, a new novel by D. Carreira Ching. For details, visit www.bambooridge.com.
The University of Washington continues to revamp its Asian American literary classics with new cover art and new introductions by scholars in the field. The latest to get this upgrade is Bienvenido N. Santos’ “Scent of Apples”, a beautifully crafted series of short stories that tell the stories of those early Filipino immigrants who came to this country to build a new life and the hardships they found. With a foreword by Jessica Hagedorn and a new introduction by Allan Punzalan Isaac.
From “Chutzpah!” hailed as one of China’s most innovative literary magazines comes an anthology entitled “CHUTZPAH! – New Voices From China” (University of Oklahoma Press) edited by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner. Includes sixteen selections that take readers from the suburbs of Nanjing to the mountains of Xinjiang Province, from London’s Chinatown to a universe seemingly springing from a video game.
Rohini Mohan looks at three lives caught up in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s twenty-year civil war as even today ethnic and religious conflicts continue to run rampant in “The Seasons of Trouble – Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” (Verso). This debut book stems from the author’s extensive, award-winning career as a political journalist covering Sri Lankan politics and the personal lives of its citizens.
“Chord”(Sarabande) is a new book of poems by Pacific Lutheran University Professor Rick Barot that looks at the limits of representational art and language in a carefully crafted series of poems that show the limits of our human condition and the threads that bind us together.
Luo Ying went through the experience of the Cultural Revolution in China and in “Memories of the Cultural Revolution” (University of Oklahoma Press) as translated by Seattle poet/translator Denis Mair, this memoir in verse brings to light with devastating clarity those defining moments of a young life in turmoil.
In “Lost Canyon” (Akashic) one of Los Angeles’s finest writers Nina Revoyr looks at a cross-section of that multi-layered, multi-cultural urban tapestry as a group of people on the emotional edge are thrown together and forced to deal with solutions in a perilous climb both physically and emotionally challenging.
In Eating Korean In America – Gastronomic Ethnography of Authenticity” (University of Hawai’i Press), Sonia Ryang goes to four American cities to try to answer the question
The history of Asian Americans and their emergence in this country is constantly being re-invented and re-evaluated as more research comes to light. “The Making of Asian America – A History” (Simon & Schuster) by Erika Lee is the latest version to hit the stores. She tracks down immigration patterns and origins back to North and South America as well as the East and West Indies.
“The Lams Of Ludlow Street” (Kehrer) is a new book by photographer Thomas Holton that is an in-depth look at a family living in New York’s Chinatown. Born to a Chinese mother and American father, Holton had close relatives in Chinatown but always felt disconnected. What started out as a documentary project on the streets and daily rituals of that community developed into a much more intimate exploration of a single family’s life spanning a decade.
Ugly Duckling Presse has published the first book of one of Tatsumi Hijikata’s notebook notations in either English or Japanese. Hijikata (1928-1986) was the founding father of the radical dance from called Butoh. Though influenced by Western artists and writers, he was dedicated to the particular expression of the marginalized and sought to capture the condition of the Japanese psyche/body after World War II. Tatsumi Hijikata’s “Costume en Face: A Primer of Darkness for Young Boys and Girls” is a notebook written down by Moe Yamamoto and translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu. It gives readers a chance to see for the first time the profound interconnectedness of language and body in the choreographer’s process of composition. Go to www.uglyducklingpresse.org for details on this and other titles they publish.
“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award Longlist for fiction. She will be in Seattle on Nov. 20 in conversation with Dave Wheeler. 4326 University Way N.E. (206) 634-3400 or go to [email protected].
“The Best American Poetry” is a yearly anthology of work juried from hundreds of poems published in literary magazines by a different judge every year. The 2015 edition was curated by popular Northwest Native American writer/poet Sherman Alexie. Assumptions are it’s going to be a strong collection and what could go wrong. Well, it turns out Alexie didn’t see the curve ball coming his way. After he had made his selection, he would later find that one poem he chose by a poet with a Chinese name was submitted after all by a Caucasian male who surmised he had a better chance being chosen using a ethnic name (turns out it was the name of a girl he went to high school with). Alexie felt duped and wondered what to do. In the end he left the poem in but it opens up a lot of different issues re: ethnic appropriation. To read Alexie’s lengthy response and reasoning on why he did what he did, goggle “Sherman Alexie Speaks Out On The Best American Poetry”.
The Asian American Writers Workshop has a response with an anthology of Asian American writers entitled “After Yi-Fen Chou” in which which writers write in response to the “Best American Poetry 2015” controversy. Go to aaww.org.
Seattle artist Etsuko Ichikawa is featured in the exhibit catalogue entitled “Crafted: Objects In Flux”, an exhibition currently on view at Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the catalogue is available for purchase through the museum gift shop. A lengthy interview with the artist by Marika Yoshikawa has appeared in the first volume of “Collect & Connect” published by Arts & Books in Tokyo. The interview covers how Ichikawa transplanted from Tokyo to Seattle, how she started working with the medium of glass and her opinions of the art scene in Seattle and Tokyo. Available only in Japanese.
Every writer needs to flex his or her muscles with writing exercise or a refresher course to get the word block loosened. Consider Hugo House’s creative writing classes. A Fall 2015 catalog is available now. Some possibilities from a myriad of choices – “Nonfiction – Why Should I read You? With EJ Koh Nov. 7 – Dec. 19 helps you generate new work and revisit previous work. Poet Jane Wong helps you tackle “The Poetry of Memoir” Nov. 14 & Nov. 15. How can you utilize poetic techniques to create tension and emotion when telling your narratives? This workshop may offer some answers. Poet Michelle Penaloza offers “Poetry Calisthenics” Oct. 28 – Dec. 9. Each week focuses on a different element of the poetic craft. 1634 11th Ave. on Capitol Hill off Broadway. Go to hugohouse.org or call (206) 322-7030 for details.
Congratulations to visual artists Roldy Aguero Ablao, Junko Yamamoto and poet/writer Shin Yu Pai who all received 2015 GAP (Grants for Artist Projects) Grants from Artist Trust in 2015.
The Edwin T. Pratt Scholarship provides opportunities for artists of color to advance their careers through education and exposure. The scholarship incudes $2,500 credit to apply towards class.workshop registrations and related supply fees plus studio/equipment access fees, $500 materials stipend paid to the artists and Master level membership at Pratt Fine Arts Center. This scholarship is open to visual artists of color at any career stage, aged 18 years and olders. Deadline is Nov. 23, 2015. Go to http://www.pratt.org/classes/scholarships/ for more details.
Seattle Asian Art Museum’s “First Free Saturday” event features “Diwali Lights & Lanterns”, the annual Indian festival of lights. With lantern making, dance performance, fashion show and traditional music. Free but RSVP requested. 11am – 2pm in the Fuller Garden Court on Sat., Nov. 7. In related news, tickets are now on sale for the 8th Annual Diwali Ball set for Sat., Oct. 24, 2015 at 7:30pm at the Seattle Art Museum. Includes Bollywood Grooves by DJ Aanshul, an Indian dinner by Saffron Grill, dance performances by Rhythms of India, Pratidhwani & Bollyworks, Dohl drummers, henna and fortune tellers. This fundraising event will benefit SAM’s artistic and community engagement programs. Tickets are limited and the event is 21 and over only. For more information, call (206) 654-3217.
The Japanese Culture Day Festival known as “Bunka no Hi” takes place on Sun., Nov. 8 at JCCCW from 11am – 5pm with cultural activities, games etc. 1414 S. Weller St.
Washington Lawyers for the Arts present their “4th Annual Art Law Institute for Artists and the Attorneys Who Represent Them” on Dec. 1 from 8:30am – 4:30pm at PerkinsCoie at 1201 Third Ave. in Seattle.
Friends of Asian Art Association is an all-volunteer organization that connects its members and the community to educations, cultural and social events tied to Asia and its diverse art forms and culture. Enjoy year-round activities and meet new friends who share similar interests by becoming a member. All are welcome to the activities but members get special discounts and perks. Go to FriendsOfAsianArt@earthlink or call (206) 522-5438. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Alvord Board Room. (206) 522-5438 or email Friends [email protected] to make reservations and buy tickets.
Asian Arts Initiative is a community-based, multi-disciplinary arts center located in Chinatown North, Philadelphia. They are now looking for guest curators to coordinate some of their exhibitions. Please go to www.asianartsinitiative.org for details.
Classical pianist Mitsuko Uchida is considered one of the world’s best interpreters of Mozart and Beethoven on the planet. Painter Tadanori Yokoo cast a giant shadow with his artwork from the 70’s inspired and buoyed by the popular culture of the day. Both of them part of a select group who received the Praemium Imperiale, Japan’s highest cultural honor which carries a prize of $124,000. Established in 1989, the prize recognizes outstanding achievement in the cultural categories of architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater/film. The awards ceremony takes place in Tokyo on Oct. 21, 2015. British artist Anish Kapoor is a past winner.
The 2016 Annual Washington State Juried Art Competition is open to all Washington State artists. Deadline is Nov. 16, 2015 with over $10,000 in prizes. To enter go to CallForEntry.org. For more information, go to CVGShow.com or call (360) 551-7526.