About: Annelisa Stephan

Posted in Art, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Center

Miniature Getty Center Opens in Philadelphia

Landscape architect's rendering of the Getty Center display at the Philadelphia Flower Show
Landscape architect's rendering of the mini-Getty. Courtesy of Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build

A landscape designer creates a mini-Getty Center in flowers. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Photographs, Film, and Video

This Exhibition Is a Total Trip—Through Time

ATRIPTHROUGHTIME

Going to the museum means traveling back in time—and we’ve got the video evidence to prove it. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Center, Getty Villa

2014 at the Getty | Exhibitions and Events Preview

Bach from Terrain / Yvonne Rainer
“Bach” from Terrain, 1963, Yvonne Rainer. Gelatin silver print. Photo: Al Giese. The Getty Research Institute, 2006.M.24.124

James Ensor, a World War I centennial, photographs from Japan, and all things Queen Victoria this year at the Getty. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Manuscripts and Books

An Illuminated Christmas

Detail of Christ and Mary from the Nativity in the St. Albans Psalter / Alexis Master
Dombibliothek Hildesheim

A nearly 900-year-old nativity scene, rendered in gold and jewel tones. More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Bigger Than Ourselves: Episcopal Priest Dr. Gwynne Guibord on Finding the Sacred through Art

Panels from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England, 117880. Colored glass and vitreous paint; lead came. Courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury
Panels from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England, 1178–80. Colored glass and vitreous paint; lead came. Courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

“All space, all beings, and all creation is sacred—but we don’t walk through life seeing it that way. Art offers a transition, helping us leave behind the secular world and move into a sacred place.” More»

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Posted in Art, Philanthropy

Support the Arts in L.A. This #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday at the Getty Center

Support the arts in L.A. with a donation this #GivingTuesday. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations

In Search of One of the World’s Oldest Religions

Plaque with a Priest from the Oxus Treasure / Achaemenid
The British Museum

One of the world’s oldest surviving religions, Zoroastrianism played an important role in the history of ancient Persia. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Villa

The Cyrus Cylinder as Design Object

The Cyrus Cylinder / Achaemenid
The British Museum

Why explains the Cyrus Cylinder’s shape? More»

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Posted in Manuscripts and Books

The Medieval Battle That Launched Modern English

Scenes from the Life of Saint Alexis in the St. Albans Psalter / Alexis Master
Dombibliothek Hildesheim

English owes its rich vocabulary to a military conquest that took place 947 years ago. More»

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Posted in Ancient World, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations

Why the Cyrus Cylinder Matters Today

The Cyrus Cylinder as installed at the Getty Villa
The Cyrus Cylinder, Achaemenid, after 539 B.C. Terracotta, 22.9 x 10 cm. The British Museum

Why is this small cylinder of baked clay so famous around the world? More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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