Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia Opens to the Public

Now Open through November 29, 2020

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Shofuso Exterior, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
Shofuso Exterior, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA (September 2, 2020) – Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens opens its new major exhibition Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia, on view through November 29, 2020. The exhibition 360 viewing room will be available in mid-October.

Shofuso Exterior, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
Shofuso Exterior, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

Organized by The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the exhibition celebrates the friendships and trans-cultural exchanges between architect Junzo Yoshimura (1908 – 1997, Japan), woodworker George Nakashima (1905-1990, US), designer Noémi Pernessin Raymond (1889-1980,Swiss French, born in Geneva) and architect Antonin Raymond (1888 – 1976, Czech), through their collaborative architectural projects. The exhibition is curated by Yuka Yokoyama and guest curator William Whitaker.

Designed by the architect Junzo Yoshimura, Shofuso was constructed for the Museum of Modern Art in New York as the third installment of “The House in the Museum Garden” outdoor exhibition in 1954, before being moved to its permanent home in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Shofuso provides an authentic re-creation of what is regarded as a definitive, and highly influential, movement in Japanese architecture. In Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia, the creative relationships which shaped and influenced the architect’s life are explored through archival images, objects, and artifacts from Yoshimura alongside Nakashima and the Raymonds.

On display within Shofuso are Noemi’s signature textiles – inspired by Japanese and American landscapes and culture – a toy chest Nakashima made for his daughter in the internment camp in Idaho, in the 1940s and a table Nakashima made in the milk house at the Raymond Farm shortly after moving to New Hope from an internment camp and other collaboratively designed pieces such as chairs and lamps. Carefully curated collections of archival and contemporary architectural portraits of Shofuso, Nakashima and Raymond sites are presented with a set slide projector. Rotating images of places in different times and seasons reveals the living life of architecture, interior, exterior and landscape as a cohesive total design.

George Nakashima Woodworker's interior, Photo by Elizabeth Felicella, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
George Nakashima Woodworker’s interior, Photo by Elizabeth Felicella, Courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

The program is held by Shofuso alongside partner institutions throughout the Philadelphia region, including George Nakashima Woodworkers, Raymond Farm Center for Living Arts and Design, The Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania (Upenn), Ueyakato Landscape, Kyoto and Wakita Museum in Karuizawa, Japan. Shofuso, a center for the Japanese creative communities around the Philadelphia region will also present a series of lectures alongside the online exhibition featuring a documentary film with a collection of interviews by the family members and scholars, a 360 view of Shofuso, Raymond Farm and Nakashima studio, as well as essays with archival and contemporary photographs.

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