November 1, 2014

PoNJA Seminar Series

Japan Society

Manabu Ikeda, Foretoken (detail), 2008. Pen, acrylic ink on paper, mounted on boards; 72 x 132 inches. Collection of Sustainable Investor Co. Ltd. © Manabu Ikeda. Courtesy Mizuma Art Gallery.

A monster tsunami uproots a city. Modern tough guys lock samurai-style in battle. Candy-colored streams of animals and flowers hyper-pixilate. These dramatic visual moments are among those to be encountered in Garden of Unearthly Delights: Works by Ikeda, Tenmyouya & teamLab at the Japan Society Gallery through January 11, 2015. 

The intricate allegorical paintings, installation, and digital works on view were created by three artistic visionaries shaping Japanese art and culture today: Manabu Ikeda, Hisashi Tenmyouya, and the art and technology collective teamLab. Each tackles urgent cultural and social issues in a manner informed by today’s spectacle and information overload. But each also harkens back to the Japanese tradition of the master craftsmen, takumi, in the level of technical precision and detail they bring to the creation of complex, bravura fantasies.

Garden of Unearthly Delights comprises 25 works of art. To help viewers navigate the array of allusions in these densely layered works of art, the exhibition also features contextual works, ranging from ephemera, including an ’80s paperback edition of Nausicaä in the Valley of the Wind, the Japanese post-apocalyptic fantasy illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki, to master ukiyo-e prints and a hanging scroll painting by the 18th-century artist Itō Jakuchū.

With Garden of Unearthly Delights, Japan Society Gallery joins forces with PoNJA-GenKon to become a hub for contemporary Japanese art scholarship. PoNJA-GenKon, an acronym for Post-1945 Japanese Art Discussion Group/Gendai Bijutsu Kondankai, is a group of scholars, curators and researchers interested in the study of contemporary Japanese art. Three distinctive scholars from PoNJA partake in a series of intensive seminars focused on their areas of expertise in an exclusive setting inside the exhibition space.

Session 1 with Dr. Mika Yoshitake
Tuesday, November 4, 6:30–8:30pm
Dr. Mika Yoshitake, Assistant Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., and curator of the groundbreaking 2012 exhibition on Japan’s process-based art movement Mono-ha (the School of Things) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, unpacks Japan’s 1960s and 1970s through Lee Ufan’s theories on art and culture.

Session 2 with Dr. Ming Tiampo
Monday, December 8, 6:30–8:30pm
Dr. Ming Tiampo, Associate Professor of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and co-curator of the highly acclaimed 2013 exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim Museum, addresses Japan’s artistic internationalism beginning in the 1950s.

Session 3 with Dr. Reiko Tomii
Monday, January 5, 6:30–8:30pm
Dr. Reiko Tomii, art historian, independent curator, and the co-founder of PoNJA-GenKon, with her numerous publications in the field and many curatorial experiences that include Tate Modern’s 2001 exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis, elucidates the definition of gendai bijutsu (contemporary art) in the Japanese context.


Exhibition-related programming for Garden of Unearthly Delights is assisted by American Chai Trust, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and David Teiger.

Arts & Culture Lecture Programs are made possible by funding from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.


Advance registration required here or call the box office at T +1 212 715 1258
10% discount available for tickets purchased by phone.
Box office hours: Monday–Friday 11am–6pm, weekends 11am–5pm


Press contact
Shannon Jowett: [email protected] / T +1 212 715 1205


Japan Society Gallery presents PoNJA seminar series

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