April 29, 2024/ 1:00 PM

314 Royce Hall

In the Shadow of Empire: Art in Occupied Japan

This talk unearths an immensely creative yet almost entirely overlooked period in Japanese art to reveal how it variously accommodated and resisted the workings of American empire in the early Cold War. With a focus on artworks made during the occupation (1945-1952), it shows how the political stakes of artistic expression in a polarizing world manifested in the unique site that was US-occupied Japan. The presentation will demonstrate how this transnational history of art, which stretches beyond Japan to include art from China, Europe, and the United States, holds the potential for rethinking not only the history of Japanese postwar art but also our existing narratives of global postwar art.

Alicia Volk is Professor of Japanese Art at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Made in Japan: The Postwar Creative Print Movement (2005) and In Pursuit of Universalism: Yorozu Tetsugorō and Japanese Modern Art (2010), recipient of the Phillips Book Prize of the Center for the Study of Modern Art at The Phillips Collection. She recently completed a book on early Cold War Japanese art titled In the Shadow of Empire: Art in Occupied Japan, which is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in 2025.


Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies