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Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles

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The exhibition, Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles, is on view at the Japanese American National Museum from October 15, 2011 through February 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Drawing the Line explores the cultural resonance of several key Japanese American artists in the decades following the Second World War. By situating the work of a diverse group of creative figures in the context of resettlement and a subsequent shifting sense of cultural identity, the exhibition brings to light a complex story that weaves art and community as part of the same fabric. “While this story is specific to the unique circumstances of Japanese Americans from the 1950s to the early 1980s,” explained Curator Kris Kuramitsu, “it also resonates and overlaps with other social and cultural movements, like the Civil Rights, Anti-Vietnam War, and Women’s Movements. This broad view of activism and art provides a nuanced reading of politics in the creative work of artists across multiple generations.” The exhibition includes artists such as painter Matsumi “Mike” Kanemitsu; musician and dancer Nobuko Miyamoto, founder of Great Leap; photographer and filmmaker Robert A. Nakamura; performance artist Linda Nishio; painter and printmaker Ben Sakoguchi; automobile designer Larry Shinoda; the seminal Asian American magazine Gidra; graphic designer Qris Yamashita; filmmaker and visual artist Norman Yonemoto; and visual artist Bruce Yonemoto. The exhibition gives a glimpse of the changing ways that Japanese Americans created visions of and for themselves and their communities. This album presents video interviews with the artists, their families, and friends featured in the exhibition. Produced by the Museum’s Watase Media Arts Center, the videos are also available for sale on a DVD through the Museum Store. This exhibition is part of the project Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945 – 1980, an unprecedented collaboration initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation of more than fifty cultural institutions across Southern California, which are coming together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Pacific Standard Time, which is taking place over six months beginning October 2011, is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.


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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation