Curated by Sandra S. Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and organized at the Japan Society Gallery, New York, by Alexandra Munroe
Co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Japan Society Gallery
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 14–August 3, 1999
Japan Society Gallery and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 23, 1999–January 3, 2000
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, January 29–March 26, 2000
Museum Folkwang, Essen, May 21–July 2, 2000
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 12–October 29, 2000
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, November 2000–January 2001
In the spring of the year 2001, the exhibition traveled to several museum venues in Japan
“The first retrospective exhibition of Mr. Moriyama’s photographs anywhere in the world . . . an understanding of Japan’s upheaval is probably crucial to an understanding of this work, and the influences count, too. But in the end, the artist is an individual with a mind and feelings and talent that nothing external can wholly account for. Different photographers using the same photographic language in the same places wrote different synopses of their times. Art continues to move in mysterious ways. Let us now give thanks for mysteries.”
—Vicky Goldberg, New York Times
Poignant and beautiful work made in the gritty streets of postwar Tokyo by photographer Daido Moriyama are featured in the first exhibition to survey the work of this important Japanese artist. Organized by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Curator of Photography Sandra S. Phillips, who has devoted many years to the study of Moriyama’s oeuvre, the exhibition features nearly 200 black-and-white images and a major Polaroid piece that together examine the ambiguous relationship of postwar Japanese society to Western and particularly American influences. Influenced early on by William Klein and Andy Warhol, Moriyama stands as one of Japan’s central postwar artists.
The exhibition was organized at Japan Society by Alexandra Munroe, who also contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue.
Daido Moriyama: Hunter, a series of 40 vintage prints of postwar Japan by one of its foremost photographers, Daido Moriyama (b. 1938), is on view in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s North Mezzanine Gallery, in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing.
The installation runs concurrently with Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog at Japan Society Gallery, New York, featuring 130 vintage photographs from the 1960s through the 1990s. Together, the two presentations constitute the first American retrospective of Moriyama’s work. The exhibition was co-organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Japan Society Gallery.
Hunter, one of the major photographic works of its time, represents a “picture” of Japan’s changing society in the wake of the Second World War, when Moriyama found his country in the throes of vast change as Western mores and mass media invaded traditional ways of life. Recognizing the conflicts and the vitality of this new Japan, as well as the continuity of sex and violence, Moriyama shot a poetic sequence of dark, intense photographs from the shadows and from the windows of a moving car. Lyrically arranged and published as Hunter (1972), a book dedicated to the Beat generation American writer Jack Kerouac, these extraordinary images are virtually unknown in America.
Daido Moriyama: Hunter was organized by Sandra S. Phillips, Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and at the Metropolitan Museum is coordinated by Maria Morris Hambourg, Curator in Charge, and Laura Muir, Research Associate, both of the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Photographs.