A warrior versus a warrior is a fair fight. But a warrior versus, say, a giant spider or a terrifying skeleton makes for a far more visually interesting fight that, around 150 years ago, Japanese print artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi chose to create. Taking another look at this once-popular artist, the Japan Society’s new exhibit Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters features more than 130 dramatic depictions of his Chinese thugs, female warriors, creepy ghosts, and rough samurais in combat. If you love anime and manga, you should especially attend: Kuniyoshi’s eye for detail, seen in his intricate prints of landscapes and women, and his unique ability to envision elaborate battle scenes with themes of Asian history, religion, folklore, and myth are still major influences on cartoonists today.
March 12-June 13, 2010