The late 1960s and early 1970s marked a period of political and social turmoil in Japan. The country was struggling to forge a new identity on the world stage, and Japanese artists were seeking a medium that could adequately respond to these uncertain times. For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968–1979 explores in depth, for the first time, the role of photography in the formation of contemporary art in Japan.
This groundbreaking exhibition presents some 250 works: photographs, photo books, paintings, sculpture, and film-based installations. The unprecedented survey demonstrates how 29 Japanese artists and photographers enlisted the camera to make experimental and conceptual shifts in their artistic practices during a time of radical societal change.
For a New World to Come draws from the MFAH collections and features loans from partner institutions in Japan, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. The exhibition sheds light on the intense search for new directions in Japanese art and photography in the 1970s. Many of the important experimental works on view are little known outside of Japan and have never been seen by U.S. audiences.
For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968–1979, was curated by Yasufumi Nakamori, Senior Curator of International Art (Photography) at Tate Modern. He previously served as curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 2008 to 2016, creating ground-breaking exhibitions such as Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (a recipient of the 2011 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums), and For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979. As a noted scholar of Japanese art and architecture, Nakamori has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues and has taught graduate seminars at Hunter College and Rice University. He is a 2016 fellow of the Getty Leadership Institute, holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin, an MA in Contemporary Art from Hunter College, the City University of New York, and a PhD in the History of Art and Visual Studies from Cornell University.