About: Sarah Cooper

I am the project specialist for public programs at the Getty Center, where I am working to bring music, performance, and art together through a wide range of creative programs. A recent transplant from New York, I am a diehard museum person, having worked at The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, as well as The Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Posts by Sarah

Posted in Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum

A Salad Garden Grows at the Getty: An Interview with Julia Sherman of Salad for President

Getty Salad Garden
Photo: Abby Han

An installation of organic heirloom vegetables and salad greens has sprouted at the Getty. More»

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

A Re-Imagined Getty, Drenched in Color

Video still
Video still

A video inspired by photographic history and 20th-century art. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Experimental Music Built on Provocative Films

Body/Head
Photo: Adela Loconte

Body/Head combines improvised music with films that explore deep sexual and psychological themes. More»

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Posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Discovering “Daisies”

ssedmikr

A film as beautiful as it is weird. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Center

Music of a Megalopolis: A Playlist for “In Focus: Tokyo”

Picnic #34, 2005, Masato Seto. 16 15/16 x 21 7/16 inches. J. Paul Getty Museum. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council. © Masato Seto - See more at: http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/?p=19524&preview=true&preview_id=19524&preview_nonce=3c13e75aeb#sthash.F66nqPWm.dpuf
Picnic #34, 2005, Masato Seto. 16 15/16 x 21 7/16 inches. J. Paul Getty Museum. Purchased with funds provided by the Photographs Council. © Masato Seto - See more at: http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/?p=19524&preview=true&preview_id=19524&preview_nonce=3c13e75aeb#sthash.F66nqPWm.dpuf

A music soundtrack for the exhibition “In Focus: Tokyo.” More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Center

Theater for the Wonderfully Grotesque: A Playlist for James Ensor

James_Ensor2

Dark and obscure songs that mirror the grotesque sensibilities of James Ensor. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

A Composition of Tones: A Playlist for the Photographs of Ansel Adams

Friday Flights at the Getty Center

A music playlist inspired by the compositional rigor of Ansel Adams. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

A New York Soundtrack for a New York Painting

Liz Tooley and Lance Baressi of Permanent Records
Photo: Jim Newberry

It’s a jazz thing: Jackson Pollock’s Mural inspires a music playlist. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

Musicians and Artists Take Over the Getty for This Summer’s Friday Flights

Friday Flights at the Getty Center - summer 2014

Music nights that make you think: Friday Flights launches May 30. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

Great Literature Inspires Culinary Creations for “Selected Shorts”

Pea tendrils with scallop / Getty Restaurant
Spring on a plate: Pea tendrils over scallop pays humorous homage to Lydia Davis's story "Letter to a Frozen Peas Manufacturer"

Two of life’s pleasures come together this weekend: stories and food. 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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