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The Art Institute of Chicago

Tanaka Yu 田中悠. Bag Work (フクロモノ) (detail), 2018; Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection of Contemporary Japanese Ceramics

Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan

December 16, 2023 – June 3, 2024

This exhibition celebrates 36 contemporary ceramic artists—all women—through 40 stunning, virtuosic pieces. Since World War II, women have made influential contributions to the ceramics field in Japan that have not been adequately recognized. Radical Clay focuses on the explosion of innovative and technically ambitious compositions by such artists since 1970—a body of work which they developed in parallel with, but often separately from, traditional, male-dominated Japanese practice and its countermovements.

All of the selected pieces are from the exemplary collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, who are thrilled to bring these artists to global attention. The exhibition is also accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with essays by Katz, Joe Earle, and Hollis Goodall.

To learn more, click here.

Past In-Person Event

Conversation: Hosono Hitomi and Yamaguchi Mio on Radical Clay
Saturday, March 23, 2024, 2:00–3:00pm

Join curator Janice Katz and catalogue editor Joe Earle for a conversation on Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan with ceramicists Hosono Hitomi and Yamaguchi Mio. Hosono Hitomi (b.1978) has built a career crafting complex botanical sculptures that recreate dense foliage in molded porcelain. Yamaguchi Mio (b.1992) mimics nature’s repetitions, pleating and folding clay to evoke a world that is almost aquatic. Both artists present striking perspectives on ceramics, globally and in Japan. Hear about their creative processes, techniques, inspiration, and thoughts on the current and future state of clay art in this exciting conversation.

Learn more and register here.



Yoshida Chizuko, Valley of Butterflies (Tanima no cho), 1979, Gift of Chizuko, Takasuke, and Ayomi Yoshida


A Sign of Things to Come: Prints by Japanese Women Artists after 1950

April 18 – July 15, 2024

Before 1950, women rarely played a part in the production of Japanese prints, which were largely commercial products. After World War II, however, women artists were drawn to the new sōsaku hanga (creative print) movement, whose adherents approached printmaking as a form of artistic expression.

In 1956 a small group of these female printmakers created Joryū Hanga Kyōkai, an association that exhibited together for about 10 years. Its members included Iwami Reika and Yoshida Chizuko, both of whom are well-known today and appear in this exhibition. Despite individual successes, like Iwami’s and Yoshida’s, the number of women printmakers in Japan is still a small fraction of the total artists who are active there.

To learn more, click here.