Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects
Yoko Inoue has received a grant from the Japan Foundation for an exhibition project, Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects, at SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is currently as an artist-in-residence.
Inoue has spent her residency researching the Japanese art collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Exploring the museum’s archives pertaining to former director Sherman Emory Lee, Inoue examined his pivotal role in the inspection of Japanese artifacts and protection of Japanese cultural properties, as a “Monuments Man,” during the post-war US occupation of Japan and the ensuing process of democratization.
For her installation at SPACES, Tea Taste Democracy and Upside Down Objects, Inoue will create works about Lee’s understanding of Japanese cultural identity that he developed though his relationship with Japanese scholars. The installation will simultaneously contextualize the socio-political condition of the time in which he conducted his extensive field research.
As a counterpoint to her investigation of the introduction of Japanese high culture to Cleveland audiences, Inoue will also introduce her ideas regarding imported kitsch figurines that were stamped “made in occupied Japan” and widely marketed to the middle class in America as home décor objects. She is working work with the Ceramics department at the Cleveland Institute of Art to create a series of work which questions their contemporary relevance and value.