Isamu Noguchi/Qi Baishi: And Other Inspiring Encounters In and Beyond Modern Asian Art

I have the privilege of presenting “Untangling a “Hairy” Encounter: Making Sense of Ainu Representation at the World’s Fair” at a symposium in conjunction with the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930. Very excited to think through these different “encounters.” Schedule after the cut!

Saturday, May 18, 9 AM – 5:00 PM
Helmut Stern Auditorium
University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Free and open to public

20130413-161905.jpgIn conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930, UMMA presents a one-day symposium on the significance and legacy of the creative relationship between the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi and the Chinese ink painter Qi Baishi. As Noguchi’s Peking Drawings from this period dramatically demonstrate, this collaboration was far more complex and unpredictable than can be understood by the over-determined binary framework of Japonisme in Euro-America and the Westernization of culture in East Asia. The drawings are one striking manifestation of the broad range of encounters between different positions within and beyond modern Asian visual cultures that proliferated throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This symposium will bring together an impressive group of scholars of Asian art history to explore a diverse range of the kinds of inventions catalyzed by modern encounters such as that between Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi in Beijing in 1930.

Participants in the symposium include David Clarke (University of Hong Kong), Bert Winther-Tamaki (University of California, Irvine), Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker (Frye Art Museum, Seattle), Yasuko Tsuchikane (Parsons The New School for Design), Christina Spiker (University of California, Irvine), Jason Steuber (Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida) and Natsu Oyobe (UMMA).

For questions, please send messages to David Choberka (dchoberk [at] umich [dot] edu)


9:00 – 9:30 Coffee/Tea

9:30 – 9:45 Welcome Remarks

Joseph Rosa (Director, UMMA)
Jenny Dixon (Director, The Noguchi Museum)


Introduction to the exhibition Isamu Noguchi/Qi Baishi/Beijing 1930
Natsu Oyobe (UMMA)

10:00 – 11:15 Session 1

Artistic Encounters between China and the West from the Eighteenth to the
Twentieth Century

David Clarke (University of Hong Kong)

Grabbism: 1930
Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker (Frye Art Museum)

Response by Celeste Brusati (University of Michigan)

11:15 – 11:30 break

11:30 – 12:45 Session 2

Untangling a “Hairy” Encounter: Making Sense of Ainu Representation at the
World’s Fair

Christina Spiker (University of California, Irvine)

Artists Abroad East and West: Some Early Twentieth Century Encounters
Jason Steuber (Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida)

Response by Kevin Carr (University of Michigan)

12:45 – 2:30 Lunch and exhibition viewing

2:30 – 3:45 Session 3

Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor’s Brush with Ink
Bert Winther-Tamaki (University of California, Irvine)

Invention of “Traditional” and “International” in Post-World War Two Japanese Ceramics: the Picasso Boom and Koyama Fujio
Yasuko Tsuchikane (Parsons The New School for Design)

Response by Alex Potts (University of Michigan)

3:45 – 4:15 Coffee/tea break

4:15– 5:00 Discussion

moderated by Bert Winther-Tamaki

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