This Modern World

When we think of Japanese prints, we tend to envision the “floating world” woodblock prints of nineteenth-century artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige, who influenced the composition style of Edgar Degas and other impressionist painters. But the print tradition still thrives today in Japan, where changing printmaking technology and updated environments and subject matter are reflected in modern works.

“Woodblock painting has been around for centuries,” notes Denver Art Museum Asian art curator Ronald Otsuka. “But that doesn’t mean that artists didn’t explore their own creativity and push the boundaries of this ancient art form. In the twentieth century, they played with new subjects and topics that were relevant to contemporary culture.” That means that the artworks in At the Mirror: Reflections of Japan in Twentieth Century Printsi>, which opens today at the DAM, might favor modern abstractions and images of skyscrapers over those of courtesans, fishermen and delicate bridges from the past.

At the Mirror, part of an eclectic series of unrelated exhibits opening this summer at the museum, runs though September 21 on the second floor of the Hamilton Building. Admission to the DAM, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, ranges from $3 to $13; get details at or call 720-865-5000.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 6. Continues through Sept. 21, 2014