Talk: The Thirtieth Annual Michele and Peter Berton Memorial Lecture on Japanese Art: Bachelors' Passions and Ladies' Crazes: The Gender of Japanism

3:30 pm | Sun, December 10, 2017
Brown Auditorium

Japanism—the emulation of Japan in the West—is often gendered feminine, referred to as a “fashion” or even a “craze,” with the implication that it need not be taken too seriously. This talk approaches Japanism from another perspective, examining its role in expressing modern forms of masculinity in the West.

Drawn from Christopher Reed’s recent book, Bachelor Japanists, this lecture traces the origins of Japanism as a form of male bonding from Paris in the 1860s, through the influential collection priorities and exhibition architecture for Japanese art at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. When upper-class Bostonians discovered Japan and started collecting Japanese art, they saw within it an American—and Bostonian—framework, characterizing it in a more masculine way. Looking through this lens, we see how "Western" our view of the "East" can be.

Christopher Reed is liberal arts professor of English and visual culture at the Pennsylvania State University. He edited the catalogue for the 2016 exhibition JapanAmerica: Points of Contact 1876–1970, and his Bachelor Japanists: Japanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities was recently published by Columbia University Press.

Established in 1988, the Michele and Peter Berton Memorial Lecture on Japanese Art series was conceived to advance research on Japanese art and to communicate these findings to a broad audience.

LACMA | Brown Auditorium
Free and open to the public
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Image: Noh Costume (atsuita) with Design of Waves, Cart Wheels and Winged Dragons (detail) Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), late 18th to early 19th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection and Julia Bradford Huntington James Fund, photo © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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