Friday Oct 10th Ken Tadashi Oshima

Prof. Ken Tadashi Oshima

University of Washington, Department of Architecture

Nihon no toshi kūkan: Approaches to the City Invisible


This talk examines the conceptualization of Japanese urban space at the crossroads of the 1960s World Design Conference, with trajectories leading to both metabolic mega-structures and the preservation of indigenous villages.

Professor Oshima teaches in the areas of trans-national architectural history, theory, representation, and design. His publications include Architecturalized Asia (University of Hawa’ii Press/Hong Kong University Press, 2013), GLOBAL ENDS: towards the beginning (Toto, 2012), International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (University of Washington Press, 2009) and Arata Isozaki (Phaidon, 2009). Currently 1st Vice President of the Society of Architectural Historians, he curated “Tectonic Visions Between Land and Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake” (Harvard GSD, 2012), “SANAA: Beyond Borders” (Henry Art Gallery 2007-8), and co-curator of “Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond” (University of Pennsylvania, UC Santa Barbara, Kamakura Museum of Modern Art, 2006-7).

Friday, Oct 10th, 4:00-6:00pm, CWAC 156
Persons with disability who may need assistance, please contact Tingting Xu


Dec.13 Micah Auerback

Friday, December 13, 4-6 pm, CWAC 152

Joint-session with East Asia: Transregional Histories (EATRH)
Paper will be available shortly on the website:

Painting the Biography of the Buddha in Meiji Japan

Micah Auerback
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan, Asian Languages and Cultures

Helen Findley (Ph.D. candidate, EALC)
Nancy Lin (Ph.D. canditate, Art History)



Friday, December 13, 4-6 p.m.  CWAC 152
Persons with disability who may need assistance, please contact



VMPEA: May 11, Satoko Shimazaki

Shades of Jealousy: Gendered Ghosts and Gendered Actors
in Early Modern Kabuki

Satoko Shimazaki

Assistant Professor
University of Colorado, Boulder


The female ghost of Oiwa in Tsuruya Nanboku’s canonical kabuki play Ghost Stories at Yotsuya (Tōkaidō Yotsuya kaidan, 1825) was constructed as a sort of visual montage of images deeply rooted in gendered religious and cultural discourses. While the performance of female ghosts was the provenance of female-role actors or onnagata, nineteenth century kabuki reinvented the role for male-role actors. Focusing on Ghost Stories at Yotsuya, my talk will explore the gendered resonances behind the construction of ghosts on the early modern kabuki stage and the meaning of the actors’ body in kabuki. I will propose a revision of earlier critical discourse on the meaning of the body of the kabuki actor, especially the gender make-up of actors in the kabuki theater, which has centered on the discussion of female-role actors. I move away from the actor and his body as the prime site for interpretation, focusing instead on kabuki theater as an ideological structure and a cultural system that manipulated the viewer so that the real life gender and sex of the actor were made irrelevant.

Friday, May 11, 4-6 p.m.  CWAC 153


VMPEA: Chelsea Foxwell

Angels and Demons: Toshio Aoki (1853 -1912), A Japanese Artist in California

Chelsea Foxwell

Assistant Professor, Art History Department, Chicago University

Feb 17, 4-6 pm

In the 1880s, a little-known Japanese painter named Aoki Toshio traveled from Yokohama to California, where he would spend the rest of his life practicing art -broadly defined- at the margins of painting, illustration, room decoration, and theater. His subsequent career and artistic development were molded by the harsh conditions endured by Asian immigrants in San Francisco and by the complex, contradictory, and heavily gendered images of Japan that circulated in America more broadly. At the same time, his works, which are just now coming to light, bear similarities to contemporaneous paintings made in Tokyo and later cited as landmarks of nihonga (Japanese-style painting). This talk examines several of Aoki’s images to ask what the twice-marginal can tell us about the potentials for visual communication and understanding in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

May 6-7, Screens in East Asia Symposium


A Symposium Organized by the Center for the Art of East Asia,
Department of Art History, University of Chicago, May 6-7, 2011
Location: Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago IL

The folding or standing screen is a mobile partition that creates a space at the same time that it acts as a division between spaces and groups of figures. As a fixture of daily life and ceremonial culture in East Asia for more than a thousand years, the screen deserves to be considered from multiple perspectives, including those of archaeology, architecture, literature, art, history, gender, and sociology. This symposium explores the complexity of screens as an art form in two and three dimensions, one that frames, divides and conceals and creates spaces and is produced in a variety of materials.

Friday, May 6

9:00 am Welcome and opening remarks

9:30 am-12:30 pm
Panel 1—Partitioning and Defining Space— Chair, Ping Foong, University of Chicago

Guolong Lai, University of Florida, “Warring States and Han Screens in Archaeological Contexts”

Katherine Tsiang, University of Chicago, “Pluralities of Screening and Representation in Late Northern Dynasties Burials”

Wei-cheng Lin, University of North Carolina, “Screening the Chinese Interior: Architectonic and Architecturesque”

Dawn Odell,Lewis and Clark College, “Screens and Thresholds of Insecurity in Colonial Jakarta”


2:00-5:00 pm
Panel 2—The Screen in Ritual and Performance—Chair, Judith Zeitlin, University of Chicago

Melissa McCormick, Harvard University, “The Partitions of Parturition: White Screens and Disbodied Birth”

Hyunsoo Woo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Displaying Authority: Screen Paintings of the Joseon Court”

Elizabeth Lillehoj, Depaul University, “Screens as Record Paintings and Records of Painted Screens in Japan”

Jie Dong, Chinese Academy of Art, “Screens in Late Ming Printed Plays and Related Materials in Woodblock Prints”


Saturday, May 7
9:00-11:15 am
Panel 3—Illusion and Representation—Chair, Janice Katz, Art Institute of Chicago

Eleanor Hyun, University of Chicago, “The Illusion of Things: Choson Dynasty Ch’aekkori Screens”

Chelsea Foxwell, University of Chicago, “Triangulations: Art and Historicity in a Nineteenth-Century Screen by Shibata Zeshin”

Dana Leibsohn, Smith College, “Asia Remade: The Fate of the Foreign in the Visual Culture of Spanish America”


Panel 4—Medium and Materiality—Chair, Shih-shan Susan Huang, Rice University

Yukio Lippit, Harvard University, “The Screen-in-Itself: Surface and Materiality in Japanese Byobu”

Jenny Purtle, University of Toronto, “Circulation of Screens and Painting Styles: Jianyang Printed Books and Northern Fujian Painting

Reginald Jackson, University of Chicago, “Ellen Gallagher and Tawaraya Sôtatsu Meet on the Gold Leaf Grid”

Wu Hung, University of Chicago “Front and Back: Emperor Kangxi’s Screen and the Notion of Historical Materiality,”


* This symposium is made possible with generous support from the Japan and China Committees of the Center for East Asian Studies, the Adelyn Russell Bogert Fund of the Franke Institute for the Humanities, and Mrs. Beth Plotnick.

Persons with a disability who believe they need assistance are requested to call 773 702-8274 in advance.

For addition information see:

Jan 21, Andrew Shih-ming Pai

Andrew Shih-ming Pai
Associate Professor, National Taiwan Normal University
Friday, January 21, 4- 6 pm
CWAC 156
Modernity in Agony: Contemporaneity and the Representation of Modern Life in Colonial Taiwanese Art


Since the Japanese took power in Taiwan, the colonial government initiated “modernization” programs systematically and carried out political, economic, cultural and educational reforms through modern Western institutions. Taiwan, as a result, gradually departed from traditional folk society and became a modern civil society. Amidst such epochal transformation, with the implementation of modern urban planning, a “new landscape” was formed: like fresh shoots budding after rain, public facilities such as Western buildings, roads, parks, railways, bridges, harbors, airports and telecommunications steadily emerged. The traditional scenery of the Ming and Qing comprising of “local” characteristics metamorphosed, while “public” characteristics of the urban living space were constructed, expressing the diverse and modern lifestyles of the populace.

The government-sponsored Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibitions in 1927 and, later, the Taiwan Governor-General Arts Exhibition exerted unequivocal influence on the formation of New Art as part of the modernization process in Taiwan. The artists, however, in their so-called pursuit and construction of Taiwan’s “local color” also committed themselves to exploring the various possibilities of representing Taiwan. Interestingly, in doing so, they produced a number of exhilarating works of art based on the theme of “contemporary scenery”. These works of art not only became quintessential renderings of landscapes imbued with contemporary significance, they also clearly revealed the colonial government’s motive to build a new urban vista and public space through their policy of modernization.

These images reflecting and representing the “new landscape” that resulted from processes of modernization are the most important visual materials to our investigation of the substance and meaning of Taiwan’s modern, urban, scientific and civilized way of life and public cultural development. Many modern artists in Taiwan participated in urban public life and experienced shifts in their observations of landscapes and in their perspectives in literary expression as a result of having adopted a modernized civic identity. They thereby provided possible models for viewing contemporary landscapes and facilitated the completion of the conceptual construction of Taiwan’s modern urban landscapes. It is within this context that this paper, by focusing on how modern artists in Taiwan explored and illustrated ways of the reading, thinking and writing the modern Taiwanese landscape, seeks to rethink the meanings and problems of modernization as seen in the “landscape compositions” created under Japanese colonial rule.

Jan 14, Kao Chien-Hui

Kao Chien-Hui

Independent curator and art critic

Friday, January 14, 2- 4 pm
CWAC 156

The Transformation of Line and Form
–The Linking Context of the Chinese Figure/Narrative Painting and the Comic World


The special subject exhibition of the 7th International Ink Art Biennale of Shenzhen, ‘Com(ic)media on Line’, re-interprets the lines of comics and Chinese painting to form a broader aesthetic of lines across art media. This exhibition brings together Eastern and Western in order to investigate the similarities of this mass-oriented art form, examining the communication and transmission of simple brush and line drawings, while demonstrating the humor of these fascinating visualizations which metaphorically recreate the real world and the various vicissitudes of human life.

From historical and contemporary coordinates, the linearity of comics has converged with classical literature and the world of images, as well as the contemporary cartoons and animation development. In the 20th century, reading modern Chinese comics has become the populous’ version of art viewing, a sort of pictorial vernacular for popularizing classical literature and art, paralleled by illustrated novels, graphic novels, children’s picture books, prints, current affairs caricatures, etc. Many modern ink painters also gain inspiration by taking various ingredients from cartoons and graphic novels. In the context of contemporary culture, this influence has also entered into printing, newsletters, painting books, cartoons, and even the young subculture’s comics, animation and costume play, as well as digital technology’s linear display vocabulary and its new creative concepts.

“Com(ic)media on Line”takes its name from the concept of the line, the expression of lines, the interest in lines, and the re-presentation of the world that is enclosed by or the différance of the linear zone. In the perspective of religion, the human/space refers to a place in-between the physical and spiritual. Being a state of transition that exists beyond physical body, the zone becomes a temporary practice space for spirit and soul. Just like the Dante’s La Divina Commedia which describes the author’s travels through hell, purgatory, and heaven, this religious-like world mentally connects to human behavior and the process of art creation. The différance of lines has been the spindle of it, and the audience would be able to access to the virtual world projected by lines, shadows and figures by following the strolling of line, or being on-line, online or off-line. It would also concern the artistic and cultural domain of the aesthetics of line, and the studies of the interdisciplinary interchange of psychology, mythology and semiotics.

The exhibition includes works in the forms of ink on paper and silk, woodblock prints, illustrations, cartoons, animation, video, sculpture, graffiti, etc. In addition to the recent or new works by invited foreign and domestic artists, there is also a loan collection of more than a hundred prints from Tianjin Yang Qingliu, Suzhou Tao Huawu, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, etc, from several collectors and organizations, as well as more than then sixteen hundred contemporary comic illustrations.

Nov 19, Maki Fukuoka

Maki Fukuoka

Assistant Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Michigan

Friday, November 19, 4- 6 pm
CWAC 156

Site of transformation: Asakusa, Photographic Studios, and Media in Modern Japan


In the early days of Japan’s photographic history, the area known as Asakusa in the capital Tokyo became the hotspot for photographic studios. There, famous photographers such as Uchida Kyuichi, Kitaniwa Tsukuba, and Ezaki Reiji all opened their studios, and by the early 1880s, nearly forty studios congregated in this small area surrounding the landmark Asakusa Senso-ji Temple. Studios took portraits of the customers and also sold portraits of famous actors and courtesans who used these images to compete against one another. The photographic portraits taken at the studios in Asakusa and other photographic products convey the transformative aspects of portrait photography from this period.

But Asakusa had also been a unique area just a few decades before the studios were set up: the area was filled with street performances, spectacle shows, and noisy crowds. Did this play a role in attracting photographers to Asakusa? What made Asakusa a suitable place for this new enterprise, and what made it possible to sustain such an abundance of studios?

This paper explores the historical interconnection between the area of Asakusa and the practices of the photographic studios from the late nineteenth century Tokyo. It analyses the photographic studios in Asakusa as one thread in an intricate fabric that comprised the dynamic, lively, sometimes eccentric, and always innovative area of Asakusa. This paper proposes photographic studios as a burgeoning business practice that responded to, and was shaped by, the particular transformative sense that defined Asakusa. Incorporating newspaper articles, advertisements, and accounts by Asakusa residents, this project aims to explore how the photographic studios aligned themselves within the spaces of transformation, and how the strong presence of photographic studios themselves might have challenged the neighborhood of Asakusa.

Oct 22, Dorothy Wong

Dorothy Wong
Associate Professor, East Asian Art
University of Virginia

Friday, October 22, 4- 6 pm
CWAC 156

Divergent Paths: Early Representations of Amoghapasa in East, South and Southeast Asia

Amoghapāśa Avalokiteśvara (Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva with the Unfailing Rope; Chi. Bukongjuansuo Guanyi, J. Fukūkenjaku Kannon) is one of the manifestations of Avalokiteśvara, with widespread worship in India, the Himalayas, East and Southeast Asia from around the latter part of the seventh century. However, the beginnings of this bodhisattva in East Asia in the seventh and eighth centuries remain unclear, with only a small number of examples dating from this early period. And yet, the earliest extant representation of Amoghapāśa in Tōdaiji (dated around 748), Nara, attests to the significance attached to the cult of this bodhisattva. Through analysis of textual materials and selected examples, the paper aims to explore the paths of transmission of Amoghapāśa and the various factors shaping the representations of this bodhisattva in diverse regions in Asia. The study demonstrates that images of Amoghapāśa of relatively close dates but from disparate geographical regions have very little in common, and that they probably develop from different textual, stylistic and iconographic traditions. For instance, early representations of Amoghapāśa in East Asia seems to have been based on texts translated into Chinese at the time and developed within the local artistic traditions rather than on image types introduced from India.