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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Chiura Obata: American Modern

Smithsonian American Art Museum / Washington, D.C. / Art

Born in Japan in 1885, and resettled in California in 1903, the artist Chiura Obata described W.W. II—and the Japanese internment camps that came with it—as a tidal wave. “The sudden burst of Pearl Harbor,” he said, “was as if the mother earth on which we stood was swept by the terrific force of a big wave of resentment by the American people.” In his stunning landscape paintings, Obata compared cultural conditions to environmental ones, with California’s awesome wilderness reflecting the enormous challenges he faced as an artist and an immigrant. By beautifully balancing Western and Japanese techniques, he signaled his hope for cross-cultural horizons. This major retrospective presents 150 of Obata’s paintings, many for the first time. —C.J.F.

Smithsonian American Art Museum F St NW &, 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, United States
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