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Fact-finding about Fuji

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View of Mount Fuji from Satta Point in the Suruga Bay
  • Utagawa Hiroshige
  • View of Mount Fuji from Satta Point in the Suruga Bay

As I mentioned in a post some time ago, blogging for NUVO has afforded me the chance to check out a lot of arts events around town. In my relatively new capacity as the paper’s calendar editor, I am now privy to information about events as far in advance as next June. Want to know about cool stuff happening in the city? Chances are I can find something interesting for you to do.

My secret spy knowledge led me to an exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (4000 Michigan Road) on Saturday afternoon: Utagawa Hiroshige’s “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.” I didn’t read the museum’s description of the exhibit closely enough; I thought it was going to feature 36 photographs of the Japanese mountain. Instead, the series is made up of 18 color woodblock prints that all feature mountain scenes. They’re really very pretty, but when you work up mental images of sunset or majestic snow peaks and other musical-inspiring scenery, a lack of photography can be a bit of a letdown. Again, however, the work is quite nice, it’s more than 150 years old, I got to see it for free, and I got to ride escalators to get to it (being easily amused has its benefits).

I’d like to know more than Wikipedia can tell me about the art. All the prints include small red banners with Japanese lettering at the upper-right and lower-left corners of the images and I’m curious as to what they all say. Perhaps it’s something historical, information about the scene itself, or some kind of caption. I suppose I could use this chance to learn a little Japanese… besides the kanji I’ve had tattooed on my person.

The exhibit is open through September 5, Tuesdays through Sundays in the Appel Gallery (third floor of the museum; check in at the front desk before heading upstairs). Visit the museum online at www.imamuseum.org or call 317-923-1331 for more information.

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