How we made “Not Art”

24 11 2009

By Majime S.

[This is a follow up to the preceding blog entry:  Censored by de Young Museum]

[Addendum added Wed 10:43am 11/25:  see below]

It’s come to our attention that the museum’s line is basically that what we installed was not what had been accepted by the jury, and that serves as justification for all that followed.

Contract. (Click to enlarge)

However, we followed museum protocol to a tee, frequently communicating proposed changes to them, all of which were met with approval.  The contract I signed with the museum states “if any changes occur before the show, you must contact the exhibition designer,” which is exactly what I did at every major step of the creative process, and at no point along the way were any red flags raised.

For those interested in the process, here’s how it went. Read the rest of this entry »





Censored by de Young Museum

23 11 2009

[UPDATE 11/24/09:  Please go here for our expanded story and lots of pictures.]

[UPDATE  June 2011:  This project has been detailed in a new book, The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum, edited by Janet C. Marstine, in a chapter on “Museum Censorship” by Christopher B. Steiner .]

By Majime Sugiru

At the event we announced in our previous blogpost at the de Young Museum last Friday night, our art work was CENSORED by administrators at the de Young Museum, working in concert with their counterparts at the Asian Art Museum.

Consider the following:

1.  This was an open call juried show.  Our work was selected by the de Young’s jury, and I was invited to show our work there.  Six weeks passed between the time of the invite, and the day of the show.  During that time there was no indication from the de Young of any problem with our work.

The whole point of our submitting this project to show in a one-night art event at this museum was to be able to present “institutionally sanctioned institutional critique,” and once approved, that’s how we promoted it. We were impressed that they chose to invite us because we thought it showed a real openness to being part of a discourse around issues of representation and museum practice and an admirable willingness to be play a constructive role in honest civic dialogue on the part of a major city-funded museum.

So we thought. Read the rest of this entry »





“Samurai spoof” at de Young

20 11 2009

Institutionally sanctioned institutional critique!

We’ll be exhibiting “Lord, It’s the Samurai” at the de Young Museum, as part of this FREE one-night event.

From 6pm –  8:45pm (5pm is typo at link), Fri 11/20

FREE for all!  **One night only**

(Admission applies for museum gallery admission and special exhibits; Museum galleries free for all college students and educators with a valid school ID, except for King Tut).

Live entertainment and activities for kids.  Program info here.

Recent press:

Hokubei Online

Art Practical





Full story from J’Town: Hokubei online

16 11 2009

While we are still mourning the recent closure of Japantown daily newspaper, Hokubei Mainichi, the online English version stays alive, thanks to the tireless commitment of English editor and veritable community institution, JK Yamamoto.

In the most comprehensive coverage of our work to date, JK gives voice to a wide range of perspectives, including museum staff and, of course, Japanese Americans.  Read it here.








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