Skip to Content

The Museum is open Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Learn More

MaxPoint Pixel
Loading Events


Guest Lecture & Tour Series: Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture

  • This event has passed.




Guest Lecture & Tour Series: Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture

Location: James S. Copley Auditorium

Event Navigation

Friday, April 19
10:00 a.m.
James S. Copley Auditorium

Andreas Marks, Ph.D., Head of Japanese Art and Korean Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, will speak on the subject of contemporary Japanese lacquer sculptures.

Since the Neolithic era, artisans in East Asia have coated bowls, cups, boxes, baskets, and other utilitarian objects with a natural polymer distilled from the sap of the rhus verniciflua, known as the lacquer tree. Lacquerware was – and still is – prized for its sheen, a lustrous beauty that artists learned to accentuate over the centuries with inlaid gold, silver, mother-of-pearl, and other precious materials.

Since the late 1980s, this tradition has been challenged. A small but enterprising circle of lacquer artists have pushed the medium in entirely new and dynamic directions by creating large-scale sculptures, works that are both conceptually innovative and superbly exploitive of lacquer’s natural virtues. To create these forms and shapes, contemporary lacquer artists bend tradition to their needs. Kofushiwaki Tsukasa’s Fallen Moon I is four meters (13 feet) long, a scale enabled by the kanshitsu technique, developed in China during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 AD), in which a base of lacquer-saturated hemp fiber is created with a mold. Many artists have gravitated to polystyrene, a lightweight, flexible, yet immutable material, such as Aoki Chie’s Body 09-1. For The Dual Sun, Kurimoto Natsuki used an even more modern base: an automobile hood.

Dr. Andreas Marks is the Head of the Japanese and Korean Art Department at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. From 2008 to 2013 he was the Director and Chief Curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in California. He has a Ph.D. from Leiden University in the Netherlands and a master’s degree in East Asian Art History from the University of Bonn. A specialist of Japanese woodblock prints, he is the author of 14 books. His “Publishers of Japanese Prints: A Compendium,” is the first comprehensive reference work in any language on Japanese print publishers. In 2014 he received an award from the International Ukiyo‐e Society in Japan for his research. He has curated exhibitions in a variety of media from pre‐modern to contemporary art and visual culture at 25 museums including the Birmingham Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Honolulu Museum of Art, San Antonio Museum of Art, and the San Diego Museum of Art. The Minneapolis Institute of Art just showed his exhibition “Love Affairs: The Tale of Genji in Japanese Art” and another one of his exhibitions, “Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture,” just closed at the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach, Florida, on March 31st. His new coffeetable book on masterpieces of Japanese woodblock prints will be published in autumn by Taschen.

This lecture is presented as a part of the Guest Lecture & Tour series, which focuses on works of art on view in the Museum as well as topics of interest in the broader art world. Lectures are followed by docent-led tours.

$13 members | $16 nonmembers | $8 seniors and military | $5 students

Sponsored by The San Diego Museum of Art Docent Council

Featured: Aoki Chie, born 1981. BODY 09-1 “Impact,” 2009. Lacquer and hemp cloth on foam polystyrene. 37 3/4 × 43 5/16 × 74 13/16 in. (95.89 × 110.01 × 190.02 cm). Minneapolis Institute of Art, Gift of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture 2013.29.1339​
Buy Event Tickets


April 19, 2019
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Categories:


James S. Copley Auditorium
1450 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101 United States
+ Google Map

Copyright © 2024 The San Diego Museum of Art | Website by Raindrop Raindrop Marketing Logo