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Introduction to the Exhibition—The Life of Animals in Japanese Art

Robert T. Singer, curator and head, department of Japanese art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Artworks representing animals—real or imaginary, religious or secular—span the full breadth and splendor of Japanese artistic production. As the first exhibition devoted to the subject, The Life of Animals in Japanese Art covers 17 centuries (from the sixth century to the present day) and a wide variety of media—sculpture, painting, lacquerwork, ceramics, metalwork, textile, and the woodblock print. A selection of some 315 works, drawn from Japanese and American public and private collections, includes seven that are designated as Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. The artists represented range from Sesson Shūkei, Itō Jakuchū, Soga Shōhaku, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, to Okamoto Tarō, Kusama Yayoi, Issey Miyake, Nara Yoshitomo, and Murakami Takashi. To celebrate the opening on June 2, 2019, Robert T. Singer introduces the exhibition curated with Masatomo Kawai, director, Chiba City Museum of Art, in consultation with a team of esteemed of Japanese art historians. The Life of Animals in Japanese Art is on view through August 18, 2019