Yasufumi Nakamori: For a New World to Come: Experiments with the Camera, 1968–1979 Japan
Department of Art Fall 2013 Lecture Series
Yasufumi Nakamori (Ph.D. ’11) is an associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he focuses on art and photography made after 1900. Nakamori also teaches the history of modern and contemporary Japanese art and architecture at Rice University. As an expert on the interdisciplinary field of the photography, architecture and visual culture of 20th-century Japan, he has recently authored scholarly essays, including “Tange Kenzō’s Early Photographs and the Tradition Debate (dentō ronsō)” in Kenzō Tange: Architecture for the World (Lars Müller Publishers / Harvard Graduate School of Design 2012) and “Criticism of Expo '70 in Print: Journals Ken, Dezain Hihyō, and Bijutsu Techō” in Josai University Review of Japanese Culture and Society, vol. 23, 2012 (a special issue on Expo '70 and Japanese Art). In 2011, Nakamori won an Alfred H. Barr Jr. award from the College Art Association for his publication Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (MFAH in association with Yale University Press 2010).
In his talk at Cornell Nakamori will shed light on Japanese art and photography primarily from the 1970s — a subject that is less known outside Japan, and that is characterized by the intense search for new directions by select artists and photographers, after the 1960s, when the force of avant-garde art and the tension in politics peaked. Nakamori will argue that during the 1970s select artists and photographers devoted themselves to experiments with the camera, individually searching for new and vital directions in their practice, exploring such emerging notions as gainen (a Japanese word for “concept”), postmodernism, and contemporaneity. Nakamori will make a case for the emergence of a shared field of practice between art and photography, and for the critical role that photography played in the emergence and development of conceptualism in the 1970s Japan, paralleling and sometimes preceding the global evolution of diverse conceptual practices.