Category Archives: Familiar Men

Across from Picasso

Laurie says:

I have posted before about my photographs in the exhibition “No Museum No Life?” at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.  (The work was chosen from the collections of five Japanese National Museums of  Art.)  Having four photographs from Women En Large and Familiar Men included is really an honor.

I’ve been told by my friend Becky, who visited the exhibition, that my photographs are hung next to Edward Weston and across from Picasso.  And I understand that two quotes from Women En Large and Familiar Men, one from Debbie and one from Jonathan Katz, are used to context the Nude/Naked theme.

I’ll be able to see for myself next month, when I fly to Japan to visit the museum, and see people I’ve worked with and photographed in Tokyo, the Kansai and Okinawa.

A little while ago, I received a copy of the show’s catalog.  The curators wrote essays about the concepts around which the show is organized.  My work is in the “Naked/Nude” section of the exhibition.  The curator Masuda Tomohiro wrote this in the catalogue about the art.  I have rarely received a more thoughtful or perceptive appreciation of my photographs.


The term “nude” embodies an ideal of well-balanced physical beauty based on an ancient Greek concept that rose to prominence in the Renaissance period. In Europe and modern and contemporary Japan, which was influenced by European values, depictions of nudes remained a central part of art for many years. In order to convey this fact, we have taken as many nudes as we could from the collections and displayed them in this room. Our real bodies, however, are very different from the statuesque forms depicted during the Renaissance. If the idealized nude was, as it were, a fictitious body, its opposite is our real naked bodies. You might say that the history of modern art is a history of rehabilitating the nude. Gustave Courbet’s Sleeping Nude is a suitable work to express this tendency. Though the composition itself is reminiscent of Renaissance painting, the picture shows a woman sleeping in a room in a slovenly position. The window in the background suggests that someone might be peeping at her. Here, the repressed desire to look at a nude is clearly expressed.

Since the people who painted nudes were often men and the people who were being painted were often women, these works frequently have been subjected to criticism on the grounds of gender bias. With this in mind, let us consider some nudes by the female artists Ogura Yuki and Laurie Toby Edison. The latter in particular extols the beauty of exposed bodies in a way that was never attempted in the past. When the beauty of a body is captured in its natural form, it becomes difficult to differentiate between naked and nude. The difference is based on complicity between the artist’s desire and the viewer’s desire to look and share aesthetic values with each other.

I’m really excited to be going to see it!

My Photos in National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Laurie says:
I am thrilled that 4 of my photographs are in the “No Museum, No Life? -Art-Museum Encyclopedia to Come” that opened on the 16th in Tokyo at the National Museum of Modern Art. The show runs from June 16th to September 13th.




It consists of about 170 pieces of work from the collections of the National Museums of Art (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo / The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto / The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo / The National Museum of Art, Osaka / National Art Center, Tokyo).


Philip Huang


This is only the second exhibition from the collections of the five national museums of art. The show will present a cross-sectional selection of works dating from before Christ to the present around the thirty five keywords from A to Z inspired by art-museum activities. While allowing the visitors to appreciate unexpected combinations of art works, the show will aim to provide an opportunity to think about concepts of “art museum” itself.




My photographs are from the collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Osaka  where I had my solo exhibition “Meditations on the Body,” curated by Akiko Kasuya.

I really want to see the exhibit and how my photographs are shown, so I’m going to Japan in early September!

It’s been about ten years since I was in Japan and I have many people I am looking forward to seeing.

And I’ll be writing about it here.