Roger Shimomura, RAMBO II, 1978 / Courtesy of the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery
Roger Shimomura: All American
Apr 26 – Jun 8, 2024
Cristin Tierney Gallery
New York, USA

Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present All American, a solo exhibition of paintings by Roger Shimomura. The exhibition opens Friday, April 26 and will be on view through June 8, 2024. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York in over a decade and his first solo show at the gallery. Through juxtaposition of contemporary America and traditional Japan, the artist employs images from both cultures to create a complicated layering of pictorial information and social observation. The paintings in All American are poignant, satirical, playful, and full of outrage, exemplifying Shimomura’s career-long exploration of themes such as xenophobia and cross-cultural tensions. For more than fifty years the artist has been addressing in pictures the subjects that mainstream America is now just finding the language to discuss.

Two paintings in particular highlight how popular culture in the United States introduces and reinforces certain Asian stereotypes. Both JAPAN, 2012, and RAMBO II, 1978, illuminate the West’s troubling history of appropriation and commodification of Japanese heritage. The first depicts the iconic Hello Kitty character adapting various conventional Western and Asian identities: baseball players, farmers, geishas, chefs, bakers, and even the Statue of Liberty. Always portrayed expressionless, voiceless (as the character has no mouth), and wearing a large bow, Hello Kitty is docile, passive, and diminutive.

RAMBO II – inversely, and as suggested by its title – revolves around violence. The central figure is a Kabuki actor in Kumadori stage makeup playing a theatrical warrior spirit. He is surrounded by traditional ukiyo-e depictions of other characters from Kabuki theater. By giving the work the name RAMBO, Shimomura invites the viewer to see his subjects through the lens of American military machismo. The result further westernizes an image that has long been appropriated by American culture, stripping it of its original meaning.

Taking these two works as a point of departure, All American points out the absurdity of two enduring Japanese stereotypes: the bloodthirsty, dangerous warrior and the sex-less, non-threatening cartoon figure. The ludicrousness of these two extremes is highlighted by Shimomura’s use of the cynical, dispassionate style of pop art. Forgoing any expressive flourishes, Shimomura shines a cold light on offensive images, and asks us not to look away.

  • Georg Kussmann: FRG
    Publication
    MACK
    International

    The German dramatist Heiner Müller observed that German history lies as if smothered by a rheumatism blanket: beneath there is warmth and stagnation, just enough to give the impression all is well, while the peripheries are freezing. Georg Kussmann’s photographs in FRG were created under this metaphoric blanket. Made in the Federal Republic of Germany over a single summer, they depict everyday scenes of life, work, and leisure (more…)

  • RAY Echoes. Emotion
    May 3 – Sep 1, 2024
    Museum Angewandte Kunst
    Frankfurt am Main, Germany

    For decades, the art institutions and collections in Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region have been home to a remarkable density and expertise in the field of photography and related media. Following on from the first four successful editions of RAY the Triennial of Photography, eleven cooperating institutions are once again joining forces to make this focus internationally visible. With exhibitions, numerous events, and a three-day festival on the triennial theme of ECHOES, RAY offers a multifaceted exploration of photography. (more…)

  • Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning
    Mar 17 – Jul 6, 2024
    MoMA
    New York, USA

    “I didn’t see a major difference between a poem, a sculpture, a film, or a dance,” Joan Jonas has said. For more than five decades, Jonas’s multidisciplinary work has bridged and redefined boundaries between performance, video, drawing, sculpture, and installation. The most comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States, Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning traces the full breadth of her career (more…)