After many valiant harumpfings about visiting the Yokohama print exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I finally made the 5 minute trek to enjoy some great prints. After the ports of Japan were pried open to the west in 1859, cultural entanglements including misunderstandings and misinformation along with the flow of goods and money poured and flowed like the sailors' libations that had just arrived in town. Originally intended to be viewed by Japanese people to learn and vicariously experience foreigners some of the specifics of the cultures depicted were lost in translation due to the hurry meet the demand for the prints. Russian sailors next to Italian flags in front of French buildings is just one example. Seeing how the artists were coping with depicting the new textiles and animals coming into the island was very consoling as I struggle with painting and other works from time to time. These guys who were making these prints were masters of their trade and its always reassuring that no matter how long one works at their trade new things and changes will bring challenges. Unfortunately the museum decided not to print a book of the work so I've tried to cull some images that are close to what they have.*
|Americans in front of a steamship|
It was nice to see and be introduced to these prints as so many that I've come across are of "The Floating World": Japan's aristocracy and pleasure gardens. If you are interested in the floating worlds and are in Philadelphia this weekend you should stop by the banks of the Schuylkyll River to view and interact with "Light Drift". Parker Lee of Parker Lee fame, has been in town working to install these works for Meejin Yoon of Boston so stop by and support their efforts to put some magic in your fall evenings. I bet you it will be better than an Applebee's Magician Night. Believe me no strings are attached, its free. More info can be found HERE. Time to get back to sailboats. . .
*After writing this and not wanting to take the effort to rearrange things once again HERE is a link to all 90 images in the exhibition on the Philadelphia Museum of Arts website. I guess I'll have to print my own book now, huh? Only $150 if you want a color print from the museum and a 4 week wait.