Art & Design

Art Historicism’ and Contemporary Japanese Art

18 April 2011, London

John Szostak
Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow 2010-2011

Assistant Professor of Japanese Art History, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Most people interested in recent Japanese art are familiar with the manga-inspired work associated with Murakami Takashi and the Superflat movement. This lecture addresses a less-discussed but important trend in contemporary Japanese art that Szostak describes as ‘art historicism.’ The talk focuses on several contemporary Japanese artists known for reworking well-known premodern works of art and traditional styles, and considers their efforts to negotiate conflicting cultural and artistic identities in the increasingly globalized arena of contemporary art.

Dr John Szostak is Assistant Professor of Japanese Art History at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, in Honolulu, Hawai’i. His BA is from Colgate University, and he completed his masters and doctorate degrees at the University of Washington. He specializes in the art history of the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa eras (1860s-1930s), with special focus on the modernization of pre-Meiji Japanese painting modes. As a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow, his research has focused on the activities of the Kokuga Society (Kokuga Sosaku Kyokai, Society for the Creation of Japanese Painting), a progressive Nihonga exhibition society that was active from 1918 to 1928. The resulting monograph will also consider the history of the juried art exhibition in Japan and its consequences, the impact of Western Post-Impressionism on neo-traditional painters, and the changing paradigm and social role of the artist in Japan during the early decades of the twentieth century.
18 April 2011, 18.45

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Khalili Lecture Theatre, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London W1CH 0XG

To book your place please contact the Japan Society office on tel: 020 7828 6330 or email


The Japan Society