Museums & Galleries

Museums & Galleries
Erotic print, Japan, Edo period, ca. 1770
Image: Suzuki Harunobu

Shunga Stripped

Museums & Galleries / In its literal translation, shunga means “spring pictures.” However, its more relaxed, unclothed definition refers to the Japanese erotica produced during the Edo period (1615–1868)–works on display for your eyes only in The Arts of the Bedchamber: Japanese Shunga. That’s right, a gallery all about the “S” word: shunga, or the Japanese word for erotic art.

The private becomes public in this tantalizing exhibit where over 800 works of shunga that have never seen the light of day will make their grand debut at the Museum. It’s not just the subject matter that’s particularly noteworthy; diving into shunga also provides a cumulative look into the art of ukiyo-e printmaking itself, an important movement in Asian artwork.

The duo of exhibitions will illuminate viewers on the early development of the art form as a genre, concepts of gender in erotic art, its effect on the nationwide conversation regarding sexuality, the tongue-in-cheek humor found in shunga and other related topics that’ll definitely challenge how flexible your long-held conjectures are regarding sex. You’ll leave frisky for art.

Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St., opens 11/23, exhibit runs through 3/17/2013, [honolulumuseum.org] 532-8700