"Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture"

Spare-yet-inviting teahouses. Refined paper screens. Elegant bamboo fencing. This is the global ideal of classic Japanese architecture, and it is exemplified in the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, in Kyoto. But in the black-and-white photographs of Ishimoto Yasuhiro, which he took in 1953 and 1954, the structure looks remarkably like a stark, Bauhaus-infused modernist structure, all rectangles and efficiency. Yasuhiro's photos, after being published in the 1960 book Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture, contributed to an effort in post-occupation Japan to reconcile modernity with Japanese tradition. But the book cropped and otherwise edited the photos; the new exhibition "Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents 70 of the images, uncropped and as the photographer wanted them to be seen. So aficionados of both the ultralinear seriousness of the Bauhaus and the radiant simplicity of Japanese dwellings will glimpse something to cherish. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Through September 12. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. Free to $7.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: June 20. Continues through Sept. 12, 2010


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