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Tokyo Graphic Passport 2014

A traveling exhibition of Japanese artistry and design

by David Graver
on 13 March 2014

Housed across three galleries—two in DUMBO, Brooklyn and one in Manhattan's Lower East Side—bilingual Japanese arts publication +81 presents "Tokyo Graphic Passport," a traveling exhibition of Japanese posters and more from many famed makers and creators within the vibrant Japanese arts scene. The graphic design magazine has been hosting global artistic showcases since 2009, but this year's iteration is the biggest to date—and is its first foray into America.

In addition to featuring various works, filmmaker Seiichi Hishikawa, digital advertising expert Koichiro Tanaka and artist Yuni Yoshida are delivering presentations at NYU's Iris & Gerald Cantor Film Center on 14 March 2014. Each will delve into their background and inspirations, cross-cultural references and process. This one-off event promises conversation, interaction and the insight of working artists and filmmakers. In its entirety, "Graphic Passport" will spread recognition of Japan's modern art and design, as well as cultural information surrounding the country's aesthetic across many genres.


Satoru Yamashita founded +81 in 1997, with a view in mind to draw global attention to Japanese work and offer a platform for emerging talent. Housed in Tokyo, the quarterly publication chronicles not only creative work, but also the lives and habits of leading and emerging creators across film, fashion, music and design. Each issue centers around a specific theme. With the success of the magazine, +81 expanded into book publishing and ultimately a Gallery+Lab venture, which hosts exhibitions worldwide—with previous Graphic Passport shows from Sao Paolo to Paris. (2014's "Graphic Passport" will conclude in Bangkok, after New York City.)

GraphicPassport-02.jpg GraphicPassport-02a.jpg

In the DUMBO spaces, the "Tokyo Graphic Posters" installation (initially curated in 2011, and now housed within the grander "Tokyo Graphic Passport" exhibition) will showcase a mix of old and new works. The acclaimed exhibition was previously shown in Paris' Centre George Pompidou and drew over 80,000 visitors to its eclectic assembling of modern graphic art. Beside it, "Takeo Paper Show 2008, Fine Papers," by artists School of Design, showcases a range of refined paper products whose design reflects the functionality of the paper usage. Rounding out the work, the Tohoku Standard installation presents work for the Tohoku region of Japan, where manufacturing and industry have altered culture and creation in the face of deep appreciation for tradition.


With "Graphic Passport" 2014, +81 is also launching their first ever Lower East Side gallery. This new Manhattan space will house the works of three Japanese artists. Tokyo-born artist, designer and Gold Award winner at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Shun Kawakami will showcase imagery. Bokusho (an abstract form of brush calligraphy) artist Gen Miyamura will also have work on display, as will acclaimed painter Syoh Yoshida. All three have held gallery exhibitions worldwide, but this will be the first time their works are housed in the same space—as a representation of their roots and power of the Japanese creative scene.

The Brooklyn exhibitions (the +81 Studio & Gallery is located at 163 Plymouth Street in Brooklyn, while the +81 Japan Creative Gallery, is close by at 155 Plymouth Street) opened yesterday, 12 March, and the Manhattan exhibition (167 Elizabeth Street, New York) will open 15 March. Both run until 25 April 2014 from noon until 7PM daily. Read more about the programming at Graphic Passport New York.

Images courtesy of Andy Cushman

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