In the 1980s, Japan’s strong trade surplus and currency were causing friction and antagonism overseas. In response, three renowned Japanese artists—Ikko Tanaka, Shigeo Fukuda, and Kazumasa Nagai—took on the challenge of changing Japan’s global image through graphic design. These designers, and others like them, were passionate about fostering creative relationships with the international design community to enrich their theoretical and artistic practice and create an exchange with lasting impacts across geographic boundaries. On the occasion of the UMMA exhibition Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters, and to commemorate the gift of nearly 100 posters by the three artists from the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion, UMMA’s Curator of Asian Art, Natsu Oyobe, will talk with Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo, graphic designer and professor at the Stamps School of Art and Design, about the significance of these artists and their global exchange in the field of graphic design, as well as, take a closer look at the powerful language of simple forms, vivid color, and humor that they employed to foster a deeper understanding of the different faces of Japan and its long cultural history.
UMMA Dialogue: Think Japan, Act Global: Japanese Graphic Design in the Postwar Period with Curator Natsu Oyobe and Stamps Professor Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo
Lead support for Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters is provided by AISIN, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.