Japanese Art

ART 335 SURVEY OF JAPANESE ART Summer 2020 FINAL PROJECT: Exhibition Catalog of a Japanese Art Show

• Due Friday, August 7, by midnight via Blackboard
Assignment: You will curate a virtual exhibition of Japanese art and complete it by

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writing an exhibition catalog.


You would first select one iconic image of Japanese culture (you can be very

subjective), such as a specific work of art, scenery, object, people, realistic picture or abstract design that we have discussed in this course. Next, you should investigate this image thoroughly about its meaning and importance in terms of artistic traditions, aesthetic value, or cultural heritage in Japan. You may focus on any one of these three directions. The thesis of your virtual art show shall be inspired from this study, which will be a main component of your Introduction Essay (see #4-b below).

After you have finalized a thesis, you will select SEVEN works of Japanese art to be included in your curated art show, each work should develop a key point that may resonate or contrast with your main example. Among the seven works, at least ONE should be from the 21st century.

Conduct research on these seven works of art. You are required to draw upon at least SEVEN substantive works of scholarly analysis or art criticism:

These texts might come from books, articles, exhibition catalogs, or reputable

websites. Artist’s statements count if they are substantive and you analyze them


Online encyclopedias (e.g. Wikipedia) do NOT count!

After you have done a fair amount of research, you should start working on your exhibition catalog (see one sample catalog on Blackboard@CourseContent).

• Your exhibition catalog should include the following contents:

Title – ONE page. An expressive title of the exhibition. (5 points)

Introduction Essay –2-3 pages. This is where your thesis comes in. Explain the

significance of your exhibition that should include the iconic image of your choice and its meaning and importance in one of the following considerations: artistic traditions, aesthetic value, or cultural heritage in Japan. Single-spaced text. (35 points)

Catalog entry – 7+ pages. You will write SEVEN individual entries; each entry should provide specific explanation and meaningful interpretation of the selected work. Single-spaced text. Every entry should have its pages, including both text and image (illustration of the work), separate from other entries. See How to write a catalog entry on page 2 for suggestions of entry contents. (50 points)

Bibliography – At least SEVEN sources, see #3 above. Use proper MLA or Chicago style. (10 points)


Beginning of entry:

– Illustration of work of art

– Title of work of art

– Artist and life dates, if known

– Date and/or period (periodization tends to be especially important for pre-modern art)

– Medium

– Dimensions

– Location where the work of art is now: museum, gallery, private collection, etc.

Body of entry:


– General description of media

– Discussion of format and function

– General discussion of type of object (i.e., rattles, fans, etc.)

– Discussion of any restoration

– Basic description of how this particular work of art looks, with attention to detail

– Formal analysis of composition


– Artist’s biography

– Influences on artist (or possibly who artist influenced)

– Comparison to other works of art by same artist, taking into account commonalities

between the works

– Discussion of something that the artist wrote that is not actually included as a part of the

work of art but is relevant to understanding the work

– Consideration of audience for whom work of art was intended, including patron and/or


– Reason for making the work of art

– How it was originally displayed, if that information is known


– Discussion of period in which work of art was created

– Making connection to society

– Explanation of foreign/period terminology

– Story that the work of art may be based on or derived from

– Content of work of art, including perhaps how artist became interested in theme, or why

artist was interested in theme, if known

– Translation of any writing that is a part of the work of art

– Reference to different kinds of evidence/sources (artistic, literary, etc.)

– Discussion of symbolism with attention to detail

– Entry writer’s interpretation of piece


End of entry:

– Further documentary evidence, such as seals or owners’/collectors’ marks included on work of art

– Bibliography of further references that discuss the work of art

– Footnote that directs reader to a specific citation

*For further information, please consult Sylvan Barnet, ed., A Short Guide to Writing about Art, 8th ed. (New York: Longman, 2004), 135-142.

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