Starts: Mar 12, 2008 - Ends: Jun 14, 2008
Submission Deadline: Mar 12, 2008
Once considered the preserve of an insular youth culture, within the last decade Japanese animated cartoons (anime), comics and illustrated narratives (manga), and interactive video games have migrated into the mainstream, with reverberations both high and low. In a first for New York City, the Japan Society explores this phenomenon in "KRAZY!: The Delirious World of Anime + Manga + Video Games" from March 12 through June 14, 2009.
Displayed in a series of enveloping spaces designed to evoke Tokyo's clamorous cityscape by the Tokyo-based architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow, Krazy! will present simultaneous projections of anime films, accompanied by preparatory sketches and soundtracks; hundreds of comic books (including first editions and English translations), along with rare concept drawings and related action figures and other merchandise and video excerpts and table console computer games that can be played by visitors.
Altogether, 200 works of art, objects, and ephemera will be assembled to illustrate the interconnected roots and themes of the three genres and to situate them within the context of Japanese art and life.
Focusing exclusively on the work and influence of Japanese writers, illustrators, and designers, Joe Earle, Director, Japan Society Gallery, has adapted KRAZY! from an exhibition of the same name organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada, originating there in Spring 2008. Co-curators are the Vancouver Art Gallery's Senior Curator Bruce Grenville; the world's foremost authority on manga, Kiyoshi Kusumi, the editor of the Japanese magazine COMICKERS, as well as an established art critic and cultural theorist; and the sociologist, media theorist, and critic Toshiya Ueno, who serves as Associate Professor in the Expressive Cultures Department at Wako University, Tokyo.
"In the 19th century, the Japanese master Hokusai incorporated aspects of European art into the traditional Japanese visual style, creating a revolutionary new art-which was then avidly absorbed by European painters as a purely 'Japanese art.' Such a give-and-take describes in part the dynamic nature of this new wave of art and popular culture as well," said Joe Earle, Director, Japan Society Gallery.
Seminal works by six influential anime artists, eight manga artists, one sound artist and two video game designers are featured in KRAZY!. Exhibition highlights include excerpts from the classic anime, AKIRA (1988) by Katsuhiro Otomo, which was set in the year 2019 in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo and introduced to Western audiences what would become the prototypical anime character-statuesque figure, heart-shaped face, and huge eyes-and a narrative that forecasted complexity and fantasy to come. "Girl" power surfaces in this section in the form of Paprika, a red-headed psychotherapist invented by the artist Satoshi Kon who has the ability to "jack in" to other people's dreams with nightmarish results that include a parade of Buddhist statues, Chinese fortune figures, Japanese dolls, the Statue of Liberty, and a myriad hi-tech gadgets. Other anime artists whose works are highlighted are Mamoru Ishii, Ichiro Itano, Masaaki Yuasa, Makoto Shinkai and Ushio Tazawa.
A sound room will allow visitors to savor anime soundtracks by Yoko Kanno that have achieved cult status around the world, with their fusion of jazz, hard rock, blues, hip hop, and ambient techno, devised for such anime film and television shows as COWBOY BEBOP (1998) and GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX (2002), and the music for the slapstick mafia film MIND GAME by animator Masaaki Yuasa, which was composed and performed by the infamous Osaka-based noise band, The Boredoms.
The manga section of KRAZY! illustrates how Japanese artists have taken the art of silk paintings and woodblock prints and combined them with the genre story and American-style punch to create something totally new. Taiyo Matsumoto's unique style of remixing a narrative and breaking up the frame on a page with slices of close-up expressions is featured here in drawings for and copies of BLACK & WHITE, (1993-1994), her story of two orphans who defend a city named TAKARA-MACHI (TREASURE TOWN) from evil adults.