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Edo Avant Garde: How Japan Invented Modern Art – Workshop at SAM

On Monday, January 20, 2020, participants attended a screening of Edo Avant Garde: How Japan Invented Modern Art with director Linda Hoaglund. Following the screening, art historian Melanie King and Linda led a workshop for K-12 teachers, which covered strategies for using the material presented in the film and Japanese art into usable curriculum materials for the classroom.

Participants were offered 3 free OSPI Clock Hours.

This event and workshop were offered by the East Asia Resource Center and the Japan Studies Program at the  University of Washington, in conjunction with the Seattle Art Museum.

Date and Location

Monday, January 20, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 4: 30 PM at the Seattle Art Museum.

We acknowledge the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on January 20, 2020, which marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Please take a look here to learn more about this national holiday.


Attendance to the screening was free and open to the public.

More on Edo Avant Garde

Edo Avant-Garde is a feature documentary film that tells the untold story of the vital role Japanese artists of the Edo era (1603 – 1868) played in pioneering “modern art.” During the Edo era, Japan prospered in peaceful isolation from Western powers, while audacious artists innovated abstraction, minimalism, surrealism and the illusion of 3-D. Their originality is most striking in images of the natural world depicted with gold leaf on large-scale folding screens that anticipate 20th century installation art.

In groundbreaking interviews with scholars and priests, the film traces the artists’ original visions to their reverence for nature, inspired by Buddhism and Shinto animism. To capture the dynamism of the art, we gained permission to film them in natural light, resurrecting their mesmerizing power.

To capture the dynamism, scale and meticulous details of the art, Japan’s master cinematographer Kasamatsu Norimichi (Japanese Academy Award winner 2014) worked with Sony’s cutting-edge 4K camera and filmed two hundred works of art in museums and private collections across the U.S. and Japan, along with remote temples and shrines and in bamboo groves, misted valleys and churning waves that inspired the artists centuries ago. Curators, restorers, collectors and scholars provide insights into the genesis of their mesmerizing, prescient visions.

(excerpt from the Seattle Art Museum website)


You can view this collection on Goodreads.