Boston University faculty member to give 25th annual Harvey Buchanan Lecture in Art History and the Humanities

exhibit in Japanese art museumThe campus community is invited to attend the 25th annual Harvey Buchanan Lecture in Art History and the Humanities Wednesday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the Cleveland Museum of Art Recital Hall.

Alice Y. Tseng, associate professor of art and architectural history at Boston University, will give the lecture, “Creating National Art: Constructing National Art Museums in Modern Japan.”

Japan’s systematic approach to designating, protecting, researching and disseminating its national art has been in place since the end of the 19th century. The creation of a category of works representative of Japanese history and culture was a deliberate and contingent process that directly responded to the political, religious and economic demands of the time, no less than the artistic. The construction of a network of museums to house and showcase the collection similarly engaged broader discussions of national identity and values at a time when Japan was actively shaping its international profile as a modern nation-state with a defined cultural legacy.

This lecture examines the evolving collecting policy, exhibition strategy and architectural expression at the national museums from the foundational period in the 1870s to today. Serving as barometers of Japan’s history of changing relationship with the rest of Asia and with Euro-America, the museums’ art and architecture have harkened to a combination of regional, national, and international developments in cultural management and exhibitionism. Defining Japan by its art, therefore, has implicated practices, perceptions, and even properties beyond its national borders.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Department of Art History and Art.