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Collaborative Exhibition Project between the Tokyo National Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

Collaborative Exhibition Project between the Tokyo National Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art / Heiseikan Special Exhibition Gallery 1 & 2   October 2, 2018 (Tue) - December 9, 2018 (Sun)

  

This exhibition project, an exchange between the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the USA and the Tokyo National Museum, explores the meaning of Japanese art and the aesthetic values it embodies. It also proposes new ways of appreciating the beauty of Japanese art before modern eras, which was created within a society very different from that of the West, by contrasting it with the achievements of the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), who challenged the values of Western art much later.

It seems that now, approximately 150 years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the aesthetic values and spirit originally found in Japan are disappearing from the hearts of contemporary Japanese, and that many of them, when visiting museums, view Japanese paintings as they would works by Western artists such as Van Gogh or Monet. By becoming familiar with the traditional aesthetics nurtured in Japan, however, one can begin to appreciate the beauty of Japanese art on a deeper level.

This project will enconrage visitors to take a fresh look at Japanese art by presenting two exhibitions together. One is The Essential Duchamp, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which will introduce the creative activities of a figure now widely seen as the "father of contemporary art" by showcasing Philadelphia’s definitive collection of his works. The other is Rediscovering Japan through Duchamp, and consists of Japanese art in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum.

Duchamp challenged the values of traditional Western art by exhibiting mass-produced industrial products as “art.” 400 years earlier in Japan, a tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522–91) found beauty in simple dishes or bowls made for everyday use. This is just one example of unexpected congruity between the fruit of Duchamp’s creative pursuits, which comprised the creation of new artistic values, and the traditional aesthetics qualities of Japan.

While exploring in an accessible manner Duchamp’s creative pursuits together with his life, this ambitious exhibition project will also highlight the unique qualities of Japanese aesthetics, such as finding beauty in everyday implements and attributing value to deformed and distorted forms, as seen in the art of the Momoyama period around the late 16th century.
It is our sincere hope that even art lovers whose major interest may not be traditional Japan will be inspired by the aesthetics of Japanese art through the "essential Duchamp".

 

About the Exhibitions and Highlights

General Information

List of Works
PDF (222KB)

About the Exhibition and Highlights


PART 1: The Essential Duchamp, Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Marcel Duchamp’s death
1. A Painter’s Life
2. "Can Works be Made Which are Not ‘Of art’?"
3. Rrose Sélavy
4. Our Lady of Desire

PART 1: The Essential Duchamp, Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Marcel Duchamp’s death


Duchamp logo

The Essential Duchamp, organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will present a rich and engaging account of the life and work of one of the most original and influential artists of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968).
Marcel Duchamp profoundly changed the way in which we think about the creation and interpretation of art. He earned his celebrity a century ago when his painting Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912) was exhibited at the groundbreaking Armory Show in New York, where it sparked reactions ranging from admiration to outrage. Twenty-five years later, Duchamp observed to an interviewer that the painting and its scandal had in some ways overtaken his story, leaving him "only a shadowy figure behind the reality of that painting." Our understanding of his complaint must be tempered, however, by the knowledge that Duchamp preferred to glide in relative silence through the world of the avant-garde. An aura of mystery was fundamental to his persona.
Organized by Matthew Affron, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will consist of approximately one hundred and forty works of art and important archival and documentary items, nearly all drawn from the Museum's collection. It will be arranged as a survey of Duchamp's more than sixty years of activity as an artist. Threaded throughout the exhibition and central to its narrative structure will be the story of Duchamp's life in France and the United States. The exhibition will be divided into four sections.

 

The Essential Duchamp was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

 

  1. A Painter’s Life

Duchamp took up painting as an adolescent in the summer of 1902, and for the next eight years he drifted among various idioms of innovative art: Impressionism, Symbolism, and Fauvism. This modernist apprenticeship led to a brief but extremely original engagement with Cubism and the production of numerous important works including Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912), the composition that had a scandal at the Armory Show in New York and made its author an art celebrity in the United States. But in the autumn of 1912, the twenty-five-year-old Duchamp to a momentous decision: he resolved to abandon the painter's craft and seek new ways of working.
The first chapter in the life and the work of Marcel Duchamp is the story of his making and unmaking as a painter.
 

Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)
Marcel Duchamp
1912
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950
 

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  2. "Can Works be Made Which are Not ‘Of art’?"

Starting in 1912 Duchamp worked toward the execution of his magnum opus, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23), a picture on glass that overturned the ground rules of painting as conventionally understood. In 1913, the first of his so-called readymades came into being. Readymades, functional objects deprived of their utilitarian identity, blurred the line between fine art and mass production and challenged commonsense notions about the priority of the artist's hand and the difference between original and copies in art.
In 1915, Duchamp emigrated to New York City. It was there, in 1917, that a notorious object entitled Fountain triggered the first public discussion of the idea of the readymade.
 

*Readymades
The Philadelphia Museum of Art holds 6 readymades out of 12 crated by Duchamp. From the collection, this exhibition will present Bicycle Wheel, Bottle rack, and Fountain.

*The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even ("The Large Glass")
*The exhibition will show the 1980 replica (Komaba Museum, The Universty of Tokyo) of the 1915–1923 original
This famous work was left unfinished after Duchamp worked on it from 1915 to 1923. The glass was accidentally shattered after the work’s first public display at the Brooklyn Museum in 1926. Duchamp repaired The Large Glass and accepted the cracks as part of the work.
Bicycle Wheel
Marcel Duchamp
1964 (replica of 1913 original)
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Gift of Galleria Schwarz, 1964-175-1
 
 

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  3. Rrose Sélavy

Duchamp spent the better part of the interwar period based in Paris. Having already abandoned the activity of painting, he now shifted his professional energies to playing chess. But he also invented an artistic female persona named Rrose Sélavy, and used this assumed identity to pursue new activities in the art world. Duchamp pursued experiments in word-play (puns and verbal games) and also made unconventional art works based upon his long study of the principles of perspective and optics. These concerns dovetailed in "Anemic Cinema", the short avantgarde film he produced in 1926 with the assistance of his frequent accomplice, the photographer Man Ray. Meanwhile, by the mid-1930s, Duchamp had become more and more interested in an outgrowth of the readymade idea, namely the notion of producing and marketing replicas in limited editions of his earlier and more recent works. This idea led to the painstaking fabrication of a portable museum of miniature replicas, (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy Box in a Valise) (1935–41). Throughout the interwar period, and then once again as a wartime emigre in New York, Duchamp also worked as a fellow traveler of the international Surrealist group (Duchamp became an American citizen in 1955).
 

From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy Box in a Valise
1935-1941, 1963-1965 (contents); Series F, 1966 edition
Red leather valise containing various media on various supports: collotype, relief halftone, screenprint, offset lithograph, photograph with surface coating, printed color and hand coloring on paper, cardboard, clear acetate, vinyl, glass, and ceramic
Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of Jacqueline, Paul and Peter Matisse in memory of their mother Alexina Duchamp
 

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  4. Our Lady of Desire

In the final two decades of his life, Duchamp achieved legendary status, first among artists and art-world insiders and then in the broader culture. During this same period, he went almost totally underground as an artist. Working in near-total secret within his New York studio, he created his final masterpiece, Étant donnés (1946–66). This room-sized, three-dimensional construction built around a life-case mannequin of a female nude offered a final reflection on themes that had preoccupied Duchamp across his career: the nature of the erotic, the artistic implications of modern engineering, science, and mathematics, the aesthetics of realism and the psychology of vision. In 1969, after the artist's death, Étant donnés was placed in proximity to its epic predecessor The Large Glass, which some years before had joined the principal collection of Duchamp's art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was only once Étant donnés was revealed to the world that the unifying logic of the rest of his late production, which was related to it, became apparent.
 

Duchamp Sitting by a Replica of Fountain


Duchamp Sitting by a Replica of
Fountain
Photographer unknown
Gelatin silver print; 1965
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives: Gift of Jacqueline,Paul and Peter Matisse in memory of their mother Alexina Duchamp

 
Teeny Duchamp beside the Doors for Etant donnés in or near La Bisbal d' Empordà
Photographer unknown
Gelatin silver plate; Early 1960s
Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of Jacqueline, Paul and Peter Matisse in memory of their mother Alexina Duchamp

 
About the Duchamp Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Museum contains more than 200 paintings, sculptures, prints, and works in other mediums by Marcel Duchamp. The core of these holdings came as part of the important bequest of Walter and Louise Arensberg; Duchamp had served as the couple’s advisor and helped guide their decision to leave their collection to the Museum in 1950. Soon after, the Museum also received The Large Glass as a bequest from another important collector, Katherine S. Dreier. Étant donnés entered the collection following Duchamp’s death in 1968 and has occupied its own dedicated space since 1969, according to his wishes.

In addition to works of art by Duchamp, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collections of archival and reference resources related to Duchamp are the most extensive anywhere. They include personal papers, photographs, and preparatory materials compiled by the artist’s widow, Alexina (Teeny) Duchamp, as well as a variety of rare and unique research materials relating to the artist’s life, work, and legacy, collected by Philadelphia Museum of Art staff. The Arensberg Archive further complements these holdings, with records related to the couple’s collection, correspondence, and entire personal library documenting their interactions with artists and intellectuals in Duchamp’s circle. In total, the Museum’s library and archive hold more than 42,500 documents related to Duchamp.

Duchamp logo

 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, East Entrance.

 
Philadelphia Museum of Art, East Entrance
Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

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PART 2: Rediscovering Japan through Duchamp

  1. Readymades from 400 Years Ago

The flower vase is attributed to one of three that Sen no Rikyu made from bamboo he gathered on Mount Nirayama in Izu when he accompanied the warlord Hideyoshi on his attack on Odawara in 1590. For this simple work, Rikyu used a length of bamboo with two nodes and cut a window into the upper section. Rather than using an elaborate ceramic vase crafted by an artisan, he transformed this piece of bamboo into a vase and attributed it with great value. This is the perhaps the ultimate everyday object, or “readymade.”
 

Flower Vase with Side Opening, Known as "Onjoji"


Flower Vase with Side Opening, Known as "Onjoji"

Attributed to Sen no Rikyu
Azuchi-Momoyama period, 1590
Tokyo National Museum
 
Black Raku Tea Bowl, Known as "Amadera"



Black Raku Tea Bowl, Known as "Mukashibanashi"
Studio of Chojiro; Raku ware, Kuroraku type
Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century
Tokyo National Museum
 
 

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  2. Japanese Realism

Japanese painting long depicted its subjects through symbolic images, with realistic portrayal usually being of no concern to artists. In the Edo period (1603–1868), however, the ukiyo-e artist Sharaku, who did not study traditional painting who specialized in portraying women on stage were depicted as women in ukiyo-e prints. Sharaku faithfully depicted them with their masculine features and was criticized for this attempt at realism.
 

Actor Otani Oniji Ⅲ as Yakko Edobei


The Actor Otani Oniji Ⅲ as Edobei
By Toshusai Sharaku
Edo period, 1794
Important Cultural Property
Tokyo National Museum 
[On exhibit October 2–28, 2018]
 
Ten physiognomic types of women, Coquettish type



Ten Physiognomics of Women: The Fickle Type
By Kitagawa Utamaro
Edo period, 18th century
Important Cultural Property
Tokyo National Museum
[On exhibit October 30–November 18, 2018]
 
Actor Nakayama Tomisaburo as Miyagino



The Actor Iwai Hanshiro IV as the Wet Nurse Shigenoi

By Toshusai Sharaku
Edo period, 1794
Important Cultural Property
Tokyo National Museum
[On exhibit November 20–December 9 2018]

 
 

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  3. The Passage of Time in Japan

In Japan, the art of the illustrated scroll developed in unique ways. Particularly noteworthy is the compositional method called ijidozu, in which successive events were depicted against the same background. The same character, for example, might be drawn multiple times inside the same room, and thus the flow of time and the progression of the story could be expressed within a single section of the scroll. Whoever unraveled a scroll and viewed such an illustration would feel as though the characters were moving across the background. We could say, therefore, that the illustrated scrolls of Japan were the precursors of animation.
 

Narrative Picture Scroll of the Chronicle of the Heiji Civil War: The Removal of the Imperial Family to Rokuhara (detail)
Narrative Picture Scroll of the Chronicle of the Heiji Civil War: The Removal of the Imperial Family to Rokuhara
Kamakura period, 13th century
National Treasure
Tokyo National Museum
[On exhibit October 2–28, 2018]
 
 

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  4. The Original and the Copy

Artistic value is most often attributed to original works, created independently by artists after careful thought or flashes of inspiration. In premodern Japan, however, creating "copies" of past works was extremely common practice. This fact is illustrated best by a group of artists called the Kano school, who reached an unrivaled position among painters and continued their lineage for an astounding 400 years. These artists created countless paintings that were based on "model drawings," which they also produced continuously through the centuries.
 

Dragon By Tawaraya Sotatsu
Dragon
By Tawaraya Sotatsu
Edo period, 17th century
Tokyo National Museum
Dragon By Kano Tan’yu
Dragon
By Kano Tan’yu
Edo period, 17th century
Tokyo National Museum
[On exhibit October 30–December 9, 2018]

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  5. Calligraphy as "Art"

In China and surrounding regions, calligraphy was considered the apex of creative expression. In Japan, however, calligraphy was connected with painting and various applied arts in unique ways. Hon’ami Koetsu (1558–1637),a prominent artist ,had leading painters such as Tawaraya Sotatsu decorate paper with images over which he would brush his calligraphy. Not only the meaning of the characters, but also their forms and positioning had a direct influence on the beauty of these works.
 

Cherry Trees and Kerria Plants
Cherry Trees and Kerria Rose
Inscription: Attributed to Hon’ami Koestu; Painting: Tawaraya Sotatsu
Edo period, 17th century
Tokyo National Museum
[On exhibit October 2–28, 2018]
 
Writing Box Design of a poem with the word "funabashi" (pontoon bridge) in maki-e lacquer



Writing Box, Pontoon bridge design in maki-e lacquer
By Hon’ami Koetsu
Edo period, 17th cenutury
National Treasure
Tokyo National Museum
 
 

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General Information

Dates Tuesday, October 2 - Sunday, December 9, 2018
Venue Heiseikan Special exhibition room 1 & 2, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00, Fridays, Saturdays, October 31 and November 1 until 21:00
(Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, October 8) and Tuesday, October 9
Admission Adults: 1200 (1000/900) yen
University students: 900 (700/600) yen
High school students: 700 (500/400) yen
Junior high school students and under: Free 

 

* Prices shown in parentheses indicate advance and group (more than 20 persons) discount tickets.
*

Advance tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours excluding the last 30 minutes) and other major ticketing agencies from August 24 to October 1, 2018.
Sales of advance tickets have ended.


Set admission tickets for the exhibitions "The Buddhist Sculptures of Daiho’onji, Kyoto"
Adults: 2000(1800) yen
* The price shown in parentheses indicates advance discount ticket.
* Set admission tickets will be on sale at the museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours excluding the last 30 minutes) from August 10, 2018.

online tickets

* Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each.
* Tickets to this exhibition include one admission to the regular exhibitions on the date of entry.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Philadelphia Museum of Art (The Essential Duchamp), Tokyo National Museum
With the Special Cooperation of
 Canon Inc.
With the Cooperation of Nissha Printing Communications, Inc., Minebea Mitsumi Inc.
With the Support of J-WAVE, Inc., TBS Radio, Inc.
Catalog The exhibition catalog (PART 1: 3,000 yen, PART 2: 1,500yen) is available at the Heiseikan Special Exhibition Shop and at the museum shop in Honkan (Japanese Gallery).
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600  (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website http://www.duchamp2018.jp/(in Japanese)

 

Touring Schedule for The Essential Duchamp

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (Seoul, Korea); Saturday, December 22, 2018 - Sunday, April 7, 2019
Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia); April - August, 2019 (tentative dates)
* The second part Rediscovering Japan through Duchamp will be exhibited only at the Tokyo National Museum.
The international tour has been made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
TERRA

 

Related Events

Heiseikan Auditorium  October 6, 2018 (Sat)   13:30 - 15:00   RESERVE_FINISH
Heiseikan Auditorium  October 16, 2018 (Tue)   14:00 - 15:00   RESERVE_FINISH

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