I just visited The Art Gallery at the University of Maryland’s Modernity Stripped Bare: Undressing the Nude in Contemporary Japanese Photography exhibit in the Art/Sociology Building for the second time…I’m still bothered by the truths of this exhibit. Perhaps they should have called it “I know who I am and how I am…do you?” The exhibit features bold photographs by five photographers depicting their individual views of nudity, a beautiful person, and situations in which we choose to recognize or ignore other human beings. At least that’s what I got from the exhibit. Here’s the official blurb from the website:

University of Maryland’s The Art Gallery is excited to present an exhibition of the work of five photographers currently living and working in Japan who have chosen to use the nude to examine how our bodies mediate interpersonal relationships.

The exhibition, titled Modernity Stripped Bare: Undressing the Nude in Contemporary Japanese Photography, will feature photographs by Ryoko Suzuki, Yurie Nagashima, Ryudai Takano, Riichi Yamaguchi, and Manabu Yamanaka. These works confront a wide range of issues including gender, sexuality, physical deformation, ageing, and isolation.

This exhibit reminded me of things I normally choose to ignore: Irregular body parts due to birth defects or caused later on, what age does to the elderly body, and that I normally chose to look at aesthetically-pleasing nudes because I don’t want to look at displeasing imagery. I suppose I’m fickle like that, but I’d like to believe I can bare my judgey nature for art’s sake and realize that at heart, I’m a human being with compassion.

I think I want to go to this exhibit again before it closes on April 23rd. I read through a huge chunk of their wonderfully written and designed catalog and still want to learn more. There’s a lot here I know I’m not allowing myself to recognize, that I’m afraid to be so honest and easy to receiving information. I don’t want to give into that, not fully at least. There’s a conference coming up

I took some photos of the exhibit below. Works from Yurie Nagashima and Ryudai Takano, as I was comfortable taking and posting’these photos as opposed to some of the more’pathos-powerful ones featured.”You can view other’photos of works from the gallery’s website here.


By revealing what is often left unseen, these photographers normalize the bodily experiences that are common to all of humanity and expose how isolation and prejudice are systems that operate by making certain populations invisible or visible only in socially prescribed ways,’ explains curator Elizabeth Johnson. ‘The photographers in this exhibition are united in their assertion that we can only come to understand one another if we are willing to see one another.

In conjunction with the exhibition, The Art Gallery will host Reading the Body in Contemporary Culture: A Multi-disciplinary Graduate Student Conference
The Art Gallery is very tech-savvy nowadays. Very proud, (I used to work there!), you can view more information about the exhibit by clicking the following links:

The Art Gallery is located at 2202 Art-Sociology Building on the University of Maryland College Park campus. Please visit www.artgallery.umd.edu or call 301-405-2763 for more information.

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