Empire at the Exhibition: The Imperial Art World of Modern Japan, 1907-1945


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Art, Art History and Visual Studies


This project examines how the Japanese modern art world contributed to, benefited from, and was transformed by Japan’s imperial expansion. Japanese artists resettled in Korea and Taiwan as brokers of empire, and colonial artists moved to Tokyo in pursuit of art education. To explore these intra-imperial trajectories, this project investigates the professional networks, publicity, and paintings of three artists—Fujishima Takeji, Lee In-sung, and Chen Chin—who had successful careers at the government-sponsored fine arts exhibitions in Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei in the 1930s. It argues that, with its ubiquitous publicity, this exhibitionary system provided artists with access to audiences throughout the empire, asserted the superiority of Japanese modern art, and assimilated colonial artists into the metropolitan art establishment.