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Indepth Arts News:

"My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation"
2003-07-12 until 2003-09-21
Museum of Glass, International Center for Contemporary Art
Tacoma, WA, USA United States of America

My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation, an exhibition that investigates the impact of Japanese animation, commonly called anime, on contemporary art in Asian countries and in the West opens at the Museum of Glass on July 12, the second to last stop on a national tour. My Reality presents 30 works by 18 artists from around the world revealing their influence on each other through their shared interest in anime.

My Reality features the work of Japanese artists Taro Chiezo, Mika Kato, Mariko Mori, Mr. (Masakatu Iwamoto), Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Momoyo Torimitsu and Kenji Yanobe, and the Korean artist Lee Bul. These artists merge their primary influences, including Andy Warhol, Disney and Jeff Koons, with traditional art forms, such as Japanese woodblock prints. The Western artists in the exhibition, Matthew Benedict, Inka Essenhigh, James Esber, Micha Klein, Paul McCarthy, Miltos Manetas, Richard Patterson, Tom Sachs and Charlie White, share similar concerns and influences with their Asian counterparts. As a whole, the work in the show explores the myriad thematic and visual conventions found in anime. These include concepts such as futuristic technology, cyborgs, fantastical creatures and post-apocalyptic landscapes, as well as more universal themes, such as gender roles, consumerism, and pop culture.

"Whenever a new cultural phenomenon arises, artists take note" said Tara McDonnell, assistant curator at the Museum of Glass. "From Hello Kitty to the Academy Award winning Spirited Away, it is clear that anime is a big part of modern pop culture. Visitors to My Reality will see how anime has influenced contemporary artists from around the world."

Contemporary Japanese popular culture, manifested in anime, comic books (manga), music, geek culture (otaku), the club scene, advertising and fashion, presents a unique approach to modern life. Influenced heavily by forms of Western entertainment such as animated films produced by Disney and Warner Brothers, Japanese popular culture embraces a sense of playfulness.

My Reality originated at the Des Moines Art Center and was co-curated by Jeff Fleming, senior curator and Susan Lubowsky Talbott, director. The traveling exhibition has been organized and circulated by Independent Curators International, a NY-based, non-profit organization dedicated to contemporary art. Beginning at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the touring exhibition will make eight stops on its national tour.

My Reality is accompanied by a 96-page catalogue co-published by Des Moines Art Center and Independent Curators International. It features essays by Jeff Fleming, Susan Lubowsky Talbott and the artist Takashi Murakami and will be available in the Museum store.

Organization and Sponsorship

My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation originated at the Des Moines Art Center, curated by Jeff Fleming, senior curator, and Susan Lubowsky Talbott, director. The traveling exhibition is organized and circulated by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition at the Des Moines Art Center was made possible by support from the Jacqueline and Myron Blank Exhibition Fund of the Des Moines Art Center, The Bright Foundation, the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund, and the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation. Additional funding for the traveling exhibition was provided by he Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, and the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York provided additional funding for the traveling exhibition.

The Museum of Glass is a fine arts museum dedicated to the presentation of the medium of glass within the context of contemporary art in all media. The Museum presents the richness and diversity of the art of our time and explores how glass draws from and contributes to the many facets of contemporary art. In addition to the Hot Shop Amphitheater where visitors can watch artists work, the facilities include galleries, outdoor exhibition areas, a theater, Studio, grand hall, store and café.

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