Chattanooga, TN (March 16, 2015) – Los Angeles native Gajin Fujita draws upon his Japanese American heritage for his mural-sized, powerfully iconic and vibrantly layered paintings. Opening to the public April 10, the Hunter Museum will feature six of Fujita’s large-scale paintings and several related drawings. Embracing two worlds, Fujita’s works combine elements from traditional Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints with elements of urban street art. In these works graffiti, spray paint, stencils and markers mix with classically applied gold leaf and acrylic paint. Ukiyo-e were created from the 17th to 19th centuries, and originally depicted courtesans and kabuki actors. Over time, they came to feature characters from Japanese history and folklore. Fujita uses the same subjects, but his samurai and geisha take on the LA urban scene with references to gangs, art history, sports teams and American pop culture setting the stage. Many of Fujita’s larger works are multi-paneled, much like Japanese screens or sliding doors.
The Gajin Fujita exhibition is part of a trio of Hunter exhibits this year that will explore the influence of Japanese art on American artists. While Fujita’s work is a contemporary take on culture and identity, the Japonisme and America exhibit (opening to the public on May 8, 2015) and the Monet and American Impressionism exhibition (opening to the public on June 27, 2015) will look at the wide-ranging inspiration that western artists have drawn from Japanese art and printmaking.
Another exhibit, New on View II, will also open to the public on April 10 and will showcase a number of the Museum’s latest acquisitions since 2011. In the last three to four years, the Museum has collected a variety of works, ranging from historic paintings to contemporary photography to video art. Works in the permanent collection galleries rotate often, so this exhibition gives the visitor a chance to look back at a period of time and see how the Hunter’s collection has grown, changed and diversified. Visitors will also see more recent acquisitions on display throughout the permanent collection galleries.
The Hunter Museum will host Gajin Fujita as its second Art Wise program speaker on Thursday, May 14 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Attendees will have to opportunity to learn more about Fujita’s work, his process and his career. The Art Wise: Distinguished Speakers at the Hunter series is generously sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Community Trust with additional support from Sally and Buddy Faulkner.
General admission is $9.95 for adults and $4.95 for children. Hunter Members receive unlimited visits to the museum and discounted admission for events with membership levels beginning at $50 and up. A $5 admission rate is required to view these special exhibitions and free admission to view the Hunter Museum’s permanent collection on Free First Sundays. To learn more about membership, upcoming exhibitions, and other happenings at the Hunter Museum, visit www.huntermuseum.org.
About the Hunter Museum of American Art – Located at 10 Bluff View in Chattanooga, TN, the Hunter Museum is open every day (except Christmas Day, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day). For hours and admission rates, see www.huntermuseum.org/hours-admission. To learn more about membership and unlimited visits, upcoming exhibitions, and other happenings at the Hunter Museum, call (423) 267-0968, visit www.huntermuseum.org, or follow the Hunter Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Gajin Fujita, Hood Rats, 2012, spray paint, paint markers, Mean Streak, and gold leaf on wood panels, six panels, each: 72 x 20 inc. (182.9 x 50.8 cm) overall: 72 x 120 inches, Copyright Gajin Fujita. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA