Transcending Time: Japanese Art & Technology

January 31, 2024
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Talks+ past event

Part of the Talks+ Living Traditions Series

Japanese art has an allure that transcends time, from the resplendent beauty of paintings on golden screens to the elegant lines of ikebana flower arrangements. In modern times, new technologies are revolutionizing our engagement with these art forms. High-precision replicas of precious paintings can be created, allowing the originals to be safely preserved, while still being accessible to the public. Meanwhile, contemporary artists are using technology to express traditional Japanese artistic concepts in novel ways. At this talk, Frank Feltens, Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and Japanese new media artist and Professor of Kyoto University Naoko Tosa, creator of Sounds of Ikebana, examine the applications of technology in the world of Japanese art today. Moderated by Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

Program Details
This is a free event, with advance registration required.

About the Speakers

Frank Feltens is Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He holds a Ph.D. in Japanese art history from Columbia University. Feltens is a specialist in Japanese painting with a focus on the late medieval and early modern periods. At NMAA, Feltens has organized a number of exhibitions, including Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan (2022), Hokusai: Mad about Painting (2019/2022) and Japan Modern: Prints in the Age of Photography (2018–19). His books include Ogata Kōrin: Art in Early Modern Japan (Yale, 2021) and, with Yukio Lippit, Sesson Shūkei: A Zen Monk-Painter in Medieval Japan (Hirmer, 2021). 

Naoko Tosa has been a Professor at Kyoto University since 2005. After receiving her Ph.D. in art and technology research from the University of Tokyo she worked as a researcher at the ATR (Advanced Technology Research Labs) Media Integration & Communication Lab (1995-2001). As an Artist Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2001-2004), she established a new research theme “Cultural Computing,” which has been widely accepted by researchers worldwide. Tosa’s artwork has been shown and collected by the Museum of Modern Art. Also, her artwork has been exhibited by many museums such as the National Museum of Art in Osaka. In 2016, she was appointed as the 2016 Cultural Exchange Ambassador, visiting 10 cities in eight countries, and spent a month in in New York City, screening “Sound of Ikebana: Spring” on over 60 billboards in Times Square and conducting cultural exchanges. 

Monika Bincsik is Diane and Arthur Abbey Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. From 2008 to 2009 she was a Jane and Morgan Whitney Research Fellow at The Met. Later she worked as a research assistant at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, where she earned a second Ph.D. on Japanese lacquers. She has organized numerous exhibitions for the museum, notably Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met (2015); Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection (2017); Kyoto: Capital of Artistic Imagination (2019); and Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection. She has published extensively on Japanese decorative arts and collecting history, recently in The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated (2019) and Kimono Style: Edo Traditions to Modern Design (2022).  

Image: Kenninji © Naoko Tosa; Frank Feltens © Robert Harrell; © Naoko Tosa.

Living Traditions series is co-presented with the Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden and supported by the Government of Japan.

Information about Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden’s iteration of Living Tradition 2024 is available here.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support for cultural programs is provided by an anonymous donor and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

  • Wednesday, January 31, 2024
  • 6:30 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Free Event

This event is at capacity.

An in-person wait-list will begin at the Box Office one hour prior to the event. Being on the wait-list does not guarantee admission.