Exhibitions on View: ‘Conflicts of Interest’

We are delighted to present the catalog to accompany the exhibition, Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, presented at the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 16, 2016 – January 8, 2017.

Conflicts of Interest showcases extraordinary visual material documenting Japan’s rise as a military power in East Asia, starting with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, then depicting events of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), two wars between Japan and its imperial neighbors China and Russia, and then culminating with Pearl Harbor.

The exhibition is organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and curated by Philip Hu, associate curator-in-charge of Asian Art, in collaboration with Rhiannon Paget, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art. The corresponding book edited by Philip Hu features essays by Hu, Andreas Marks, Sonja Hotwagner, Sebastian Dobson, Rhiannon Paget, and Maki Kaneko; catalogue entries by Hu and Paget; and contributions by Sonja Hotwagner.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915),The Fall of Jinzhou Fortress: Private First Class Onoguchi Tokuji, 1895, published by Katada Chojiro (active late 19th-early 20th century), center panel of triptych of color woodblock prints, 121:2010b.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915),The Fall of Jinzhou Fortress: Private First Class Onoguchi Tokuji, 1895, published by Katada Chojiro (active late 19th-early 20th century), center panel of triptych of color woodblock prints, 121:2010b.

In presenting highlights of this collection to the public, the Museum endeavors to foster understanding of the extraordinary art and visual culture of wartime Japan and the complex causes and repercussions of these conflicts, as well as reflect on the ways in which the images communicate, sometimes with devastating consequences, narratives and ideals of nation, empire, and ethnic identity.—From the foreword by Brent R. Benjamin, The Barbara B. Taylor Director, Saint Louis Art Museum

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), Our Troops Set Up a Bivouac at Yingkou while Braving the Bitter Cold, 1895, published by Matsuki Heikichi V (1872-1931), triptych of color woodblock prints, 178:1010a-c.

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), Our Troops Set Up a Bivouac at Yingkou while Braving the Bitter Cold, 1895, published by Matsuki Heikichi V (1872-1931), triptych of color woodblock prints, 178:1010a-c.

Read an article by Amanda Dahl of Ladue News featuring an interview with Philip Hu about the exhibit:

A lot of this material has never been seen by the general public. Some items are rare to have survived. [The collection shows] to what degree the Japanese were able to aestheticize the idea of conflict and battle—of war. Normally when we think of these situations, we think deep and dark. This will be quite unexpected. Woodblock and painting techniques show bright colors in [surprising] ways.

HEC-TV Scope also features the exhibit in a recent segment:

Hasegawa Sadanobu III (1881-1963), At Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i, on December 8, 1941, the Imperial Navy Completely Destroys the American Pacific Fleet, 1942, triptych of color woodblock prints, triptych as mounted: 15 1/8 x 28 3/4 in.

Hasegawa Sadanobu III (1881-1963), At Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, on December 8, 1941, the Imperial Navy Completely Destroys the American Pacific Fleet, 1942, engraved by Uemura, printed by Nakazawa Daijiro, published by Murai Jirokichi, triptych of color woodblock prints, 819:2010a-c.

Related events at Saint Louis Art Museum

Daily Collection Tours, Tuesday–Friday at 10 a.m., Saturday & Sunday @ 1:30 p.m.
October: Information Nations: Art as Propaganda
November: Cloak and Dagger: Arts and Political Intrigue
December: Power Up: Art that Electrifies

Symposium // Friday, October 21 from 5–9 p.m. / Saturday, October 22 from 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
$45 General Admission | $35 Members | $15 Students
Registration Required
This symposium will examine creative practices and social experiences relating to Japan’s wars between the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries through art history, material and visual culture, sociology, literature, and history.

SLAM Underground // Friday, October 28 from 7–10 p.m. // Activities, cocktails, and art making inspired by Conflicts of Interest and Impressions of War. Admission is free.

Gallery Talks // Thursday, December 8, 11 am–noon / Friday, December 9, 6–7 pm
Japanese Painting and Calligraphy: Highlights from the Collection
Rhiannon Paget, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art
This free talk will meet at the Information Center located in Sculpture Hall.

See the full list of events, workshops, and other activities, and explore additional information and materials about the exhibition via Saint Louis Art Museum, including the video trailer by Nine Network:

Join the conversation #SLAMconflicts @STLArtMuseum

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