Exhibition schedule


FALL 2011–WINTER 2012



October 13, 2011January 15, 2012

Paul Emmert: Artist-Traveler

The Academy continues to spotlight artists active in Hawai‘i with a selection of drawings by the Swiss-born painter and draftsman Paul Emmert (18261867). In 1853, he became one of the many artist-travelers to come to Hawai‘i to satisfy the thriving market for images of the islands’ dramatic topography and singular culture. In his 14 years in Hawai‘i, Emmert made drawings of the mountains, coastlines, vegetation, and geophysical phenomena in and around O‘ahu, Maui, and the Island of Hawai‘i. He recorded Diamond Head and Punchbowl craters, Nu‘uanu Valley, Waikïkï, Hilo, Lahaina, and numerous other locales, capturing their natural beauty before urbanization transformed them. In an exuberant, slightly naïve style, he embellished historical accuracy with aesthetic flourish, paying careful attention to detail and skillfully manipulating a variety of graphic media to create gemlike scenes of rare and captivating beauty that offer a glimpse into Hawai‘i’s past.


October 20, 2011-February 12, 2012

Gaye Chan: FRASS

The latest installation from Hawai‘i-based photographer and conceptual artist Gaye Chan examines and critiques the impact of global economies on the human beings caught within them. Intrigued by the complex pattern of wormholes she discovered in a 19th-century accordion book of Japanese woodblock prints, Chan scanned the ancient pages, enlarged them, and superimposed onto their lattice-like surfaces Google Map photographs of the United States-Mexico border. Each resulting print is a continuous composite of more than 300 intricate screen captures, which, aligned horizontally and anchored by a rotating laser, document the border as it currently stands and speculate on the imbalance of power between this arbitrary boundary, the individuals who navigate it, and the body politic that transcends it. 


October 21, 2011-Jan. 29, 2012

Through the Fire, Dirt to Dazzle: Ceramic Works from the Drewliner/Higa Gifts

On view are major examples by masters of the mid-century American Studio Pottery movement such as Beatrice Wood, Edwin Cabat, Robert Turner, and Maija Grotell, along with foreign artists such as Rupert Spira and Gabrielle Koch (both England), Gustavo Perez (Mexico), Yo Akiyama (Japan), and Renee Reichenbach (Germany). Since 2004, Peter Drewliner and Charles Higa have been donating works of art and acquisition funds to expand and enhance the museum’s strong collection of contemporary ceramics.


October 21, 2011-Jan. 29, 2012

Escape from the Vault: A Few Great Paintings and Sculptures

The museum breaks out the cream of the contemporary collection—a seclection of the most important paintings and sculptures that have not been on view for years. Among the works is Frank Stella’s gigantic metal assemblage-releif Marsaxlokk Bay from his Malta Series; a Cor-Ten steel and Plexiglas “stack” by Donald Judd; and a large untitled gestural work by Robert Motherwell from his Beside the Sea body of works.


November 3, 2011-January 8, 2012

Masterpieces of Landscape Painting from the Forbidden City

The Honolulu Academy of Arts has organized a collaborative exhibition of Chinese painting with the Palace Museum, Beijing. At the heart of the exhibition is a group of rare, early works by the four most influential artists of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), which have never before been displayed outside China.

            The four masters of Yuan Dynasty painting are among the most revered artists in the history of Chinese painting. Models of the scholar-amateur or “literati” style that characterizes the highest ideals of China’s most eminent art form, they have been emulated by virtually every later major artist. Since the 17th century, their works have been promoted as the epitome to which all painters seeking self-expression through brush and ink should aspire. Masterpieces of Landscape Painting from the Forbidden City  showcases paintings by these iconic artists and explore their influence on later generations including artists from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) Wu School and the late Ming to early Qing dynasty (1644-1911) Orthodox School.

            This collaboration reflects the mission of the 2011 APEC Leaders Summit being held in Honolulu during the exhibition.


December 1 2011-April 1, 2012

HAA Graphic Cabinet: Paul Gauguin’s Noa Noa

The Academy’s paper vault yields another treasure: Paul Gauguin’s illustrations for his Tahitian journal Noa Noa. Composed during the artist’s first trip to Tahiti, from 1891 to 1893, Noa Noa conjures with Gauguin’s ideal of the Polynesian isle as an unspoiled earthly paradise, far removed from industrialized Europe and therefore more authentic.  When Gauguin returned to France, he created a series of woodblocks to illustrate Noa Noa, from which prints were pulled—first by Gauguin himself and, later, by his son Pola—whose deceptively crude gouges and marks index the artist’s creative process and whose apparent simplicity encapsulates his primitivism. All 10 illustrations for Noa Noa are in the Academy’s permanent collection, and all will be included in the exhibition.  


February 9-April 22, 2012

The Biennial Survey

To mark the Biennial of Hawai’i Artists achieving the number ten (see below), a retrospective exhibition of artists included in Biennials I through IX will be presented concurrently at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. All previous Biennial artists have been invited to participate in this event and each will be represented by new or recent works.  The exhibition will provide an opportunity to become familiar with what these artists are doing now.

Participating artists include: Arabella Ark, Eli Baxter, Donald Bernshouse, Gaye Chan, Ka’ili Chun, Charles Cohan, Margaret Ezekiel, Dorothy Faison, Nelson Flack, Sally French, Vincent Goudreau, David Graves, Robert Hamada, Don Ed Hardy, Meidor Hu, Renee Iijima, Claudia Johnson, Kloe Kang, Ben Kikuyama, Kapulani Landgraf, Jacqueline Rush Lee, Michael Lee, Wayne Levin, Tom Lieber, Michael Marshall, Javier Martinez, Mary Mitsuda, Deborah G. Nehmad, Walter G. Nottingham, Garnett Puett, Christopher Reiner, Abigail Romanchak, Cade Roster, Hugh Russell, Franco Salmoiraghi, Suzanne Saylor, Esther Shimazu, Rosa Silver, Michael Takemoto, Jason Teraoka, Masami Teraoka, Marc Thomas, Maika'i Tubbs, David Ulrich, Romolo Valencia, Yida Wang, Fae Yamaguchi, Linda Yamamoto, Scott Yoell, and Wayne Zebzda. Works by Michael Tom and Sergio Goes, who have since passed away, will also be included.


February 23-July 22, 2012

Biennial X

Inaugurated in 1993, The Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawai’i Artists was conceived to be a complement, as well as an alternative, to the juried exhibitions that take place annually throughout the state. The Biennial is not a survey or overview of the contemporary art activity in Hawai‘i but rather a selection of some of the most promising recent work by Hawai‘i artists. Additionally, the Biennial exhibition aims to promote the significant achievements of Hawai‘i’s artists in Hawai‘i and, through the accompanying catalogue, nationally and abroad. The invited artists are Mary Babcock, Solomon Enos, Jianjie Ji, Jaisy Hanlon, Sally Lundburg, and Bruna Stude. Each artist is provided with gallery space to show a body of several works or create an installation. Presented at Spalding House.


March 1-November 4, 2012

Han Dynasty Arts for the Afterlife

Roughly coinciding with the Roman Empire, the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) was a pivotal period in Chinese history that significantly shaped China’s cultural identity. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Han-dynasty Chinese had complex beliefs concerning the afterlife. They referred to the tomb as a “subterranean palace” (digong), and filled it with items they believed the soul needed after death. The most striking of these are ceramic and wood sculptures of soldiers, maids, and other servants, including dogs to guard the tomb’s entrance. The tomb walls were decorated with murals, or with designs on ceramic tiles envisioning the afterlife. The Academy is fortunate to have an entire set of tiles that would have served as a tomb archway, decorated with attendants, horses and other figures that preserve some sense of the lost tradition of painting during this early age.

            Such objects capture aspects of Han life long buried by the dust of time, from painted designs on sculptures that preserve textile patterns and dress styles, to intricately cast bronze belt hooks and other personal adornments inlaid with gold and silver, to remarkable ceramic models of towers and other buildings that reveal the qualities of Chinese wood-frame architecture centuries before the earliest buildings that still survive.



March 1-June 17, 2012

Regal and Royal: Hawaiian Quilts from the Academy’s Collection

Hawaiian quilts, an internationally recognized art, reflect not only island living, but also a century and a half of adaptation and change. On view will be more than a dozen historic quilts from the Academy’s collection highlighting this textile art that has become part of Hawaiian heritage.

            The majority of quilts boast a single distinctive, dramatic floral design cut from a single piece of cloth, appliquéd and quilted onto a background cloth, also of a solid color. Names, and how they are bestowed are an important part of Hawaiian culture, also applying to quilts. Quilt design names are always the originator’s privilege. Some are straightforward, such as Lei Mamo (garland from the feathers of the mamo bird). Others have poetic names that echo Hawaiian legends, as in Ka Ua Kani Lehua (The Rain That Rustles Lehua Blossoms).

            In the exhibition are fascinating and important exceptions. Prestigious flag quilts such as Ku’u Hae Aloha (My Beloved Flag), which pay nostalgic homage to the lost Hawaiian kingdom, stand out as unique in concept and execution, boldly depicting Hawaiian flags and the royal coat-of-arms. Quilt designs also reflect the makers’ aloha for and adoration of their monarchs. Ke Kahi O Ka‘iulani (The Comb of Ka‘iulani) commemorates Princess Ka‘iulani (1875-1899) who lived in the twilight years of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The fascinating Na Kihapai Nani Lua ‘Ole O Edena A Me Elenale (The Beautiful Unequaled Gardens of Eden and of Elenale) features unusual large-scale human images, and other quilts demonstrate imaginative patterns rarely seen in the tradition of Hawaiian quilt making. 


June 14-August 12, 2012

A Young Artist’s Journey: Hiroshige’s Tökaidö Road

The 19th century saw an increasing interest in the landscape of Japan as a subject for woodblock prints. As government restrictions eased, more people were able to travel, and they became fascinated with the numerous famous places of scenic beauty the island nation had to offer. Against this background, the young Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) emerged in the public eye with his first major series, The 53 Stations of the Tökaidö, depicting the landmarks along one of the major official roads connecting the ancient capital—and home of the emperor—in Kyoto with the new political center of Edo (modern Tokyo). This series would become one of the most iconic artistic statements of the 19th century, and established Hiroshige as the leading figure in the genre of landscape prints. Hiroshige would return to the subject repeatedly throughout his career, but his first series enjoyed a special popularity and influenced countless other artists from his generation.

            With more than 3,000 prints, the Academy has the largest collection of works by Hiroshige in the world. This includes multiple impressions of virtually every print from Hiroshige’s first Tökaidö series. The exhibition will include some of the most renowned prints by Hiroshige in the museum’s collection, such as Kambara, heralded as one of the most lyrical compositions ever done by the artist, and a quintessential expression of the wabi aesthetic; the Academy's Kambara is universally recognized as the finest surviving impression of this print. The exhibition will also be a chance to see early and late impressions of different prints from the Tökaidö series together, and to understand the ways in which woodblock prints changed over time.




Opens November 22, 2012

The Arts of the Bedchamber: Japanese Shunga

Shunga, or “spring pictures,” was one of the key genres in the development of Japanese painting, woodblock prints, and illustrated books during the Edo period (1615-1868). Explicit, often humorous depictions of sexuality that ranged from handbooks for newlyweds to classical myths and ghost stories, shunga is a frank exploration of one of the most fundamental aspects of the human experience.

            Although many artists associated with the “floating world” (ukiyo) considered shunga to be an important part of their repertoire, including such leading figures as Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), it was largely overlooked until recent times, due to censorship restrictions in modern-day Japan. However, shunga is essential to an appreciation of ukiyo-e, as it is to an understanding of the overall course of Japanese art in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first in a series of exhibitions dedicated to shunga, this exhibition includes highlights from the renowned James A. and Mari Michener Collection, and the recently acquired Richard Lane Collection. Richard Lane was an advocate for the study of shunga, and one of the first scholars to publish uncensored images of historical shunga in Japan, making the exhibition especially meaningful. The exhibition explores the place shunga held within the larger context of Japanese art, and shows the intimate connections between shunga and other better-known aspects of ukiyo-e.