You are here

CEAS Humanities Series "Parallel Modernism: Koga Harue and Avant-Garde Art in Modern Japan"

Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 4:30pm

Chinghsin Wu, Assistant Professor of Art History, Rutgers University

Annenberg 111

Chinghsin Wu is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts at Rutgers University, Camden. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in Japanese and Chinese art with an emphasis on transnational and cross-cultural perspectives. She is the author of Parallel Modernism: Koga Harue and Avant-Garde Art in Modern Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019) and Truth through Immersion: A Biography of Painter Tsai Yun-yan [Ronghui Zhizhen Tsai Yun-yan] (Taipei: Yishujia Chubanshe, 2018).

This talk provides an overview of the emergence of modern art in Japan, including Cubism, Expressionism, and Surrealism. Using the works of an avant-garde artist, Koga Harue, as examples, my study offers up a new framework for understanding the simultaneous emergence of multiple global modernisms around the world—a framework I call “parallel modernisms.” At a time of increasingly global contemporaneity, Japanese artists arrived at superficially similar art movements responding to the globally shared condition of modernity, but I show how focusing on these similarities can be misleading because they mask differences in the underlying art theory and practice that stemmed from differences in local social and political contexts. Breaking down long-cherished analytical binaries that treat modern art as either central or peripheral, this talk elucidates how multiple modernisms developed in Japan in ways that often paralleled similar trends in the West but in other cases rejected or diverged from them.