Photo documentation from performance works by Roger Shimomura, courtesy the artist

Staging Shimomura at the Spencer Museum of Art highlights digitally remastered footage from performances created by Roger Shimomura between 1984 and 2002. The exhibition also includes costumes and props, photographs from production, and other documentation from the performances. All of the material is presented alongside a variety of Shimomura’s prints and paintings from throughout his career.

Shimomura’s work is deeply biographical. Much of the source material stems from his family’s experiences while they were forced to live in a concentration camp in Idaho as part of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The dialogue between paintings and performances created in this exhibition offers audiences a deeper understanding of the artist’s rich universe of personal experiences and pop culture references that examine the dark underbelly of stereotypes and racism that continue to resonate in America today.

A public lecture series featuring scholars and artists will further explore themes in the exhibition.

March 24
Hiroko Ikegami (Kobe University) examines Roger Shimomura’s Seven Kabuki Plays against the backdrop of his Diary paintings, both of which draw on his grandmother’s diary entries during the incarceration of Japanese Americans.

April 2
Krystal Reiko Hauseur discusses her research for Masking Identity: The Performance Art of Roger Shimomura (2019), the first monograph on the subject.

May 7
Scott Tsuchitani, an interdisciplinary artist and cinematographer based in San Francisco, discusses the influence of Roger Shimomura’s work on other artists, including himself.

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Staging Shimomura continues at the Spencer Museum of Art (1301 Mississippi Street, Lawrence, Kansas) through June 21, 2020. The exhibition is curated by Kris Ercums, Spencer Museum Curator of Global Contemporary & Asian Art. For Press inquiries, email Elizabeth Kanost

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