Writer: Bradley Paul
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Japanese prints will be shown in UI Museum of Art Jan. 18-March 23
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will host "The
Woodblock Prints of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi: Samurai Stories," a retrospective
of the popular and prolific Japanese artist, Jan. 18 through March 23.
In conjunction with the exhibition, UI art faculty member Robert Rorex will
present a slide lecture on Kuniyoshi and a tour of the exhibition as part
of the weekly Perspectives series at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19.
An opening reception for the museum's new exhibitions will be 5-7 p.m. Friday,
Jan. 24, in the museum. The reception will feature "Artist and Critic:
A Dialogue," a discussion at 5:30 p.m. between art critic Eleanor Heartney
and artist Alan Sonfist, whose work also goes on display Jan. 25.
Kuniyoshi's intricate woodblock prints, produced at the end of the Edo period
in the 19th century, reflect the social and artistic turbulence of his time.
Japanese society was undergoing radical changes as the ruling Shogun class
ended Japan's centuries-old isolationist policies and began a campaign of
This collection of 22 of Kuniyoshi's prints focuses particularly on warrior
or Samurai stories. The genre, which was recognized as a celebration of the
heroic Japanese past, became popular following the 1832 imperial decree forbidding
the production of prints depicting the morally suspect red-light districts
and Noh theatre actresses that were popular among Japanese print-buyers.
Many of Kuniyoshi's prints are in horizontal triptych form, a format particularly
suited to action panoramas. Their portrayals of the adventures, battles and
romances of the Samurai are evocative of such Western tales as Robin Hood
and King Arthur, which were also produced during a period of cultural transition.
The works are on loan from a local private collection.
The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission
to the museum is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots
across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center,
which is just north of the museum.