Courtesy Denver Art Museum
In 1973, budding curator Ron Otsuka took the helm of the Denver Art Museum's Asian Art department and immediately began working, through the solicitation of gifts, to bolster those parts of the collection that were strong and to shore up the weaker parts. Otsuka retired at the end of last year, but during his tenure, he brought the level of the collection way up. For his swan song, Otsuka organized At the Mirror: Reflections of Japan in 20th Century Prints, and nearly every one of the seventy prints included in the show was one that had come in during Otsuka's time at the museum. Japanese art was an important influence on modernism in the West, but in At the Mirror, Otsuka presented the opposite view, which was how Western modernism impacted Japan. It was a worthy farewell, as it revealed both his first-rate scholarship and his interest in plowing fresh curatorial ground.