Indepth Arts News: |
A Tale of Two Cities"
1999-10-17 until 2000-01-02
Museum of Fine Art, Houston
USA United States of America
Yasuhiro Ishimoto (born 1921) is one of Japan's most important
contemporary photographers. In 1997, he was named a Person of
Cultural Distinction by the Japanese emperor in recognition of
extraordinary achievement in the arts. Ishimoto's role in American
photography is also significant.
Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities features photographs
from Chicago and Tokyo, cities of great importance to the
photographer that have been the subjects of several of his books.
Chicago, Chicago (1969), considered one of the greatest books
about an American city ever published, examines Chicago and its
inhabitants through street snapshots. Ishimoto captured the urban
spirit of Japan in Tokyo (1971) and other books. Ishimoto's most
famous series of photographs explores the serene beauty of the
architectural and landscape design of a traditional Japanese
17th-century palace, Katsura Villa.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Ishimoto studied at the Chicago
Institute of Design under the photographer Harry Callahan. The
Chicago institute's roots in the Bauhaus tradition of documentary
and experimental technique, and Callahan's emphasis on Modernist
form and straight photography are the foundation of Ishimoto's
approach to photography.
Recently, Ishimoto gave approximately 150 photographs to the
Art Institute of Chicago, and A Tale of Two Cities comprises
nearly half of this gift. The images range in style from street
photography to more formalistic studies of nature and architecture.
Also included are Ishimoto's recent, meditative still-life
compositions, which explore pattern, texture, and abstraction in
The presentation of Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities at
the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is one of the first steps in the
museum's major, long-term examination of Japanese photography.
For the past several years, the MFAH has been actively adding
works by Japanese photographers to its permanent collection, and
the first exhibition and book to survey the history of photography
in Japan is currently in preparation by Anne Wilkes Tucker, the
museum's Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography,
and Dana Friis-Hansen of the Contemporary Arts Museum.