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40 for 40: Forty Artists, Forty Masterpieces, Celebrating 40 Years.
Celebrate our 40th anniversary with a special exhibition of famous Japanese woodblock prints exploring the history of Japanese woodblock printing from the dawn of ukiyo-e to today's innovators. Capturing a realm of unyielding beauty and endless pleasures, ukiyo-e translates to “pictures (-e) of the floating world (ukiyo).” While this term immediately calls to mind lavish courtesans and dynamic actors, the idea of ukiyo predates these vibrant characters. At its Buddhist origin, the concept of ukiyo refers to the transient and troubled nature of human life. By the 17th century, this “floating world” underwent a drastic transformation. Shaking its somber roots, ukiyo turned its concentration from sorrow to pleasure. This dramatic shift in ideology partnered with the rise of an equally revolutionary art form: the woodblock print. From the Edo period (1603-1868) to Japan today, the history of Japanese woodblock printing has not only developed as a masterfully perfected, distinctly artistic process, but also de- fined itself through its constant evolution. Whether rendering the opulence of Edo’s pleasure district or abstracted explorations of urban reality, these famous Japanese woodblock prints celebrate a beauty, sensitivity and vitality intrinsic to the culture that produced them.