Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota
Curated by Jacqueline Marx Atkins and
organized by the International Chodiev Foundation.
MWPAI members free
Children 12 and under free
General public $12
Full-time students $6
Reciprocal museums and NARM members $10
Permanent collection galleries are free and open to the public
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.
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.
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
Empire State Development Division of Tourism Market NY Funds, and
Elizabeth R. Lemieux, Ph.D., who has generously sponsored related programming
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
Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday 1 p.m.
Sunday July 22, 2 p.m.
Daily at 1 p.m. during the Arts Festival (June 26 through July 1)
Free with exhibition admission
- Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 1 pm
- Friday, July 20, 2018, 1 pm
- Saturday, July 21, 2018, 1 pm
- View All Dates
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.
Discover the art and culture of Japan through picture books, art, activities, and artwork in the Kimono! exhibition. Conducted by Paul Kotwica, teaching artist and Museum of Art docent.
Free and open to the public children of all ages.
- Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 10:30 am - 12 pm
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, 1951, Japan, Not Rated, 83 min., Subtitled
Rashomon is a riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, and is considered one of the greatest films ever made.
- Thursday, July 19, 2018, 2 pm and 7:30 PM
$7.50 MWPAI members; $10 general public
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
Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins, Guest Curator
$7.50 MWPAI members; $22 general public
(includes Kimono! admission)
- Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 12 pm
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, 2005, Japan, Rated PG, 119 min., in English
Journey beyond imagination and enter a breathtaking fantasy world filled with adventure, humor and heart.
- Thursday, July 26, 2018, 2 pm and 7:30 PM
$10 MWPAI members; $15 general admission
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
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.
- Saturday, July 28, 2018
Bryan McGrath, Professor of Ceramics and Pottery, PrattMWP
$35 MWPAI members; $45 general public
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
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.
Tickets for Special Event Taiko Masala
$20 for MWPAI Members
$25 for general admission
- Saturday, August 4, 2018, 7:30 pm
One Night Only
The Tailor and The Cook
Cocktail hour, 5 to 6 p.m.
Dinner 6 p.m.
$105 MWPAI members; $115 general public
Tickets: 315-797-0055, limited seating.
Join Tim Hardiman and the culinary team from The Tailor and The Cook for a memorable culinary experience. Enjoy a four-course Japanese-inspired dinner paired with a variety of Japanese spirits ranging from whiskey to beer and sake. Using locally sourced ingredients, The Tailor and The Cook delivers a gastronomic delight Kimono! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota will remain open until 6 p.m. for viewing and inspiration prior to dinner.
- Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 6 pm