This Saturday, April 12, to celebrate our two exhibits of Japanese art we will host an academic symposium entitled “Love and Pop: Contemporary Visual Cultures in Japan and Beyond.” This is the first symposium held in a many years at the Brooklyn Museum that specifically highlights the work of graduate students. It is the first of what I hope will be an annual event. I think it is a unique event because the material that will be presented is both academically rigorous and accessible to all. The day will start off with a keynote address by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the US. It will continue with a panel entitled “Consuming Desire: Superflat, Otaku, Kawaii and the Grotesque,” moderated by Eugenie Tsai, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The second panel, “Visual Release: Gender, Art, Representation and Exchange,” will be moderated by Aiko Nakagawa. Aiko is a street artist and founding member of the artist collective Faile. Incidentally, the work of Aiko and Faile was very popular on our Flickr page during the Graffiti show during summer of 2006. I chose these moderators for their particular takes as a scholar, curator and artist (respectively) on Japanese and American culture and contemporary art.
In organizing this symposium I hoped to create a platform for students producing scholarship related to visual culture to share their work with a wider audience. I initially imagined the symposium would attract local students. To my surprise and delight panelists are flying in from as far away as London and California. The panelists are: Kaori Hoshino, Brooklyn College; Meghen Jones, Boston University; Maya Kimura, California College of the Arts, San Francisco; Marci Kwon, New York University; Cindy Lisica, University of the Arts, London; Dawn Mostow, Pratt Institute; Pennylane Shen, New York University. If you join us on Saturday I would love to know what you think!