Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945

March 16, 2012
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Gallery past event

Showcasing the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated design associated with both Japan and Art Deco style, this exhibition is the first in the U.S. to explore a little-known brand of pre-WWII modernism borne of competitive ingenuity and vivacious cosmopolitanism. Curated by Dr. Kendall Brown, Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945 subtly conveys the complex social and cultural tensions in Japan during the Taisho and early Showa periods through dramatically designed examples of metalwork, ceramics, lacquer, glass, furniture, jewelry, sculpture and evocative ephemera such as sheet music, posters, postcards, prints and photography. The vitality of the era is further expressed through the theme of the moga ("modern girl")–an emblem of contemporary urban chic that flowered briefly, along with the Art Deco style, in the 1920s and ’30s.

Gallery Hours
Tues.-Thurs. 11 AM-6 PM; Fri. 11 AM-9 PM; Sat. & Sun. 11 AM-5 PM; closed Mon. & major holidays.

Docent-led walk-in tours are conducted Tues.-Sun. at 12:30 PM. Japanese Language tours are conducted Friday nights at 6 PM and at other times by appointment. Tours are free with admission and are approximately one hour in duration. To arrange group tours, call (212)715-1224.


$12; students & seniors $10; Japan Society members & children under 16 free.
Admission is free to all on Friday nights, 6-9 PM.

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 is drawn from The Levenson Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.

The exhibition curator is Kendall H. Brown, Professor of Art, California State University, Long Beach.

Support has been provided by The Chisholm Foundation. His Excellency Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America, is Honorary Patron of the exhibition.

The exhibition at Japan Society is generously supported by Chris A. Wachenheim, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf, Kenneth A. Cowin, Martha J. Fleischman, Marjorie G. Neuwirth, Kathleen and Martin Feldstein, and the Leadership Committee for Deco Japan: Shaping Modern Culture, 1920-1945.

Media sponsorship is provided by WNYC.

Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines.

Exhibitions at Japan Society are made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and the Friends of the Gallery.


  • March 16, 2012 – June 10, 2012