Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Asian Art Museum 2: Masami Teraoka

Continuing backwards into the Monster Japanese Prints room at the Asian Art Museum, there are a couple of pieces by Masami Teraoka, the Japanese pop artist who went from starving student in 1960s Los Angeles to flavor of the 1970s with his groundbreaking bit of multiculturalism, "McDonald's Hamburgers Invading Japan/Geisha and Tattooed Woman."

In the same vein was the "31 Flavors Invading Japan," one of which is part of the permanent collection.

In the 1980s, he continued working in the same Japanese woodcut print style with an "AIDS" series that is fascinating. The artist is quoted on the signage, "Working on my AIDS series was emotionally intense, and taking a break from it to create uncluttered landscape paintings helped to balance my psyche." The huge, stylized Northern California coastline painting is just about perfect.

The artist lives in Waimanalo, Hawaii with his painter wife Lynda Hess (click here for an entertaining interview in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin), and he has now moved on to mock Italian Renaissance panels that illustrate pedophile priests and homeland security inspecting Venus, among other things. (Click here for the website he shares with Ms. Hess.)

Further down the room is one of my favorite Japanese screens in the permanent collection...

...a centuries-old abstraction on horses taken away from nature.

Nearby is my favorite Japanese Buddha in the museum, an old wooden sculpture that radiates wisdom.

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