Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection

Location: Japan Society, New York 
Date: February 2015
Curator: Miwako Tezuka
Services Provided: Exhibition Design, Graphic Design, Construction Documents


Excerpt from Japan Society Press Release:

Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1868). 

Ninety ukiyo-e prints in the exhibition are on loan from the esteemed Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation whose holdings are revered in Japan. Select prints, paintings, sculptures, and other works borrowed from U.S. collections complement these prints, making the exhibition over 120 artworks. With cross-cultural and multi-generational appeal, Life of Cats takes viewers on a wild ride through Japan’s love affair with our feline friends."

This collection offered endless sources of inspiration for our exhibition design. The rich colors of the wood block prints; the intricate patterns found in the walls and wardrobes, and the playful subject matter were all interpreted and integrated into the design. Reclaimed Fir slats and vegetable dyes were used to create an entryway into the show intended to draw the audience in and submerge them in the worlds found in the paintings.    

Exhibit Info

                                                                                                                                  Photo Credit: Richard P. Goodbody