Press Release


Columbia, SC - The Columbia Museum of Art announces a new exhibition showcasing the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated design of Japanese Art Deco, a popular design style of the early 20th century characterized by bold lines and simple shapes. Japan and the Jazz Age opens on February 7, 2014, and remains on view through April 20, 2014. It is the first exhibition of its kind in the United States, exploring the artists' ingenuity and love of the materials. This exciting show features nearly 130 dramatic examples of Art Deco in a wide variety of objects including sculpture, photography, ceramics, lacquer, glass, wood furniture, jewelry, textiles, graphic design, painting and woodblock prints.

Japan and the Jazz Age features a dynamic range of material, allowing visitors to discover this rich period in world history and visual culture. This exhibition recreates the energy and excitement of the Art Deco age in Japan between the two world wars-from the 1920s to 1940s. The artists celebrated in this exhibition transformed the traditional motifs in Japanese art to reflect their more cosmopolitan lifestyle while capturing the rapidly changing and modernizing Japanese culture during the Jazz age, including flappers and music halls.

"Most people know about the Jazz Age in New York and Paris, but not in Japan," says CMA curator Victoria Cooke. "This exhibition gives you a glimpse at a moment in history when Japanese culture was influenced by the Western love of improvisational music, joyous dancing, fast trains, and city skylines with sleek skyscrapers."

This beautiful and historically fascinating exhibition tells the story of how the traditional transformed into the modern. With extraordinary skill and creativity, Japanese artists married the urbane decorative styles emerging in Europe with revered forms of the past: geisha became 1920s flappers; ancient origami cranes turned into sleek, gold statuettes; kimono morphed into emblems of fashion chic. Art Deco injected new style into everything from traditional woodblock prints and textiles to sculpture. The contradictions of this epic era in world history of the 1920s and 1930s, and the astonishing innovation that can result from a clash between the old and the new are evident in Japan and the Jazz Age.

"We are so pleased to bring this unique exhibition of beautiful art deco from a fascinating period in Japanese history to our visitors," says CMA director Karen Brosius. "These pieces bring to life an exciting time of growth, innovation, and transition that we do not always think about occurring simultaneously in Japan and the West. Our visitors will find an interest in some aspect of the diversity and range of the collection on display-be it music, fashion, animals, or other-there is truly something for everyone to delight in here."

The exhibition is drawn from The Levenson Collection-one of the world's premier collections of Japanese art in the Art Deco style-and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia under the title DECO JAPAN: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945.

A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue, DECO JAPAN: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920-1945, will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

Sponsored by Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina, P.A., Sylvan's Jewelry and Mikimoto, Dr. and Mrs. John Mark Dean, Jerry Dell and Ben Gimarc, and The Smith Family Foundation. Support has been provided by The Chisholm Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.


Book a Tour and Save on Admission

Gather your friends and make a reservation to enjoy a docent-led or self-guided tour of Japan and the Jazz Age and save on admission. Hungry? Choose the tour with a lunch option or enjoy wine and cheese after your tour. Details at

Art Explorer Backpacks and Gallery Guides

Art Explorer Backpacks are designed to encourage families to not only have fun in the galleries with interactive activities, but also to feel like the galleries are accessible and welcoming. Each backpack includes a sketchbook with colored pencils, a pair of binoculars, a compass, and hands-on activities that relate to the theme of the backpack chosen. Themes to choose from are pattern, color, shape, and one especially for Japan and the Jazz Age. Available at the admission desk.

Gallery guides are your source to family fun. Guides include insider information about some of the works and a gallery hunt to discover shapes and patterns. Available in the Wells Fargo Interactive Education Gallery.

Gallery Tour: Japan and the Jazz Age

Every Saturday | 1:00 p.m.

A guided tour of the exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age, offers insight into the age of Art Deco during the inter-war period of Japan. Free with membership or admission.

CMA Jazz on Main:

The Great Voices of Jazz

Friday, January 17 | Happy Hour at 7:00 p.m. | Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

CMA Jazz on Main presented by Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina will kick off with a concert celebrating great jazz vocalists. Their backgrounds are diverse. Their deliveries are distinct. Their impact is undeniable. With names like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Nat "King" Cole, Etta James and Julie London, these are the artists who defined and redefined what a great singer is and have influenced vocalists in every genre since. The music of this amazing group of vocalists, along with a host of others they inspired, will be celebrated by the Noel Freidline Quintet as the Columbia Museum of Art proudly presents the inaugural concert of the CMA Jazz on Main concert series. Through the generous support of Dr. Stephen Serbin, the CMA has engaged Noel Freidline as artistic director of this exciting new series. Freidline currently acts as an artistic consultant and arranger and performs with the Ziad Quartet for the Jazz at the Bechtler series at the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte. Sponsorship tables are available for $200. Includes premier seating for four guests and a bottle of wine. Individual seats: $40 / $30 for members / $5 students. Cash bar.

Japan and the Jazz Age Lecture Series: In Our History Lies the Secret of Our Future: The Syncretic Arts of Modern Japan

Thursdays, January 23 - February 13 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

This four-week lecture series led by Dr. Amanda Wright traces dramatic developments in the art of modern Japan. Each talk focuses on a dimension of the modern Japanese artist's struggle to reconcile oppositional forces of global modernity and artistic tradition. Lectures touch on themes such as Nihonga ("Japanese-style painting") and the formulation of a national style, the introduction of Yōga ("Western-style painting"), and the rise of an avant-garde and the role of the moga ("modern girl") in the arts. Wright earned her Ph.D. in art history at the University of Kansas and is Assistant Professor of East Asian Art History at the University of South Carolina. $60 / $48 for members for the series. Single tickets: $15. Sponsored by Colonial Life.

Opening Day Lecture on Japan and the Jazz Age by Curator Victoria Cooke

Friday, February 7 | Noon

Members only. RSVP by Monday, February 3. Call 803.799.2810. Free.

Arts & Draughts

Friday, February 7 | 7:00 p.m.

Art, drink, and be happy! Enjoy beer tastings from the Whig, musical performances from Great Peacock, Bombadil, Jordan Igoe, The Great Book of John, and more: D.I.Y art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts, unique perspective tours with Tug Baker from Free Times "Tug Eats Everything" through the CMA collection, and docent-led tours through Japan and the Jazz Age. Sponsored by The Whig, WXRY, and Free Times. $8 / $5 members / Join or renew your membership that night and get in for free!

Sweet on CMA

Saturday, February 8| Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Families are invited to

feel the love (of ART) at Family Fun Day: Sweet on CMA!

Get creative at art stations throughout the Museum and make a valentine for that someone special or the whole class. Take a "Love-Struck" Tour, participate in the "Birds of a Feather" gallery hunt and smile for the camera in the "Be Mine" selfie booth. The Riverbanks Zoo will be here, too, with a Valentine-themed animal bio facts table. Don't forget to purchase some sweet treats or hot cocoa and rock out with the band Lunch Money at 1:00 p.m. Sponsored by Junior League of Columbia. Free!

Passport to Art: Beautiful Blooms

Sunday, February 9 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Be inspired by CMA's exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age, as you create budding cherry blossoms out of paper in this FREE monthly open studio program for families. Enjoy a themed family tour at 1:00 p.m. or take a self-guided tour of the Museum.

Film: Between The Folds

Saturday, February 15, and Saturday, March 22 | Noon

Between The Folds chronicles the stories of 10 fine artists and intrepid scientists who abandoned careers and scoffed at hard-earned graduate degrees-all to forge unconventional lives as modern-day paperfolders. The film paints an arresting portrait of the remarkable artistic and scientific creativity that fuels this ever-changing art form, fusing science and sculpture, form and function, ancient and new. Free with membership or admission.

Columbia Design League Presents: Dinner by Design

Sunday, February 16 | 6:00 p.m.

In the mood for a unique Valentine's dining experience? Dinner by Design showcases a modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine against the backdrop of the Museum's latest exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age. Food provided by the Kobayshi family, owners of Camon Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, featuring creative dishes prepared with an artistic flair. The Columbia Design League is proud to partner with the South Carolina Philharmonic for this unique dining experience. $75 / $60 for CDL members.

Salon Talk with Morihiko Nakahara

Friday, February 21 | Noon

Morihiko Nakahara, music director and conductor of the South Carolina Philharmonic, discusses his influences and shares insight into his musical process in relation to Japan and the Jazz Age. Free with membership or admission.

Baker and Baker Foundation presents, Art of Music: Nakatani Gong Orchestra

Tuesday, February 25 | Happy Hour at 7:00 p.m. | Concert at 8:00 p.m.

Percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, born and raised in Osaka-Japan, currently resides in Easton, Pa. and performs and tours all over the world. He has taught master classes and workshops and given lectures revolving around his unique sound at a number of universities. His music has been published in over 60 CD recordings in the USA and Europe. Nakatani's primary music activities include solo percussion performance, Nakatani Gong Orchestra, and collaborations with musicians and dancers both in live performance and recordings. Cash bar. $10 / $8 for members / $5 for students

Gladys' Gang: Winged Wonder (Ages 2-5)

Wednesday, March 5 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Soar to new heights in the CMA's Japan and the Jazz Age. Participants and their adult companions explore art through the introduction of elementary art terms such as color, line, shape, and texture during the Gladys' Gang series. This Free program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the art exploration theme.

From Geisha to Gatsby Gala

Saturday, March 8 | 7:00 p.m. - Midnight

In celebration of the spring exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age, the Columbia Museum of Art will host the 2014 annual gala fundraiser, From Geisha to Gatsby. The gala transforms the Museum into an East meets West-themed party that fuses the tradition and beauty of Japan with the roar of the American Jazz Age from the 1920's. Over 1,000 patrons in the community will enjoy food, drinks, dancing, entertainment and the glitz and glamour of the 1920's that only the CMA knows how to do. All proceeds support the Museum's mission. Tickets are on sale for $150 each at or by calling 803.799.2810.

Passport to Art: Krazy Kimonos

Sunday, March 9 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Be inspired by Japan and the Jazz Age and create a patterned kimono during this FREE monthly open studio program for families. Enjoy a themed family tour at 1:00 p.m., or take a self-guided tour of the Museum.

Gladys' Gang: Jazzy Japan! (Ages 2-5)

Wednesday, April 2 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Explore CMA's exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age, and make a jazzy Japanese lantern using construction paper. Participants and their adult companions explore art through the introduction of elementary art terms such as color, line, shape, and texture during the Gladys' Gang series. This Free program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the art exploration theme.

Champagne and Pearls: an Evening with Mikimoto

Thursday, April 10 | 6:00 p.m.

Join the CMA and Sylvan's Jewelers for an evening with the world's foremost purveyor of the finest in pearl jewelry, Mikimoto. Enjoy a champagne reception before a lecture to discover the story of one man's quest to uncover the secret of an iconic gem of nature-the cultured pearl. Kokichi Mikimoto followed his vision and passion to "adorn the necks of all the women of the world with pearls," becoming one of the world's greatest inventors. Today, Mikimoto is synonymous with the pearl and recognized internationally as a symbol of excellence. Explore the history of the originator of the cultured pearl and the unique craft that blends talent, discipline, and artistry. Reception begins at 6:00 p.m., lecture at 6:15 p.m. with a special trunk show in the Museum's lobby following the lecture. $40/ $30 for members

Passport to Art: Animal Origami

Sunday, April 13 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.

Learn to fold paper this way and that way to create origami animals in this FREE monthly open studio program for families. Enjoy a themed family tour at 1:00 p.m., or take a self-guided tour of the Museum.

Spring Break Workshops:

Monday, April 14, and Tuesday, April 15 | 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Spring Break workshops engage kids in hands-on learning and spark creativity! Drop off begins at 9:45 a.m. Campers please bring a brown bag lunch each day. $90 / $72 for Dual/Family members and above.

Lions, Tigers, and Cranes: Oh My! | Ages 6-9

During this workshop, students create their own art menagerie. Painting, drawing, and forming their favorite animals inspired by the exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age.

Precious Plumes: From Peacocks to Pegasus | Ages 10-12

During this two-day workshop, students travel through the galleries learning about the CMA's winged creatures. In the studios, they make their own clay creation and learn printmaking techniques.

One Form or Another | Ages 13-18

In this Teen Academy workshop, students get inspired by the exhibition, Japan and the Jazz Age, and explore techniques in both two and three-dimensional design mediums including clay and metal.

CMA Jazz on Main: East Meets West: Jazz Under the Influence of the Orient!

Friday, April 18 | Happy Hour at 7:00 p.m. | Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Jazz has always pulled inspiration from every corner of the globe. On April 18, CMA Jazz on Main and the Noel Freidline Quartet travel to the farthest corner of the earth, pulling from the rich tradition of the Far East. "East Meets West" explores jazz under the influence of the Orient. Selections include highlights from Japanese-themed compositions by jazz legends Dave Brubeck, Horace Silver, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Django Reinhardt, and Cal Tjader. The evening also features jazz interpretations of Japanese classics. Charlotte Symphony flautist Amy Orsinger joins the concert as a special guest. Sponsorship tables are available for $200. Includes premier seating for four guests and a bottle of wine. Individual seats: $40 / $30 for members / $5 for students. Cash bar.



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