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Aperture In Person

Tomatsu on the Americans

Tuesday, May 20

6:00 pm

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore 547 West 27th Street New York, NY


This event is free for students with ID and Aperture Members at the $50 level and above.

Shomei Tomatsu, one of Japan’s foremost twentieth-century photographers, created one of the defining portraits of postwar Japan. Beginning in the late 1950s, Tomatsu committed to photographing as many of the American military bases in Japan as possible, focusing on the seismic impact of the American victory and occupation: uniformed American soldiers carousing in red-light districts with Japanese women; foreign children at play in seedy landscapes, home to American forces; and the emerging protest formed in response to the ongoing American military presence. Join photographer Leo Rubinfien (editor and essayist of Tomatsu’s recent Aperture publication Chewing Gum and Chocolate), Dr. Miwako Tezuka, and Matthew Witkovsky for a panel discussion on Tomatsu’s work and influence on a generation of Japanese photographers.

Leo Rubinfien is a photographer, writer, and curator. Books of his work include A Map of the East and Wounded Cities. In 2006, he cocurated Skin of the Nation, a retrospective of Shomei Tomatsu’s work; he also recently served as guest curator of Garry Winogrand. Both exhibitions were organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and traveled to other venues thereafter.

Dr. Miwako Tezuka is the first Japanese director of Japan Society in its over one hundred-year-long history, appointed in 2012. She is an internationally recognized curator and expert in modern and contemporary Japanese art. Tezuka received her PhD from the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University in 2005 with a dissertation titled Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop): Avant-Garde Experiments in Japanese Art of the 1950s. In her current role at Japan Society, Tezuka curated Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints (2013); Rebirth: Recent Work by Mariko Mori (2013–14); and Points of Departure: Treasures of Japan from the Brooklyn Museum (2014). Points of Departure is on view at Japan Society Gallery through June 8, 2014.

Matthew S. Witkovsky is Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, a position he has held since his arrival there in 2009. In his five years at that institution, Witkovsky has published five books and curated eleven exhibitions, among them Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, two years ago. He received his doctorate in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, with a thesis on avant-garde art in former Czechoslovakia

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the board and Members of Aperture Foundation.


Tomatsu on the Americans