Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line

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

Drawings by Contemporaries of Gustav Klimt in W104

Study for Poster: Fruit / Mucha
Study for the poster Fruit, 1897, Alphonse Mucha. Pastel, 25 9/16 x 15 3/8 in. Lent by Eva and Brian Sweeney

The West Pavilion of the Getty Center contains a surprise, the cabinet-like space known as Gallery W104. For the past three years, W104 has hosted a changing display of drawings and watercolors related to exhibitions nearby—most often, the one just… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

The Cult of Klimt

Study for the Figure of Lasciviousness (Beethoven Frieze) / Gustav Klimt
Study for the Figure of "Lasciviousness" (Beethoven Frieze), 1901, Gustav Klimt. Black Chalk. Albertina, Vienna, Gift of Elisabeth Lederer

July 14 marks the 150th anniversary of Gustav Klimt’s birth, an event celebrated by exhibitions and events in Vienna and right here at the Getty, with Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line. This summer, we are in the grips of… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

Gustav Klimt, Draftsman

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Gustav Klimt did not speak about his art, but he left many drawings that attest to the richness of his creative process. Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line, opening today at the Getty Center, coaxes these drawings to speak, revealing… 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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