Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Celebration of Japanese Prints to honor Japan and their contribution to the history of art! 

JapanNYC - JADA - Sebastian Izzard Asian Art 17 E. 76 St, NYC

At this writing things are still going from bad to worse in Japan. A country whose contemporary culture has recently been a major influence on the rest of the world's creative arts. So much so that Carnegie Hall and the City of New York decided a few years ago to create the "JapanNYC Festival" which is currently in progress and is incorporated into another festival called "Asian Arts Week 2011".

The events since Friday March 11, 2011 (the 9.0 earthquake, the giant tsunami and the nuclear radiation crisis) have shaken Japan and the Japanese people. They will recover, with the help of all of us, everyone should text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. The Japanese want nothing more than to get back to the normal they knew just last Wednesday, which will take years of hard work and huge amounts of money. 

JapanNYC - JADA - Sebastian Izzard Asian Art
ARTSnFOOD sends its condolences to all who lost friends or loved ones in Japan. The events of this week have been world changing and will be recorded in history books. I can think of no better way honor the Japanese people today than to feature their historic and beautiful wood block prints in this issue. In my opinion, these artworks have been the most influential contribution the Japanese culture has made to the history of the visual arts by influencing most of "western/European art" starting in the mid-1800s. The Impressionist movement and all early Western Modern Art styles were influenced by some aspect of the Japanese print.

* JADA - The Japanese Art Dealers Association has put together a brochure of all of the happenings during Asian Arts Week in New York this week. Here is the link.
Brochure for "Arts of Japan" produced by Japanese Art Dealers Association 

JapanNYC - JADA - Sebastian Izzard Asian Art
Japanese Woodcut Prints were usually made as a collaboration between the artist and the several assisting craftsmen, all under the direction of a publisher. The artist created the brush and ink sketch on paper. The finished drawing, called the hanshita-e, would be pasted to a block of fruit wood, usually mountain cherry wood, by the engraver who would carve out the areas around the lines, leaving them in relief. These raised areas would then be brushed with a water-based vegetable ink. To print, they would place a damp piece of paper over the block and rub the paper with a bamboo pad until the image was transferred to the paper. The process was repeated for each color you see on the print. 
Information on printmaking from Chuck Wiebe
Fuji Arts, Inc., 320 S. Main St.,#B, Ann Arbor, MI
Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Young Rogue with a Snake and Lute Kimono
Great kabuki design of two otokodate or street knights. The seated young rogue wears an unusual kimono with a large biwa or lute on the sleeve, a snake twined around the instrument's neck. His companion scowls as he looks over his shoulder, his own robe patterned with a bird of prey hunting a sparrow, a blue and white towel casually draped over his shoulder. His hair is cut short on top, forming a halo above his head, the rest pulled back into a topknot. An interesting double portrait - who will take advantage of whom in this story?
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Toyokuni III/Kunisada (1786 - 1864)
Evening Cool on the Riverbed at Shijo
Triptych of a group of Prince Genji and beauties enjoying the cool evening breezes on the riverbed at Shijo in Kyoto. Tatami mats are spread across platforms set along the river front. The young nobleman smiles happily, gesturing with his fan towards a pair of beauties wading through the shallow water carrying refreshments, one holding a tray of porcelain dishes of food. Behind Genji, a cushion and armrest are ready for his use, with candlesticks providing light. Other parties are enjoying the escape from the city heat as well, relaxing on platforms further out. Tea houses strung with red lanterns are silhouetted on the opposite shore. A delightful scene of this favorite summer pastime, beautifully detailed and shaded.
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Hokkei (1780 - 1850)
Musician Playing a Drum Surimono
Series; The Cave Door of Spring
Japanese Woodblock Surimono - Surimono are an exclusive subcategory of Japanese wood block prints. They were privately commissioned works intended to be distributed to a small audience of friends, colleagues or like-minded members of a "poetry circle".The most common surimono style included an image and a poetry verse. Some surimono depict well-known stories from ancient legend and are fantastic individual works of art without any calligraphy. Because of the exclusive nature of surimono, and the fact that they were commissioned by wealthy individuals, the level of workmanship was excellent. The designs are stunning, and usually printed to the highest standards on expensive paper with fine pigments and embellishments. The carvers and printers were leaders in their fields. Since surimono were not sold to a commercial audience the print runs were very small and original surimono are rare in the market today.
Musician Playing a Drum Surimono - Surimono print of a musician sitting on a rock playing a large drum. The scene is part of a five part set depicting the legend of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Angered by her brother's insults, Amaterasu hid in a cave, plunging the world into darkness. Other gods and monks gathered around the entrance, with a dancer and musicians performing to coax goddess from her hiding place. The drummer beats his instrument using a stick in each hand, a look of concentration on his face. His robes are beautifully detailed with intricate patterns in gold and silver mica, and the face of the drum features a coiled dragon in silver. Gold clouds framed the scene across the top, and a standard flutters at right. An incredible design with fantastic detail. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has this image in its collection. 
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Kunichika (1835 - 1900)
Nakamura Shikan as Masakiyo, 1867
Depiction of the actor Nakamura Shikan in the role of the warrior Sato Masakiyo, based on the real-life general Kato Kiyomasa, one of the commanders during the 16th century Seven-Year War with Korea. He looks sternly to the side, his lips pursed in a frown, a tall black court cap tied under his chin with tasseled cords. 
Dressed in formal attire, he wears a voluminous black robe with a white circular crest on the shoulders and sleeves, trimmed with green cord. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has this image in its collection. Beautifully detailed with a fine burnished pattern in the court cap and soft shading in the sky. A bold design with handsome color and very graphic, one of Kuniteru II's most memorable prints.
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Toshikata (1866 - 1908)
Catching Fireflies
Series; Thirty-six Customs of Beauties, ca. 1891 - 1894 
Thirty-six Customs of Beauties- Toshikata's lovely series "Thirty-six Customs of Beauties" was one of the masterwork series of the late 19th century. Toshikata created a series of 36 prints illustrating the daily activities of women from various walks of life. Beautifully printed, many of the images feature deluxe techniques such as delicate embossing or burnishing, along with soft bokashi shading. .
Catching Fireflies - A lovely Meiji era print by Toshikata of this popular theme -- catching fireflies on a summer evening. A young beauty and her servant are seen in the foreground, the woman with a small fan uses it to corral the fireflies, the man with a bamboo insect cage to hold them. The shadows of two others catching fireflies is in the background. 
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Chikanobu (1838 - 1912)
Spring Tea Ceremony
Chikanobu triptych of beauties at a tea house, one relaxing on the verandah as she chats with a companion standing in the garden. She wears a striking purple coat with a burnished black collar over a kimono delicately shaded from blue to white to soft yellow. Inside, two women and a young girl attend a tea ceremony, the hostess using a whisk to mix the tea as the guests watch quietly. A path of stepping stones leads along a winding stream crossed by a narrow plank bridge and an arched bridge further in the distance. A large stone lantern stands near a pine tree, and blossoming cherry trees frame the scene. Beautiful in design with charming detail and color.
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
 Toshikata (1866 - 1908) Japanese Woodblock Print 
Spring Sea Kuchi-e Print, 1905
A sweet image of a young girl gathering seashells at the shore. The calm seas of early spring were thought to provide ideal conditions for collecting shells. She carefully picks up interesting shells, placing them in a handkerchief spread on the rocky beach. Her long hair is pulled back with a fashionable bow, falling loosely over her shoulders, and she wears a violet and blue coat with a design of flowing water. Waves lap gently at the shore with mountains silhouetted in the distance. This image appears on page 136 of Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada's recent book, "Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture." Soft colors and subtle shading.
Fuji Arts, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Kuniyoshi (1797 - 1861)
Battle of Kawanakajima, 1855
Fantastic triptych depicting the Battle of Kawanakajima, showing the warrior Amakasu Omi-no-kami Kagetoki atop a rearing horse at right. Amakasu is directing Uesugi Kenshin's troops as they attack Takeda Shingen's men. He wears a flowing robe over his armor and a personal standard topped with feathery plumes. Fighting rages below, with samurai battling with swords and spears and clouds of smoke rising up into the dark night sky. Two enemies lie motionless at far right, trampled under the hooves of Amakasu's horse. A dramatic and atmospheric battle scene, beautifully composition with a somber color palettet.
Sources used in this posting:

The prints at the top of this issue (in the introduction) are available through Sebastian Izzard LLC Asian Art, 17 East 75th St., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10021   (212) 794-1522 A member of the Japanese Art Dealers Association who are presenting the traditional fine arts of Japan at the Ukrainian Institute of America, 2 East 79 Street, 2nd floor. Dates & Times: March 19, 11:00 – 5:00 &  March 20 – 23, 11:00 – 6:00.

All of the prints after the introduction, are available for purchase through Fuji Arts, Inc., 320 S. Main St., Suite B, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, Phone: (734) 786-1510  Fax: (734) 302-3703

Printmaking information adapted from an essay on Ukioy-e by Chuck Wiebe of Sewickley Gallery, 549 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143, phone: 412-741-5858 Link to see their Japanese prints: 

Sushi Restaurants in NYC offer dishes to raise money for Japanese Disaster Relief
A "Japan Relief Roll"
 has cucumber,
king crab,
yellowtail fish,
Japanese squash,

and tamago (egg)
wrapped in sushi rice and nori.
Manhattan's SushiSamba is offering a "Japan Relief Roll." It's their traditional Futomaki roll made of cucumber, yellowtail fish, king crab, tamago (egg) and Japanese squash with the proceeds going to the American Red Cross.
Many who work in Japanese restaurants and Sushi Bars are from Japan and have family there. Most are doing something for the cause. Sushi Azabu is donating proceeds from an upcoming, April 14 meal to the Japanese Red Cross and Sushi Zen will send proceeds collected from a donation box to the Japanese Red Cross. More restaurants in NYC donating Japan Relief at the end of the issue.
FACTS: Last week’s earthquake off the coast of Japan measured 9.0 magnitude, which makes it the fourth most powerful earthquake on record worldwide. Earth's poles shifted by more than 3 inches and Japan moved 12-13 feet closer to Hawaii. Because of the changes the quake caused, the earth’s day is now 1.8 microseconds shorter.
Note from Japan: I received an email from a friend in Japan, he says that the whole country felt the quake and the aftershocks still continue. He said everyone in Japan is shaken over the earthquakes but are terrified over the thought of radiation exposure.


STARTS TODAY, March 17, 
31st Edition, March 17-20, 2011



One of the most important international photography events of the year will be presented by AIPAD in New York City at the Park Ave. Armory (Park @ 67th St.), from March 17 through 20, 2011. More than 75 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a wide range of museum-quality work including contemporary, modern, and 19th century photographs, as well as photo-based art, video, and new media.

Happy St Patricks Day!!!!
Here I share a Step Dancing Flashmob at Central Station, Sydney, Australia that happened today!

Until later,

More Japan Relief Restaurants:

Terroir, 413 East 12th St.; Terroir Tribeca 24 Harrison St.; Hearth, 403 East 12th St.: Starting today, the team behind Terroir wine bars and Hearth restaurant will raise money for Japan by offering Yoshi's Fried Chicken at both Terroir locations and an original cocktail at Hearth, all proceeds of which will be donated to the relief efforts. Yoshi Nonaka is a Japanese line cook at Hearth, and his favorite childhood dish is his special fried chicken ($6/order).
Megu, 62 Thomas St: Donating 5% of all beverage sales from Megu New York and Megu Midtown from now through March 20 to the Japanese Red Cross's earthquake relief program.
Mehtaphor, 130 Duane St.: Donating 100% of the restaurant’s proceeds from bar and dinner sales from today, March 16 from 6 - 8 PM and all proceeds from a children's cooking class this Friday to the Japanese Red Cross.
SHO Shaun Hergatt, 40 Broad St.: Donating 10% of all sake sales from today, March 16 through Wednesday, March 23 to the Japanese Red Cross
Tocqueville, 1 East 15th St.; 15 East, 15 East 15th St.: Donating 5% of both restaurants’ beverage sales from today, March 16 through Tuesday, March 22 to the Japanese Red Cross.
Sushi Samba, various locations: Giving 100% of the proceeds from a $12 special sushi roll to the Red Cross.
Nobu and Nobu Next Door, 105 Hudson Street; and Nobu 57,40 West 57th: Donating $50 off of every $150 Omakase tasting menu to a relief organization, every night of the week from now until April.
Angels and Kings, 500 E 11th St: On Thursday, March 31, the bar is hosting a "NYC Vegan Drinks World Vets' Japan Disaster Relief Program," with $2 off drinks from 7pm- 8pm, and well and beer drinks for $1 off from 8pm-9pm.
Le Bernardin, 155 West 51st St.: "Le Bernardin will donate 100% of the profits of the sales of our 4 books for one month to Save the Children and Direct Relief International."
Aldea, 31 West 17th St.: Aldea will be donating 20% of its sales on Monday, March 21st to Doctors without Borders, a charity that provides assistance to populations in distress and victims of natural or man-made disasters.
Co., 230 9th Ave.: Jim Lahey and the team at Co. will be sponsoring a Japanese Disaster Relief Fundraising Event on Monday, April 4th from 5 PM to 11 PM. 50% of ALL SALES will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross to assist in their relief efforts.
Big D's Grub Truck: This two month-old truck will be donating 10% of its sales on Friday, March 18, to Doctors Without Borders. Big D's Grub Truck (serving Asian style tacos & grinders) will be providing lunch service at 18th Street and 5th this Friday.
Benjamin's Steakhouse, 52 East 41st St.: This Friday, March 18th, 10% of the day's sales will be donated to the JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund.
Bar Basque, 839 6th Ave.: Bar Basque will offer a special Basque Experience four-course tasting menu with a glass of cava for $56 (plus tax and gratuity) every Monday night beginning this Monday, March 21st. A portion of the proceeds from the tasting menu will go to support HAPPY HEARTS Fund.
Ballaro, 77 2nd Ave.: This Sunday, March 20th, Ballaro in the East Village will donate 100% of the evening's sales to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Effort. The evening will be sponsored by Moretti Beer and Laciale Hair Salon.
The Kelvin Natural Slush Co., 5th Ave. & 22nd St.: On Sunday, March 20, pay what you want for a slushee and 100% of all money they collect goes to the Red Cross. From noon until they run out.

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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