A two-part, yearlong exhibition, Material Existence: Japanese Art from Jomon Period to Present recently debuted at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. Curated by independent curator Alison Bradley, the exhibition invites guests to experience large-scale installations complemented by smaller, intimate works.
“MGM Resorts is excited to present a survey of art that invites cultural discovery, dialogue and exchange, bringing in some of the most unique pieces and objects made in Japan from ancient to contemporary times, including works never before shown in the United States,” said Tarissa Tiberti, Executive Director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture in a statement.
Exhibition Curator Alison Bradley said in a statement, “Working with MGM Resorts Art & Culture to accomplish their mission of supporting and showcasing Japanese art and contemporary culture is a great privilege. Through long-term exhibitions and the concurrent Artist Studio at Bellagio, MGM Resorts is fostering a welcoming environment for artists, as well as a highly visible space for art from Japan, both within BGFA and the ever-evolving MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection.”
The exhibition is currently in Part 1, which runs now through April 26, 2020. It begins with a rate Google-eyed Dogu, a clay ritual object in the shape of a human body. This is the first time this piece has been on view in the United States. It represents the most highly refined form of Jomon pottery and can be considered to be Japan’s first foray into sculpture in the years between 1,000 and 300 BC.
Visitors will also be able to see an iconic Haniwa figure, a helmeted head of a warrior, offering an example of the later Kofu period of the mid-third century to sixth century AD. These figures were made for ritual use and set up around mounted tombs.
Part I also features works by notable contemporary Japanese artists Tatuso Kawaguchi, Tadaki Kuwayama, ceramic artist Shiro Tsujimura and his sons Kai Tsujimura and Yui Tsujimura, and Kohei Nawa.
Part II will open May 16, 2020 and run until October 11, 2020. This part explores earth and light on a deeper level. The exhibit will allow visitors to experience the depths of sand, clay and glass through the Japanese aesthetic. Some of the pieces from Part I of the exhibition directly correlate to those in Part II. For example, Tatsuo Kawaguchi’s Stone and Light (1971-1989) in Part I serves as a starting point for works that will be shown in the latter portion of the show, such as Ritsue Mishima’s colorless glass works and Takashi Kunitani’s neon light installation.
Toshimitsu Imai’s Modern Times (1956), a historical work composed of sand, paint and resin, will be a highlight of the exhibit and a site-specific installation by Eiji Uematsu will offer a deeper understanding of environment.
Other artists in Part II include Ritsue Mishima, Kohei Nawa, Eiji Uematsu, Takashi Kunitani, Toshimitsu Imai in addition to rare examples of Jomon pottery.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is open daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. during the exhibition.