Modern Love: 20th-Century Japanese Erotic Art

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    Masami Teraoka (b. 1936). 'Sara and the Octopus / Seventh Heaven,' United States, Contemporary, 2001. Woodblock print; ink and color on Hosho paper. Partial Purchase and Gift of Masami Teraoka and Catharine Clark Gallery, 2007 (31304)

November 20, 2014 - March 15, 2015
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

What happened to the genre of shunga (sexually explicit art) in modern Japan? Concluding the Honolulu Museum of Art’s acclaimed exhibition series on Japan’s sexual culture, Modern Love: 20th-Century Japanese Erotic Art reveals the extent to which Japanese artists revolutionized the genre amidst the country’s rapid westernization and in the aftermath of the Pacific War (1941–1945).

From the demure nudes of print designer Hashiguchi Goyō (1880–1921) to explicit manga (graphic novels) by cutting-edge illustrators such as Maruo Suehiro (b. 1946) and Anno Moyoco (b. 1971), this exhibition considers the diverse ways in which modern Japanese artists have addressed the subjects of sex, gender, and sexual orientation. Other topics include the aesthetics of ero-kawaii (erotic cuteness) and ero-guro (erotic grotesquerie) as well as performative trends such as cosplay (erotic costuming) and shibari (bondage). Featured in this exhibition are Masami Teraoka (b. 1936) and Yumiko Glover, two Japanese artists who reside in Hawai`i and who discuss sexuality in terms of global social issues such as women’s rights and the AIDS crisis.

Modern Love: 20th-Century Japanese Erotic Art is co-curated by Shawn Eichman, Curator of Asian Art, and Stephen Salel, Robert F. Lange Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art. The exhibition coincides with the release of the book Shunga—Stages of Desire: Sexuality in Japanese Art, published by Skira Rizzoli and written by Eichman and Salel.

See Modern Love, as well as the two previous shunga exhibitions, online.

This exhibition and related programming are funded by an anonymous donor.