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TAKING THE ART WORLD BY STORM:
Japanese Women Star in International Exhibitions
February 27, 2001
As ever, international art exhibitions will be held all over the world in 2001. Japanese women are the center of attention for their exciting contributions to art more than ever before. The commissioner of the Japanese section of the forty-ninth Venice Biennale and the curator of the seventh International Istanbul Biennial, to begin in June and September, respectively, are both women from Japan. The two artists attracting greatest attention among those whose works will be featured at the first Yokohama Triennale are also both Japanese women. At the dawn of the new century, Japanese women are powerfully stepping forth into the limelight of the art world.
Having worked in the field of contemporary art since the 1970s, including stints editing an art magazine and publicizing Japanese art abroad through the Japan Foundation, Osaka is currently art director for the Contemporary Art Center at Art Tower Mito. She chose the works of three artists to take from Japan to Venice: Masato Nakamura, who uses urban neon signs in his work; Naoya Hatakeyama, who has photographed such subjects as underground pipes and mines; and Yukio Fujimoto, who uses sound to create art from space itself. Osaka explained her choice thus: "I want to create an experience-centered exhibition using not just sight but all five senses." Unlike in other years, no overall theme was decided upon for the upcoming Venice Biennale. Instead, "A Human Stage" was suggested as a general direction to the work on display. The effort of Osaka as an organizer is expected to make 2001 a vintage year for the exhibition.
International Istanbul Biennial
Hasegawa and Osaka are among the highest-placed women in the Japanese art world. In the West, however, it is by no means unusual for women to occupy such posts as director of a top museum or curator of an international exhibition. While the track records of women like Osaka and Hasegawa have been more widely recognized abroad than in Japan, their achievements undoubtedly represent a leap forward for Japanese women.
Even though the Japanese art world is renowned for its conservatism, in 2001 it looks like it will be Japanese women who dominate the headlines.
Copyright (c) 2001 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.