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February 16, 2009

Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan opens March 8 at the Harn Museum of Art

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —An international loan exhibition highlighting remarkable examples of Japan’s national costume will open at the Harn Museum of Art March 8. Featuring nearly 100 kimono dated from the late 19th to early 20th centuries, Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan offers a glimpse into Japanese fashion during a period of momentous social and economic change.

The exhibition includes pieces from the era of the “living” kimono (1890s-1940s), when the kimono was the attire of choice for Japanese men, women and children. During this time, fashionable silk kimono with intricate designs, once reserved for the wealthy, were brought to the masses through advances in silk production and distribution. Many new designs and styles broke from the traditional in favor of large, bold patterns evocative of Western art movements such as art deco and art nouveau.

Fashioning Kimono
includes formal, semiformal and casual kimono and kimono-related garments. The kimono are on loan from the Montgomery Collection of Lugano, Switzerland.

“The Montgomery Collection, which took decades to assemble, includes preeminent examples of kimono from this period,” said Jason Steuber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art. “ Fashioning Kimono offers a tremendous opportunity for our community at the University of Florida and the surrounding region to see an exhibition that has also been displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.”

Fashioning Kimono
will be on display free of charge through May 17. The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International in Alexandria, Va. His Excellency Ryozo Kato, former ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America, is the Honorary Patron of the exhibition. Fashioning Kimono is designated as the Samuel P. Harn Memorial Exhibition and sponsored locally by the AEC Trust.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue titled “Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan,” which is available for purchase in the Harn Museum Store. Published by 5 Continents Publishers, it contains essays by five international scholars. Among them is Annie M. Van Assche, guest curator of the exhibition, principal author of the publication, respected Japanese art historian and textile scholar. March 8 at 3 p.m., Van Assche will speak about why Japanese women of the early 20th century preferred kimono to Western dress. Following her lecture, there will be a book signing of the exhibition catalogue.

The museum is offering a number of other programs related to the exhibition. Shozo Sato, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will present a lecture and demonstration about the time-honored art of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony on March 16 at 4 p.m. On March 29 at 3 p.m., Melissa Rinne, assistant curator of Japanese art at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, will explore the details of seasonal kimono, focusing on the summer kimono in particular. A museum docent will guide a tour of the exhibition on March 15 at 2 p.m. Jason Steuber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art at the Harn Museum of Art, will give a gallery talk May 3 at 3 p.m.

Members will be the first to view the exhibition at the Harn’s member pARTy on March 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be an opportunity to join at the door. Those who attend the event will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine, music and the opportunity to view all of the exhibitions on display. The Harn Museum of Art offers memberships beginning at $50 a year. Visit the membership section of the Harn’s Web site for a list of additional benefits and information about how to join.

Admission is free for all events except the member pARTy. For more information, call 352-392-9826 or visit


Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
The Harn Museum of Art at SW 34th St. and Hull Rd. is one of the largest university art museums in the country with nearly 7,000 works in its collection focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art and photography. The museum enhances the activities of the University of Florida and serves a culturally diverse audience through educational programming. Admission is free. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free on weekends. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

Art Services International
Art Services International is a nonprofit educational institution that organizes art exhibitions of the highest quality. These exhibitions include paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and decorative arts that range from art of the ancient world to works of the Old Masters, and continue through to the contemporary period. ASI exhibitions are drawn from museums, galleries, and private collections in the United States and abroad, and are hosted by museums throughout the United States and Europe. ASI shares with the hosting museums a commitment to enhancing the appreciation of art. Fully-illustrated catalogues and additional educational materials are provided for each project.

Media contacts:
Tami Wroath, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
352.392.9826 x116

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