Yoko Inoue

Image of Yoko Inoue

Yoko Inoue’s multidisciplinary art practice anthropologically examines complex relationships between people and objects, the commodification of culture, and the assimilation and transformation of cultural meaning and values. Using ceramic medium she explores the socio-political and economic implication of products and globalization.


Inoue is a multidisciplinary artist whose working methodology includes sculpture, installation, collaborative socially engaged art projects, and public intervention performance art. Originally from Kyoto, Japan, Inoue explores themes of assimilation and cultural identity. Through academic research, on-site fieldwork and performance works in the context of the intricate dynamics of commerce, she approaches the issues of cultural merging in the global economy. Inoue investigates the causes of the commoditization of cultural values and effects of globalization on traditional heritage and social codes from an anthropological viewpoint. Fascinated with the social constructs, cultural keynotes and communicative qualities that lie within the lineage of objects, typically, her installation work incorporates thousands of hand-cast ceramic objects derived from mass produced goods that are found in the urban, multicultural, low-end marketplace. Through material transformation and by applying traditional ceramic methods, she attempts to link these commoditized objects to their lost origins and societal relevance. Currently she has focused her practice on research based projects about food justice, crafts knowledge and practice and community resilience.

She is a recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, The Joan Mitchel Foundation Painters & Sculptures Grant, NYFA Fellowship (Sculpture 2003, Cross-disciplinary and Performative Work 2007, Sculpture/Craft 2015), Lambent Fellowship, Franklin Furnace Performance Art Fund and received grants from Jerome Foundation (Travel and Study Grant), US Department of State (Cultural Specialist Grant/The Fulbright Division, American Embassy in Lithuania), LMCC (GAPS Grant for Arts in Public Spaces/9-11 Fund), Mairie de Paris Direction des Affaires Culturelles de la Ville de Paris, and others.

Inoue has exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally at institutions and galleries such as Brooklyn Museum; Rubin Museum, New York; SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY; Momenta Art, Brooklyn; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; The Bronx Museum; Pierogi-The Boiler, Brooklyn; Von Lintel Gallery, New York; Art in General, New York; Greene Naftali Gallery, New York; Krannet Art Museum, Illinois; UCLA; Yerba Buena, San Francisco; University Art Gallery, UC San Diego; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas; Centro Cultural Tijuana el Cubo, Mexico; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, BC, Canada; Foundation Canal de Isabel II, Madrid, Spain; Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa; The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada, Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu, Romania; and MeetFactory, Praha, Czech Republic; among others. Her work was featured in reviews in The New York Times, Art in America, ArtAsiaPacific, Time Out, The New Yorker, Village Voice, Sculpture Magazine and The Japan Times.

Inoue has participated in the international residency programs at Civitella Ranieri, Italy; .ekwc (European Ceramic Work Centre) The Netherlands; BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, Canada; Instituto Sacatar, Bahia, Brazil; LMCC Paris Residency, Paris, France; Santa Fe Art Institute (Food Justice residency and Immigration & Emigration residency), New Mexico; LMCC Workspace, Smack Mellon Artist Studio, Brooklyn; The Center for Book Arts, New York; Skowhegan, Maine; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska; Art Omi, New York; and Cité internationale des Arts, Paris, France. She has served as a member of the artist advisory committee at Art in General in New York and New York Foundation for the Arts.

Inoue has been a visiting faculty member at Bennington each fall term since 2004 and joined as part-time faculty in Fall 2011. MFA Hunter College of the City University of New York, 2000; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 2000.