Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan

Exhibition Website

Oct 16 2016 - Jan 8 2017

Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan showcases extraordinary visual material documenting Japan's rise as a military power in East Asia, starting with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, then depicting events of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), two wars between Japan and its imperial neighbors China and Russia, and then culminating with Pearl Harbor.

The exhibition focuses on the confidence that Japan gained from its victories against these two nations through vividly illustrated works: paintings on folding screens and hanging scrolls, drawings and sketchbooks, color woodblock prints, lithographs, stereographs, illustrated books and magazines, postcards, trade cards, game boards, textiles, and other materials.

The exhibition is possible due to the generous gift of 1,357 Japanese prints and related works of art given to the Saint Louis Art Museum in 2010 by local donors, Charles and Rosalyn Lowenhaupt.

Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan is organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and curated by Philip Hu, associate curator-in-charge of Asian art, in collaboration with Rhiannon Paget, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art. The exhibition is supported in part by a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The exhibition catalogue is supported in part by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Financial assistance has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Conflicts of Interest will be on view in the Main Exhibition Galleries from October 16, 2016—January 8, 2017.

Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, showcases the Saint Louis Art Museum's collection of Japanese military prints and related materials―one of the largest collections of such works in the world. The 1,400 objects in the collection are mostly color woodblock prints, but the holdings also include paintings, lithographs, photographs, stereographs, books, magazines, maps, game boards, textiles, ceramics, toys, sketchbooks, and commemorative materials. This extraordinary body of visual works chronicles Japan's rise as a modern nation from the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868 through the aftermath of Pearl Harbor in 1942, with a focus on the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars. Conflicts of Interest will bring to light an important aspect of Japan's visual culture and the narratives it circulated for its citizens, allies, and enemies on the world stage.

  • Asian
  • Japanese

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