Kokeshi – From Folk Art to Art Toy

July 11, 2009

The Japanese American Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

in Collaboration with the Los Angeles, Doll & Amusements Museum

Casting a fresh eye on the iconic and ubiquitous Japanese folk toy, KOKESHI is organized into three sections. First up: an overview of tradition, exploring the origins and history of the iconic folk toys known as kokeshi. On display will be over 200 breathtaking examples of traditional kokeshi dolls from the extensive collection of Itske and Anthony Stern.

The second section of the exhibition stands in brilliant contrast to traditional kokeshi, showcasing the work of eleven contemporary artists who produce interpretations inspired by — and which pay homage to — these humble dolls. Working in disparate media, this center part of the exhibition will convince you that the appeal of the simple kokeshi form has grown stronger in direct proportion to the dynamism of the personal interpretation. Artists include: Nicole DeLeon, Alexandra Gjurasic, Sachiho Hino Lee, Margaret Kasahara, Emi Motokawa, Joji Okazaki, David and Kazumi Kobayashi Svenson, Phoebe Washer, James Watts and Kathy Yoshihara.

The third component of the the exhibition is Custom Kokeshi 2009, demonstrating beyond a doubt that, even without arms, the reach of kokeshi has extended deeply into the cutting edge world of the art toy. Curated by Christina Conway in a lively reprise of her hit 2007 show in San Diego, this section presents a thoroughly eclectic display of all new work. Over 100 well-known international contemporary artists demonstrate the breadth of their artistic inspiration and the malleability of form and concept, and all based on the same simple kokeshi form each was given. These original artworks will be offered for sale through the Japanese American National Museum Store.

Artists Include:

Adolie Day, Aline Yamada, Allison Sommers, Amy Huddleston, Amy Paul, Amy Ruppel, Amy Sol, Ande Cook, Andrea Innocent aka Innocentgirl, Annie Wilkinson, APAK, Bubi Au Yeung, Bailey Saliwanchik, Betsy Walton, Brigitte Coovert, Caia Koopman, Calef Brown, Camilla d’Errico, Camilla Engman, Catherine Brooks, Cathie Bleck, Celene, Cheon Eun Sil, Christina Conway, CJ Metzger, Dacosta!, Danamarie Hosler, Dan May, David Horvath, Edwin Ushiro, Eliza Frye, egg scissors, Eveline Tarunadjaja, Ferris Plock, Florence Pacho, Fontaine Anderson, Gustavo Aimar, Harmony Gong, Hine Mizushima, Jacqueline Myers-Cho, Jaime Zollars, Jason Levesque aka Stuntkid, Jason Limon, Jeni Yang, Jen Lobo, Jenn Playford, Jenn Porreca, Jennifer Davis, Jeremiah Ketner, Jody Hewgill, Joel Nakamura, Johnny Yanok, Julie West, Kathleen Lolley, Kelly Tunstall, Kelly Vivanco, Ken Garduno, Kent Williams, kozyndan, Kris Chau, Krista Huot, Kristin Elder, Kukula, Laura Laine, Lilly Piri, Liza Corbett, Lorena Alvarez, Lou Pimentel, Macoe Swet, Marcos Chin, Marguerite Sauvage, Mar Hern√°ndez aka Malota, Mari Inukai, Meredith Dittmar, Michelle White, Mike Rivamonte, Miss Mindy, Nassyrova Dilka, N.C. Winters, Noferin (Nicho & Candy), Paola Zakimi, PCP/Heisuke Kitazawa, Pietari Posti, Pilar Berrio, Poketo (Ted & Angie) x Busc, Raquel Aparicio, Red Nose Studio (Chris Sickels), Samuel Ribeyron, Sandi Calistro, Sandra Equihua, Sandra Wang/Crockett Bodelson, Sayaka, Stella Im Hultberg, Sterling Hundley, Tado (Mike & Katie), Tara McPherson, Tessar Lo, Timothy Karpinski, Travis Louie, Toshiyuki, Fukuda, Yellana James, Yoskay Yamamoto