Katsura Yuki and the Stakes of Exposure

Katsura Yuki, Gonbe and Crow, 1966. Copyright Katsura Akinari, Courtesy of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Namiko Kunimoto
Associate Professor of Art History, The Ohio State University
October 7, 2021; 6–7pm


This presentation examines the work of Katsura Yuki (19131991), a Tokyo-based painter and assemblage artist. Katsura enacted political resistance by representing contentious issues such as self-sacrifice in times of war, the United States Castle Bravo nuclear test, and the status of women in Japan. This presentation will focus specifically on her paintings from the 1930s1960s, as well as her illustrations of the James Baldwin novel, Another Country. Katsura’s body of work evaded the overdetermined masculine heroics of abstract expressionism that had taken Japan by storm in the postwar period, forging an innovative mode of expression that was whimsical and strange in its tone, but nonetheless bore a critical political thrust.