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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Ota Museum

I've been putting together my application for the Ota Museum's research grant. I don't know if they get many applications from artists, I think it is mostly academics that apply, but I'll give it a shot. Meant to apply for this last year but didn't get it together in time.

The Ota Museum of Ukiyoe is one of the nicest small museums in Tokyo, with a fantastic collection from which they mount changing exhibits. Last time I was there I saw this piece by Hiroshige, "Futami Bay in Ise Province", of the Shinto shrine Futamigaura. Futamigaura, which might be translated into English as "the wedding rocks", consists of two rocky outcroppings just off-shore, one larger than the other, which have been bound together with ropes. This is one of those famous places so popular with Japanese artists, and you can get a better idea of what I'm describing by taking a look at this print by Hasui. A couple of my own pieces inspired by this place, or rather the idea of the place and Hiroshige's print, can be seen here and here.

Ukiyoe is most often translated as "art of the floating world". "Yo" is world, and "e" is picture or art, but I'm not convinced that the "uki" part was originally understood as floating. "Uki" can also be translated as fleeting, meaning ephemeral and transient, and seems much more in keeping with Japanese and later Impressionist sensibilities. This may be a case of an early mistranslation that has stuck, as "uki" does primarily mean float.

The best way to go is to take the Yamanote line to Harajuku Station and head down Omotesando, the museum will be on your left, up some steep stone steps.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martin,

I love the way your mind works. Rich, fertile and slightly askew, your blog is just like I know you. Your range of interests sometimes catches me off guard and that’s good too.

This may not be your cup of tea (and if you chose to apply I would need to recuse myself as the chair of the search committee) but the Rochester Contemporary has just launched a search for a new director. You can see a description at http://www.nyfa.org/opportunities.asp?type=Job&id=94&fid=1&sid=54 .

Please feel free to pass along the link to anyone that may be interested.

Tom

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