Read Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State: The Politics of Beauty by Doshin Sato Hiroshi Nara Online

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This broad-ranging and profoundly influential analysis describes how Western art institutions and vocabulary were transplanted to Japan in the late nineteenth century. In the 1870s and 1880s, artists, government administrators, and others in Japan encountered the Western “system of the arts” for the first time, as objects and information from Japan reached European and AmeThis broad-ranging and profoundly influential analysis describes how Western art institutions and vocabulary were transplanted to Japan in the late nineteenth century. In the 1870s and 1880s, artists, government administrators, and others in Japan encountered the Western “system of the arts” for the first time, as objects and information from Japan reached European and American audiences following the collapse of the shogun’s regime. Under pressure to exhibit and sell its artistic products abroad, Japan’s new Meiji government came face-to-face with the need to create European-style art schools, museums, government-sponsored exhibitions, and artifact preservation policies—and even to establish Japanese words for “art,” “painting,” “artist,” and “sculpture.”Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State represents nothing less than a reconceptualization of the field of Japanese art history. It exposes the politics through which the words, categories, and values that still structure our understanding of the field came to be while revealing the historicity of Western and non-Western art history....

Title : Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State: The Politics of Beauty
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ISBN : 9781606060599
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Modern Japanese Art and the Meiji State: The Politics of Beauty Reviews

  • John
    2018-11-04 05:44

    I won't record many of the thoughts that this book evoked in me - because I have to believe that they would interest only a very few. However, ...For those who care about the cultural revolution that occurred in Japan during the Meiji restoration this is an essential text. It's not a book exactly, but a collection of articles and lectures gathered in book form - with the usual difficulties: endless repetition, material unrelated to the principle topic at hand, digressions, etc. Yet as far as I know this is the only book in English that conveys (in however disjointed and piece-meal manner it must) the process by which "modern Japanese art" came into existence. Modern Japanese art is state-sponsored art, i.e. art that came into existence under state mandated policies to create art (1) that Westerners would buy, therby earning foreign exchange that could be spent on locomotices, steel mills and battleships, (2) that Westerners could admire and thereby come to consider Japan as a "great" nation (national greatness and prestige), (3) that would establish in Japan categories of Western culture that would propel the Japanese into modernity, (4) that could undergo a process of "Japanization" and therby reflect the "Japanese spirit," and (5) that could co-exist with altogether traditional forms of Japanese art. A complicated process that the author describes in bits and pieces across parts and chapters. I do which he had edited this material into a single coherent account.The Meiji state was rather coercive (extortionate?) about all this. For example, Japanese agents and bureaucrats visited the international exhibitions, read reviews, noticed what sold and then compiled volume after volume of motifs, designs that the Meiji government would then adopt as "policy." So if an artist wanted to participate in an international exhibition or any of the major domestic, government-sponsored competitions and exhibitions, i.e. if an artist wanted exposure, then guess what? That artist reviewed one catalog or another, selected designs, created objects that incorporated those designs, and then maybe, just maybe, be appointed a participant/exhibitor. Otherwise, that artist was on his own - in a context in which nothing like the art market we know today existed at all. But there were many who complied, were admitted into exhibitions, art associations, other organizations through which a Japanese artist of the Meiji period could participate in whatever "art world" there was. I also wish Sato had edited related material into a single account.The scope of this book is painting. Prescious little regarding sculpture or the decorative arts. Sato is quite interesting on the demise of Japanese calligraphy as an art form during the Meiji reign, however.Sato is especially effective in describing the creation of a new art-related vocabulary in the Japanese language during the Meiji period, a vocaublary that reflected the integration of Western categories into Japanese thought and the creation of analogs of Western institutions. For example, the Japanese had neither the idea nor the words that corresponded to "fine art" in the West until a desire to participate in international exhibitions after 1868 required that the Japanese understand and adapt to Western categories/departments. So they codified the ideas and established the vocabulary, which became elements of state policy. Art museums didn't exist in Japan until the Meiji period. Art schools, institutionalized art education, apart from the "house system" in Japan, such as the Kano school, based on lineage and descent from early masters, didn't exist before the ascent of the Meiji emperor. And so on. Sato discusses a most interesting phenomenon, to which I wish he had devoted more time and attention, in the articles/lectures collected in this book. There are passsages that indicate that the Japanese were quite content to compartmentalize. In this case, to them they might easily think/act with respect to art in two domains, a public and a private. In the public domain they could create art, discuss/evaluate/appraise art in accordance with Western/Westernized tenets, and in a parallel, private domain, act, think, etc. in accordance with entirely traditional Japanese categories, quite as if the other domain didn't exist at all. Curious. How exactly did they manage this feat?I'll stop now - after writing much more than I intended at the outset.