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"Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self" opens at the Andy Warhol Museum
Yasumasa Morimura, A Requiem: Oswald, 1963, 2006, Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

PITTSBURGH, PA.- For more than three decades Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura has forged an extraordinary body of work that reimagines the visual culture of the West, as well as that of his native Japan. Whether portraying Elizabeth Taylor, Mao Zedong or Andy Warhol, Morimura’s iconic images examine the practice of photography while also claiming a space for the self in historical narratives. The artist inserts himself as the subject(s) in all of his works. The exhibition, Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self, is a retrospective of Morimura’s 30 year career covering his fascination with the self-portrait, celebrity, gay and transgendered life, art history, and popular culture align him closely with the work of Andy Warhol. Morimura has described himself as Warhol’s “conceptual son.”

Developed in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition focuses on three important bodies of work: and his celebrated “Art History” photographs in which he painstakingly restages European masterpieces; “Requiem” in which Morimura recreates iconic photographs relating to political and cultural life; the “Actors” series in which he assumes the personae of Hollywood luminaries such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn.

Milton Fine Curator of Art, Nicholas Chambers states, “Including almost 100 images, many of which have never before been seen in the United States, Theater of the Self offers audiences an in-depth view of Morimura’s work. His pictures reveal a sophisticated form of engagement with the worlds of celebrity, art and the mass media that is at once celebration and critique, homage and parody, and has the effect of questioning the nature of the individual’s relationship to culture-at-large.”

Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self will be accompanied by a microsite featuring a selection of works in the exhibition, artist biography and a downloadable electronic publication. The publication will feature images from the exhibition, video footage, and scholarly essays. Authors include: Akira Mizuta Lippit, Professor of Cinematic Arts, Comparative Literature, and East Asian Languages and Cultures at University of Southern California; Robert C. Morgan, Art Critic, Art Historian, New York, NY; and Charles M. Exley. Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese Literature and Film, The University of Pittsburgh and Nicholas Chambers, Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Warhol. The electronic publication will be available in October for purchase in the Amazon Marketplace and the iTunes stores as well as a limited time text-only free download on the museum’s website.

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