The First Giant Robot Biennale at the Japanese American National Museum took place with a short lead time and was to be a fill-in exhibition between two larger exhibitions. The second floor exhibition attracted one of the largest opening night crowds since opening day of the museum. The exhibition was created with less than a three month lead time and was perhaps the flash point of the changing wave of museum exhibitions to attract a "new" audience.
GIANT ROBOT TO KICK-OFF JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
NEW SERIES WITH GIANT ROBOT BIENNALE: 50 ISSUES ON NOV. 3
LOS ANGELES.—The Japanese American National Museum will begin a new series of collaborative exhibitions entitled Salon Pop by presenting Giant Robot Biennale: 50 Issues, developed in collaboration with Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot and running from November 3, 2007 through January 13, 2008. The exhibition is being sponsored by the Imprint Culture Labtm, with additional support from the James Irvine Foundation. An opening reception is being planned for November 3, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the National Museum in Little Tokyo.
Celebrating its 50th issue, the pop-culture magazine Giant Robot is proud to curate the Giant Robot Biennale: 50 issues, featuring artists with whom they have worked in the past, whether in the pages of the magazine or in the associated gallery spaces in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York City.
Giant Robot has helped to transform the landscape of the boundaries of art, often working with brand-new artists (some still in art school). Many have gone on to great success and present their art around the world, while others are in a more modest state, paying the rent with art-related projects such as commercial work and consumer products. The latter is nearly a constant theme among the artists; each has delved into making products of some sort, and has built a following in a side-discipline although art is his or her primary focus.
The Biennale’s works will range from Pryor Praczukowski's cinematic photography to David Choe's graffiti-like murals. The pieces in between include panels by leading indie-comics artist Adrian Tomine and the pop culture inspired works of Seonna Hong, Gary Baseman, APAK, Souther Salazar, and Saelee Oh. Sashie Masakatsu's oil paintings reflect the nostalgia of pop culture-influenced youth while Eishi Takaoka's sculptures can dominate a room with their meditative presence.
“The Japanese American National Museum is pleased to work again with Eric Nakamura on Giant Robot Biennale: 50 Issues,” stated Irene Hirano, National Museum President and CEO. “We honored Eric and Giant Robot at our 2006 Annual Dinner and Eric worked as part of our advisory committee for Landscaping America: Beyond the Japanese Garden.”
“This show also represents another step for our institution in reaching out to younger audiences. A grant from the James Irvine Foundation has allowed us to gather information that indicates that community and arts organizations like the National Museum need to develop new approaches and innovative content if they hope to be relevant to each new generation. We believe working with Eric Nakamura and Giant Robot will help us accomplish this.”
This exhibition is the first in the Salon Pop series that includes collaborative displays that focus on Asian American pop culture. As the art world changes and begins to make room for the works of artistic innovators-many of whom were formerly labeled as street artists, graphic designers, or illustrators-under a newly evolved definition of fine art, popular culture has enthusiastically embraced this genre. It has been through this art, with its influences from Asia, that Americans are being introduced to a new concept of what it means to be Asian or Asian American. Giant Robot, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Imprint Culture Lab are working together to reveal the evolution of this sub-culture with this exhibition.