Japanese Design for the Senses: Beauty, Form and Function
September 30, 2014 – January 18, 2015
Morikami Museum features three distinct exhibitions related to the theme of Japanese design aesthetics. Each exhibit features objects that touch the human senses visually and spatially, with each work designed and crafted to be both beautiful and functional. Examples range from folding screens with exquisite paintings that divide a room and provide privacy, to brilliant lacquer storage boxes engraved with gold- and silver powdered designs, to remarkable furniture pieces that are as magnificent in their form as they are in their functionality.
Touch of Gold: Lacquerware Boxes and the Paintings of Elaine Ehrenkranz
For over forty years, Elaine Ehrenkranz, a talented painter, formed a comprehensive collection of magnificent Japanese lacquerware boxes ranging in date from the 15th- to the mid-19th centuries. A large portion of her collection was donated to the Harvard University Art Museums in 1997, with the remaining masterpieces, including several of Elaine’s paintings inspired by these Japanese lacquerware boxes, bequeathed to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in 2013. Touch of Gold features her remarkable gift to the Morikami.
Ma: Defining Space: Studio Furniture of Yoko Zeltserman-Miyaji
A built-in storage system comprised of staggered shelves, chigai-dana first appeared inside shoin-style homes in the Kamakura era (1192 – 1333), replacing the freestanding, portable bookcases that were used to store and display scrolls, books, tea utensils and other decorative objects. A companion to the tokonoma, an alcove in which hanging scrolls and other objects of art are decoratively displayed, chigai-dana is an integral part of Japanese domestic architecture. In its design, this timelessly elegant shelving and storage system accentuates the simple yet refined beauty of form and function that is the essence of Japanese design and furniture aesthetics. This exhibition was organized by Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Katachi: The Essence of Aesthetic Form and Function in Japanese Furniture
Katachi embodies the hallmark of Japanese aesthetics: the harmonious balance of the beauty of form and the fineness of workmanship and functionality. This exhibition draws upon the Morikami’s own collection of Japanese furniture, from 19th-century decorative folding screens and large, multi-door storage chests to benches and tables made by George Nakashima (1905 – 1990), a leading innovator of 20th-century furniture design and one of the founders of the American Craft Movement.