MWP Roaring title

Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

June 10 - September 16, 2018

Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota features 48 magnificent handcrafted pictorial kimono created by internationally recognized artist Itchiku Kubota (Japanese, 1917-2003). The Museum of Art is the only United States venue for this touring exhibition.

Kubota’s immeasurable creative spirit transformed traditional Japanese garments into works of art. Each of the kimono in the exhibition is nearly seven feet in height and embellished with intricate detailing created through complex dyeing techniques and embroidery, accented by gold and silver leaf and hand painting. Many of the kimono were conceived as a series and are installed together to create panoramic vistas manifesting Kubota’s reverence for terrestrial and cosmic landscapes.

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Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003),
Mt. Fuji Series, Ohn/Fuji and the Burning Clouds (1994); tie-dyeing, ink painting, and embroidery on silk crepe (chirimen) with gold wefts; 261 x 136 cm.
The Kubota Collection,
the International Chodiev Foundation

Kubota began his textile career at age 14. His artistic vision was transformed in 1937 when he viewed a rare sample of 16th-century fabric created in the tsujigahana style, a lost art. Because no instructions existed to explain the intricate process of tsujigahana, and because the specific silk fabric necessary for its successful production had not been woven for centuries, Kubota devoted the rest of his life to studying and experimenting with dye, fabrics, and techniques to decipher and capture the ancient artform’s mysteries.

By 1962, Kubota began developing his own form of tsujigahana in which he incorporated many of the traditional decorative practices of resist-dyeing, brush painting, applied metallic leaf, and embroidery using a contemporary silk crepe fabric, chirimen, and synthetic dyes. In 1977, when Kubota was 60 years old, he displayed his art for the first time in an exhibition in Tokyo. Since then, his creations have been shown around the globe—across Asia, Europe, and North America.

Kimono landscape web

Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) Six Kimono from Symphony of Light, Seasons (1983-86)
tie-dyeing, ink painting, and embroidery on silk crepe (chirimen); 198 x 139 cm each
The Kubota Collection, the International Chodiev Foundation

Kubota’s grand plan was to create a series of 80 kimono called Symphony of Light that would, when placed side by side, depict, as he put it, the “grandeur of the universe.” Kimono! showcases 36 stunning works that Kubota developed for Symphony of Light, including kimono that represent Kubota’s visualization of autumn and winter. These are mounted to produce mesmerizing, fantastical, panoramic landscapes that segue lyrically from the luminous golden glow of autumn’s light to the mystical icy starkness of winter’s snow. An additional seven kimono, fashioned from a palette of radiant colors, offer an awe-inspiring interpretation of the cosmos at the dawn of creation.

The exhibition also includes kimono that showcase the breadth of Kubota’s design artistry. San, the kimono that serves as a keynote image for the exhibition, is a dazzling interpretation of the brilliant Siberian sunsets that gave Kubota the will to survive the bleak years he spent in a Russian prison camp. Kimono from Kubota’s dramatic Mt. Fuji series, and other individually designed pieces, express the artist’s reverence for nature and his passion for capturing the transcendent quality of light and color in thread and dyes.

Kimono! is curated by Dr. Jacqueline Marx Atkins, PhD., and organized by the International Chodiev Foundation. It will be on view through September 16.


We Thank Our Exhibition Sponsors
Lead sponsors:
Empire State Development Division of Tourism Market NY Funds, and
Elizabeth R. Lemieux, Ph.D., who has generously sponsored related programming
Associate sponsors:
Sangertown Square, Florence C. Bourdon, Richard and Barbara Decker
This traveling exhibition was organized by the International Chodiev Foundation.


Kimono Exhibition Opening June 9, 2018

Exhibition Programs

06 13 throught 09 16 2018 MA Guided Tours Kimono 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday 1 p.m.
Sunday (Father’s Day), June 17, 2 p.m.
Daily at 1 p.m. during the Arts Festival (June 26 through July 1)

Free with exhibition admission

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 1 pm
  • Friday, June 22, 2018, 1 pm
  • Saturday, June 23, 2018, 1 pm
  • View All Dates
MA Group Tours 2017 2018 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

To arrange a private, docent-led tour of Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota, the permanent collection, or other special exhibitions, please contact the Museum Education Department three weeks in advance at 315-797-0000, ext. 2170.

SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

This delightful family show features charming Japanese folktales combined with traditional musical instruments, magical masks, origami and mime to create vivid stories that will have audiences spellbound in their seats.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 11 am
SP AF Origami Workshop 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Kuniko introduces the beautiful art of traditional Japanese paper folding along with hands-on projects for participants of all ages and skill levels.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 2 pm
SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Mythological character masks and puppets, amazing flowers, and a dragon—all made from origami—set the stage while Kuniko shares heartfelt stories from ancient Japan.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Thursday, June 28, 2018, 11 am
SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Kuniko demonstrates the intricacies behind the ceremonial sash used to secure and ornament the traditional kimono.
Free with admission to the Kimono! Exhibition

  • Thursday, June 28, 2018, 2 pm
SP AF Fountain Elms Tour 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota
  • Thursday, June 28, 2018, 3 pm
SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

While inspired by the past, Itchiku Kubota also looked to the future. Participants will enjoy hands-on origami projects while Kuniko explores how this ancient tradition has influenced modern industry.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Thursday, June 28, 2018, 3 pm
SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Kuniko performs a series of engaging folk tales from the tsujigahana era (15th and 16th centuries) that inspired Itchiku Kubota to recreate the lost art of silk dyeing that he used to create the stunning kimono featured in the exhibition.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Friday, June 29, 2018, 11 am
SP AF Family Show Japanese Storytelling 2018 2019 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Participants of all ages will paint and color a collage onto origami paper, then fold the beautiful results into a kimono. Kuniko provides an example of a traditional tsujigahana silk pattern along with hands-on instruction.

Free and Open to the Public

  • Friday, June 29, 2018, 2 pm
07 10 2018 MA Comme des Garcons by Rei Kawakubo 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Patricia Mears, Deputy Director
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology,
New York, N.Y.

$25 MWPAI members; $35 general public
Enjoy Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres
6 to 7 p.m. and 8 to 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: 315-797-0055

Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota will be open for viewing prior to and following the presentation.

  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 7 pm
MA Exploring The Arts of Japan 7 18 2018 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Join us  for a special Art Story program for all ages that explores the arts of Japan.

Paul Kotwica
Teaching Artist and Museum of Art Docent

Free and open to the public, for all ages

  • Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 10:30 am - 12 pm
MA Keiko Soga Earing 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

$7.50 MWPAI members; $10 general public
Tickets: 315-797-0055

Keiko Soga, who was born in Amagasaki City, Hyogo prefecture Japan and lives in Utica, will demonstrate the importance of the ancient Japanese tradition of paper folding (origami) to her work. Soga’s stunning wall sculptures and origami earrings will be available for purchase following the demonstration.

  • Friday, July 20, 2018, 12 pm
07 28 2018 The Art of Tea Lecture and Demonstration 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

$10 MWPAI members; $15 general admission
Tickets: 315-797-0055

Join Chanoyu Tea teachers Marybeth Welch and Greg Succop of the Urasenke Chanoyu Society of New York City. The Urasenke school of tea traces its tradition to 16th-century tea master Sen no Rikyu. This lecture and demonstration introduces the history and philosophy of the tea ceremony and its origins in Japanese culture. Register for one of three private teas to experience the transcendent ritual of this tradition, tasting Japanese green tea (matcha) and sweets (wagashi) in a private setting.

  • Saturday, July 28, 2018, 10 am - 12 pm
07 28 2018 Private Tea Ceremony 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Includes admission to lecture and demonstration
$35 MWPAI members; $45 general public
Each private tea is limited to eight participants.
Please specify time:
1 to 2 p.m.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
4 to 5 p.m.
Tickets: 315-797-0055

  • Saturday, July 28, 2018
MA Bryan McGrath 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Bryan McGrath, Professor of Ceramics and Pottery, PrattMWP
$35 MWPAI members; $45 general public
Tickets: 315-797-0055

The tea bowl (chawan) plays a significant role in the centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyo). In ceramic art, fine artisan-chawan are held in high regard, sought after by collectors, and exhibited in museums.

Bryan McGrath will demonstrate each step in making a wheel-thrown tea bowl using the raku-firing technique, while discussing its importance to the tea ceremony and to his work. Having spent time in Japan, Bryan has his own tea ceremony stories to share.

Enjoy sushi, conversation, and a tour of the ceramics studio at the conclusion of the demonstration.

  • Saturday, August 4, 2018, 10 am - 12:30 pm
08 04 2018 Special Event Taiko Masala 3 520 x 372 Event Image
Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota

Taiko Masala has thrilled audiences throughout the United States with their performances of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming. Their arsenal of instruments, all hand made by the ensemble, range from small eight-inch hand-held drums, to five-foot barrel drums, and up to the giant 250-pound O-daiko drum.

Purchase Tickets MWPAI Members 2015 3    Purchase Tickets General 2015 3
  • Saturday, August 4, 2018, 7:30 pm
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New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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