Reconstructing the Concept of Art in Japan and Beyond

Date:    September 6-7, 2014

Times:   10:00 – 6:15 Sept 6, 2014  (Symposium)
              10:00 – 2:00 Sept 7, 2014  (Roundtable for students and scholars)

Location:   Cochrane-Woods Art Center Lecture Hall, Room 157
                   5540 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

Fees:    Free and open to the public on September 6, 2014

            Please e-mail for registration and pre-circulated readings for September 7, 2014. (See September)

Reconstructing the Concept of Art in Japan and Beyond

          How are the research, display, and collecting of Japanese art shaped by late nineteenth-century Western terms today? Is it possible to modify or jettison some of these and still be comprehensible in the global field of art history? How does Japanese art history establish distinctions between “Japan,” “Asia,” “the West,” “early modern,” “modern,” and “contemporary”? How do the legacies of Orientalism and Japonisme continue to shape perceptions of Japanese art today? Are the categories of “painting,” “sculpture,” “craft,” and so forth impeding other visions of the history of objects in East Asia?

Saturday, September 6

           Greetings and Introduction
           Chelsea Foxwell (Univ. of Chicago)
           Mori Hitoshi (Kanazawa Bijutsu Kōgei Daigaku)

           Panel 1: ‘Bijutsu’ [Fine Art] and its Discontents
           Mori Hitoshi (Kanazawa Bijutsu Kōgei Daigaku)
           “The Formation of the Concept of ‘Bijutsu’ in Japan: Another Look”
            Yanfei Zhu (Univ. of Chicago)
           “Meishu: The Conceptual Metamorphosis of Art in Late Qing and      
           Republican China”
          Christopher Paul Bush (Northwestern)
          “Japonisme as Global Aesthetic”

           Lunch for symposium participants

           Panel 2: High/Low, Center/Periphery: The Early Modern Transition
           Anton Schweizer (Tulane)
           “High and Low in Architecture: the Sumiya Ageya in Kyoto”
           Yurika Wakamatsu (Harvard)
           “Hybrid Landscape?: Okuhara Seiko’s Sumida River Screens”
           Eleanor Hyun (Univ. of Chicago)
           “Colors at the Margins: 19th- and 20th-century Korean Art”

            Coffee/Tea Break

            Panel 3: Contesting ‘Craft’: The Object in Postwar Japan and Beyond
            Yamazaki Tsuyoshi (Kanazawa Bijutsu Kōgei Daigaku)
            Drifting Object ―〝漆器Urushi - Artefact〟as Material Culture /〝漆芸    
            Urushi - Art〟as Modern Art ―
            Yasuko Tsuchikane (The Cooper Union)
            “Destabilizing Multiple Boundaries: Why Picasso’s Ceramics Became    
             Problematic in 1950s Japan”
            Janice Katz (Art Institute of Chicago)
            “What does Contemporary Japanese Art at the Art Institute Look Like?”

             Toshio Watanabe (Chelsea College of Arts-University of the Arts

Sunday, September 7

             Private Roundtable Discussion for Students and Scholars. Those with curatorial experience are especially encouraged to participate.

              For registration and precirculated readings, please email  

This event is made possible by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago; the Center for the Art of East Asia; and the Department of Art History, University of Chicago.