The James A. Michener Art Museum is presenting Mid-Century Manga: The Modern Japanese Print in America, March 4-July 30.
Mid-Century to Manga celebrates the historical and continued local interest in Japanese and Japanese American printmaking and illustration. The exhibition traces the story of the modern sōsaku-hanga (or “creative prints”) movement and other creative collectibles across the past century, from Japan to the United States and beyond.
Highlighting a prominent local story, the central feature of the exhibition is the display of three original copies of James Michener’s 1962 book The Modern Japanese Print: An Appreciation. This very large folio (each is approximately two-feet tall and three-feet wide when opened) contains signed original woodblock prints by modern Japanese printmakers Hiratsuka Un’Ichi, Maekawa Sempan, Mori Yoshitoshi, Watanabe Sadao, Kinoshita Tomio, Shima Tamami, Azechi Umetaro, Iwami Reika, Yoshida Masaji, and Maki Haku.
The exhibition will feature 75 prints on paper, over two dozen of which have never been on display at the Michener Art Museum before (such as Kiyoshi Saitō’s Winter in Aizu series).
“We are very excited to be displaying works from our collection which are so rarely shared with the public,” said director of exhibitions Joshua Lessard. “This show highlights many incredible and exciting stories of cultural exchange and continuity, from the early Showa Era through to contemporary artists making prints today.”
To engage audiences of all ages, the museum will offer a range of programs, including a manga workshop for teens, an International Family Day celebration, floral design and Japanese printmaking workshops.
For this project, the Michener Art Museum is engaging regional partners at the University of Pennsylvania to provide specific content-area expertise, with curation by the History of Art Department chair Julie Nelson Davis, and support from curatorial fellows Marina De Melo Do Nascimento, Maria Puzyreva and Nicholas M. Purgett.
Mid-Century to Manga is sponsored by Richard C. von Hess Foundation, Visit Bucks County and the 35th Anniversary Initiative.
Visit michenerartmuseum.org/ for more information.