• USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • 46 North Los Robles Avenue
  • Pasadena, CA 91101
  • United States
  • Friday, February 08, 2019 - Sunday, July 14, 2019
  • 30 years after their initial showing in 1989, 77 prints by the artist, Tsuruya Kokei will return to the USC Pacific Asia Museum for a limited time. Kokei is widely celebrated as one of Japan’s leading contemporary print artists. The British Museum lauded Kokei for producing Japan’s “most notable Kabuki prints” in the post-war era.

    Tsuruya Kokei

    Known for his bold portraits of Japan’s leading theatrical icons, Kokei work captures the intense color, movement and emotion of kabuki. Kokei diverges from traditional design, carving and printing his own work. His use of delicate paper creates juxtaposition in his works – exhibiting emotionally dynamic images with fragile materials to create objects of extraordinary power.

    Modern Kabuki Print Exhibition

    The exhibition presents all of Kokei actor prints from 1984-1993. Because the artist limited his editions, such a complete collection is unprecedented. To explore the broader contours of Kabuki actor prints, Kokei work contextualized by actor prints by Sharaku as well as two-dozen by contemporary Japanese and western artists. This comparative material is loaned from a leading private collection of modern Kabuki portraits.

    The exhibition utilizes the complex issues of identity in Kabuki—where actors take on multiple roles and males take on female roles—to explore broader questions of self definition and its representation. It includes several Kokei emotionally torqued self-portraits produced after he gave up actor prints in 2000. It concludes by examining how kabuki actor imagery has inspired pop images over the last 20 years, demonstrating the productive link between Japan’s historic ukiyo (floating world) and our own culture.

  • Cost: $10.00
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  • USC Pacific Asia Museum
  • T: (626) 449-2742
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