November 2020 Message from the Executive Director

Friends in Japan have been telling me how much they are enjoying visiting their favourite spots for viewing the autumn colours (紅葉 kôyô) this year, with many less tourists than normal. A year ago I was in the Tôhoku region of northern Japan with colleagues from English Heritage researching stone circles and enjoying the mountainous scenery cloaked in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows and making plans, now deferred by a year, to compare the prehistoric Jômon monuments with Stonehenge. The coming of the autumn colours is one of the great predictables of nature in Japan, in an environment in which the science of predicting the unpredictable is an art form […]

Report for the talk “Online Lecture: Please Draw Freely: Gutai Individualism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism”

Sainsbury Institute’s October 2020 Third Thursday Lecture welcomed a fascinating talk entitled, “Please Draw Freely: Gutai Individualism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism,” by Dr Ming Tiampo, Professor of Art History and co-director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Carleton University. The talk introduced the Gutai art group as a major agent in shaping a new democratic world in post-WWII Japan. Founded in 1954, the art group championed the idea of creating what its founder Yoshihara Jirō coined as “no one has done before.” As a result, their zeal for innovation and originality produced a range of works: painting, installation, performance, participatory art, experimental film, cybernetics, to name a […]

A New Article- The making and evolution of Hokusai’s Great Wave by Capucine Korenberg

In conjunction with the British Museum’s record-breaking 2017 exhibition ‘Hokusai beyond the Great Wave’, colleagues from the British Museum and SOAS have been collaborating on an AHRC funded research project ‘Late Hokusai: Thought, Technique, Society (2016-2019). One of the key themes of the project is ‘connoisseurship’. Hokusai’s single-sheet print ‘The Great Wave’ is probably the best know print in the world. Its enduring popularity from the time of its first appearance to today has meant that the original blocks were used to print a staggering number of impressions over many years. And today traditional printmakers are producing fine facsimiles of the design. I long thought that it was a great […]