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Famed Fog Sculptor Makes First-Ever NYC Public Presentation Following the Opening of Her First Major East Coast Installation

Into the Fog with Fujiko Nakaya

Tuesday, May 13, 6:30 pm at Japan Society

『霧の彫刻家 中谷芙二子』

"More than a thousand years ago in Japan, the ancients imagined fog as the breathing of the atmosphere." –Fujiko Nakaya

New York, NY – According to Glass House Director Henry Urbach, Philip Johnson's iconic masterpiece offers "the dream of transparency, an architecture that vanishes." Beginning in May, this "vanishing architecture" will itself disappear every hour on the hour under an ephemeral atmospheric veil conjured by renowned artist Fujiko Nakaya.

For Glass House's 65th anniversary, Urbach commissioned a site-specific installation from Nakaya, known for her pioneering use of fog as a sculptural medium and for being the first artist ever to create a sculptural fog environment. Fujiko Nakaya: Veil, her first major East Coast installation and on view through November 30, creates a "continuous interplay between what is visible and what is not… evoking a sense of mystery, foreboding and wonder," according to the artist.

On Tuesday May 13, at 6:30 pm, Nakaya makes her first-ever New York City public presentation on her collective fog works at Japan Society in Into the Fog with Fujiko Nakaya. She will discuss the Glass House Veil installation, as well as her fascination with and motivations for exploring an everyday weather phenomenon in her body of work, which includes fog gardens, falls, geysers and enshrouding the Pepsi Pavilion at the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka.

Urbach discusses the dynamic and participatory aspect of this anti-architectural medium, which transforms, distorts, and conceals its surroundings. Glass House represents a "balance of opposites," he says. "With Nakaya's temporary installation, we carry this sensibility to its endpoint while allowing the unique magic of the Glass House … to return again and again as the fog rises and falls."

The installation is as much about revealing as it is about concealing, says Nakaya. "Fog responds constantly to its own surrounding… [it] makes visible things become invisible and invisible things – like wind – become visible." Moderated by Experiments in Art and Technology's Julie Martin, the talk will feature video and visuals of Nakaya's work.

According to the Guggenheim Bilbao, which presented Nakaya's Fog Sculpture #08025 (F.O.G.) in 1998, "Fujiko Nakaya is the first artist to have worked with fog as a sculptural medium. This is not to say that she molds the medium according to her own conception; rather, her approach is a subtle collaboration with water, atmosphere, air currents, and time itself. Experiential and ephemeral in nature, her fog sculptures have certain affinities with Conceptual and Land art, but nevertheless represent a radical departure in the history of art and technology.”

Fujiko Nakaya was born in Sapporo, Japan in 1933. Her father, Ukichiro Nakaya, a physicist credited with making the first artificial snowflakes, had an impact on her work and, as a young art student, she became interested in working with cloud-like forms. In 1970, at the World Expo in Osaka, Japan, Nakaya created the world's first fog sculpture when she enveloped the Pepsi Pavilion in a vaporous mist, in collaboration with the legendary artist collaborative Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). Nakaya has created fog installations around the world, including projects for the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; the Grand Palais, Paris; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; and the Exploratorium, San Francisco, among others. She consulted with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro on the Blur Building for the 2002 Swiss Expo, and has worked with numerous artists (including Trisha Brown, David Tudor, and Bill Viola) on environments for music and performance. In addition to being Nakaya's first large-scale installation on the East Coast of the U.S., Fujiko Nakaya: Veil marks the first time her work has been presented at an internationally renowned historic site.

Henry Urbach became Director of the Glass House, New Canaan, CT in April 2012. Previously he was Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and, prior to that, directed Henry Urbach Architecture, a gallery of contemporary art and architecture in New York. Urbach completed his Master of Architecture degree at Columbia University and his M.A. in History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. He has taught at several schools of architecture, including UCLA and Yale University, and has written extensively about art, architecture, and culture.

Julie Martin (presider) joined the staff of Experiments in Art and Technology in 1967. Over the years he has worked closely with Billy Klüver on projects and activities of the organization, in particular on the design and construction of the Pepsi Pavilion for Expo ’70, in Osaka, Japan, where Fujiko Nakaya developed her first fog sculpture for the outside of the pavilion building. She was co-editor Pavilion (1972) and co-author of Kiki's Paris (1989). In 2010 she was coordinating producer for MoonRain, a collaboration with Nakaya, combining fog, video projection and live performers, presented at Dia:Beacon. Currently she is executive producer of a series of films being produced by E.A.T. and released on DVD that document each of the ten artists’ performances at 9 Evenings.

The Philip Johnson Glass House, a National Trust Historic Site, offers its 49-acre campus as a catalyst for the preservation and interpretation of modern architecture, landscape, and art; and as a canvas for inspiration and experimentation honoring the legacy of Philip Johnson (1906-2005) and David Whitney (1939-2005).

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Into the Fog with Fujiko Nakaya takes place Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30 pm. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). Tickets are $12/$8 Japan Society members, seniors and students, and may be purchased in person at Japan Society, at www.japansociety.org, or by calling the box office at 212-715-1258. For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit the website.

This event is co-organized with the Glass House. Lecture Programs at Japan Society are generously sponsored by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. Japan Airlines is the exclusive Japanese Airlines sponsor of Lecture Programs at Japan Society. United Airlines is the exclusive U.S. Airlines sponsor of Lecture Programs at Japan Society. Additional support is provided by Chris A. Wachenheim, and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

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Media Contacts:
Shannon Jowett, 212-715-1205, sjowett@japansociety.org
Kuniko Shiobara, 212-715-1249, kshiobara@japansociety.org

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