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Exhibitions

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Commemorative Exhibition of New Acquisition
KISHIDA Riusei and the Morimura & Matsukata Collection

2022.01.29 sat. - 03.06 sun.

In March 2021, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto acquired a group of 42 works by the painter Kishida Ryusei. This brings the total number of Kishida’s works in the museum collection to approximately 50 items, providing a complete overview of the artist’s creative activities and exemplifying every stylistic change that occurred from the beginning to the end of his career.

In this exhibit, designed to commemorate these new acquisitions, we present all of the works by Kishida Ryusei in the museum collection. We also focus on some such as Self-Portrait Wearing a Coat, which was formerly part of the Morimura Yoshiyuki Collection, and Still Life (A Bottle, an Apple and a Teacup), which was part of Morimura’s younger brother Matsukata Saburo’s collection, while taking a look back at the role of such collections in honoring the work of Kishida.

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Salon Culture and the Pictorial Arts of Kyoto and Osaka

2022.03.23 wed. - 05.08 sun.

In the Edo Period (1603-1868), Kyoto was distinguished by a host of highly individualistic painters. These included literati painters such as Ikeno Taiga and Yosa Buson; Maruyama Okyo, who garnered popularity for works that he were painted from life; and Goshun, who studied with Buson and Okyo, and went on to establish his own lyrical style. At the same time, in Osaka, there were figures such as Kimura Kenkado and Okada Beisanjin, who worked primarily as merchants, and countless writers, who were devoted to painting as a pastime. Whether samurai, merchant, painter, Confucian scholar or Buddhist priest, these people were part of an expansive network. As suggested by the fact that Kimura Kenkado, who is seen as a central figure in the Osaka art world, studied with Taiga, these personal interactions extended to Kyoto. There were also many painters in Osaka whose style was descended from the Maruyama-Shijo school of Okyo and Goshun. And there were painters such as Nishiyama Hoen, an Osaka-based artist who painted from life and studied with Goshun’s younger brother, Matsumura Keibun, whose work grew out of the close relationship between Kyoto and Osaka. This tight circle of learned people might best be described as a salon culture. In addition, water transport, which made use of the Yodo River, fostered exchanges between the artists, and played an important part in shaping this rich salon culture. Many cultural figures from other parts of Japan also assembled in Kyoto and Osaka, attracting venerable authorities such as Uragami Gyokudo, Tanomura Chikuden, and Tani Buncho to the salon.
In addition to introducing some of the most important works by artists who were active between the Edo Period and modern times in Kyoto and Osaka, this exhibition focuses on the salon culture that emerged as a result of the relationship between these figures.
Based on joint research we have conducted in the past three years with the British Museum, SOAS University of London, and Kansai University Open Research Center for Asian Studies, this large-scale exhibition sets out to survey the art of Kyoto and Osaka from an international perspective.

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MONDO: The Front Runner of Film Poster Art

2022.05.19 thu. - 07.18 mon.

Posters have been at the heart of film advertising for more than a century. While their styles have evolved over the years and from place to place, they have always generated excitement among all who love to go to the movies. Today, as the Internet takes an increasingly prominent role in advertising media, a movement is underway to restore the movie poster as an art form existing outside the realm of advertising.
At the forefront of this movement is Mondo, a company based in Austin, Texas, U.S.A. Mondo commissions keenly perceptive designers and illustrators to create original posters that transcend the boundaries between “old” and “new” movies. Mondo was established in 2004 as a T-shirt store affiliated with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain. Since then, it has produced movie soundtracks, artworks, and other film-related items. But more than anything else, it is its screen-printed movie posters―sold as limited-edition merchandise through its online store―that have attracted passionate fans around the world.
MONDO: The Front Runner of Film Poster Art is the ninth in a series of film poster exhibitions held jointly by The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and the National Film Archive of Japan. It will present 71 posters provided by the Mondo art collective. Their subjects will cover everything from silent movies to the latest productions. While Mondo’s posters retain the essence of the original films, that each artist’s individual style has been respected is unmistakable. The result is a collection that is in no way uniform. We invite you to enter the world of “alternative posters,” a domain distinctly different from advertising, by seeing the actual prints, each rich with texture.

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Kaburaki Kiyokata: A Retrospective

2022.05.27 fri. - 07.10 sun.

Twenty twenty-two marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1972), an artist who is esteemed for his bijinga (pictures of beautiful women), which rank with the work of Uemura Shoen. This commemorative exhibition, a major retrospective of Kaburaki’s works made up of approximately 110 Nihonga (Japanese-style) paintings, marks the first time that a retrospective of this scale has ever been held at this museum, and the first time in 45 years that one has been held in Kyoto.

Born in Tokyo at a time when it still retained strong characteristics of Edo (as the city was known until 1868), Kaburaki, a genuine Meiji-era Tokyoite, created a host of works dealing with Edo and Tokyo throughout his life. One of Kaburaki’s most notable works, Tsukiji Akashi-cho Town, disappeared for many years until eventually resurfacing in 2018. Not only is this one of the artist’s preeminent works, it is also considered to be one of the finest examples of bijinga in the history of modern Japanese painting. As the painting and two others works, which came to light at the same time, Hama-cho Gashi Zone and Shintomi-cho Town, are contained in the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo Collection, it was possible for us to present the trilogy at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (which is affiliated with the Tokyo facility) for the entire exhibition period. In addition to Kaburaki’s genres paintings of Edo and Tokyo, he is known for works that deal with literature, drama, kabuki, and rakugo storytelling. The artist developed a deep familiarity with these themes as a child under the influence of his father Jono Saigiku, a writer of popular fiction who was also involved in establishing the Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun (Tokyo Daily News), the forerunner to the Mainichi Shimbun. Also on view throughout the exhibition will be Kaburaki’s works Scene from the Kabuki Play Nozaki-mura and Portrait of San’yutei Encho, a designated Important Cultural Property. We hope you will enjoy viewing the full scope of Kaburaki Kiyokata’s work, which extends far beyond the realm of bijinga.

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Past Exhibitions