‘Giant Robot Biennale 4’ to showcase Asian pop culture at the Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles)

Many people complain about something lacking from their lives, but few actually do anything about it. Eric Nakamura is different. He has not only filled that gap, he has created a new movement.

Nakamura is the creator of Giant Robot, now a store with a sister gallery in Los Angeles, which spurred an ever-growing interest in Asian and Asian American pop culture. He is also the curator of the exhibit, “Giant Robot Biennale 4,” set to open Oct. 11 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Giant Robot began as a ‘zine, covering Nakamura’s interests, such as live action robot shows, kung fu films, imported toys and international foods.

I grew up with a mix of both cultures (American and Asian) and I didn’t see a publication out there that documented that kind of hybrid,” Nakamura said.

After being deluged by readers asking if they could visit the Giant Robot office to see the products advertised in the ‘zine, Nakamura decided to open a store. Then he took his hybrid idea a step further by also using the space to exhibit art.

Today, some 21 years and a plethora of copycat store/galleries later, Nakamura still shrugs the notion of success. However, he credits Giant Robot’s longevity to his devotion to fairness and honesty.

The culture of Giant Robot is an artist family experience, which is different. We do things contrary to how a gallery would do things,” Nakamura said.

The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 24, is the fourth time Giant Robot and JANM have united for an art exhibit.

Asian and Asian American pop art has exploded in popularity,” said JANM president and CEO Greg Kimura. “Giant Robot really is the premiere example of that. It’s bringing some of these known and some of these rising artists to the public consciousness and, because of that, JANM is becoming known as a place where folks can come to discover very interesting and frequently provocative contemporary art.

Nakamura has divided “Giant Robot Biennale 4” inside JANM, devoting the ground floor to drawings, including comics, ‘zines and sketchbooks, and showing art from a range of disciplines upstairs.

Two large murals by Andrew Hem and kozyndan will also be featured in the exhibit, as well as work by artists, such as James Jean, Jim Lee, Kim Jung Gi, Katsuya Terada, Luke Chueh, Audrey KawasakiNathan Ota, Mu Pan and Yoskay Yamamoto.

In addition, there will be a photography installation from Hamburger Eyes.

Nakamura finds it hard to name a favorite artist, but he admits that he roots for “the underdogs who are working extra hard.” An example of this is Yumi Sakugawa, whose work can be seen in ‘zines and comics. There will be a video installation featuring a ‘zine reading by Sakugawa.

Kimura is also a big fan of Edwin Ushiro, citing the artist as “someone to watch.”

He’s huge right now, but he’s growing even bigger as a national and international artist,” Kimura added.

There will be a replica of Ushiro’s studio on site in which visitors will be invited to draw.

Kimura also likes Rob Sato’s technical ability and admires the shocking imagery of Mari Inukai, stating that the artists makes you feel differently about the world around you, as well as art itself.

“I like to think that Giant Robot has established a culture of some sort that maybe changed the landscape a little bit of what art is and then what a shop is like and what culture can be,” Nakamura said. “These are things that I grew up with that were separate and we unified and turned it into a package of some sort.

Want to go?

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday and noon-8 p.m. Thursday from Oct. 11-Jan. 24. Free opening celebration 7-10 p.m.

Where: Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

Tickets: $9 adults, $5 seniors and children 6-17 and free for children 5 and younger.

Information: 213-625-0414, www.janm.org

Also, check out the Giant Robot Store!

Giant Robot Store

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 2015 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.

Information: 310-478-1819, www.giantrobot.com

GR2 Gallery

Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles.

Information: 424-246-7626, www.giantrobot.com

“Welcome Home” by Esao Andrews will be on exhibit in “Giant Robot Biennale 4” at the Japanese American Naitonal Museum in Los Angeles Oct. 11-Jan. 24.

George Takei to donate part of proceeds of his Broadway production “Allegiance” to Japanese American National Museum

AsAm News: 

Actor George Takei is working his social media magic for a good cause and for his legacy project.

He launched an Indie Go Go campaign this weekend to support his Broadway production of Allegiance, the story of a Japanese American family ripped apart by the loyalty questions asked while they were incarcerated in World War II.

Takei’s goal is to raise $250,000 and in just two days, he’s already raised nearly $70,000.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.55.05 AM
Allegiance opens on Broadway with previews in October before its official opening on November 8 at the Longacre Theatre.

You can read George’s entire story of Allegiance, see a video which includes highlights from Allegiance’srecord breaking run at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego and give to the campaign at Indie Go Go.

Link

Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles) presents “Sikh Captain America” February 8

Angry Asian Man:

 

If you’re in Los Angeles, you are invited to meet the one and only Sikh Captain America. This Saturday, come to the Japanese American National Museum to meet cartoonist Vishavjit Singh, the guy who dressed up as Sikh Captain America — complete with his blue turban — and was photographed around New York City.

Vishavjit will share about his adventures. It’s happening February 8 at JANM in Little Tokyo. Here are some more details:

The Adventures of Sikh Captain America

Saturday, February 8, 2014
2:00 PM

FREE!

In June 2013, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh dressed up as Sikh Captain America and was photographed around New York City. He will share the reactions – both positive and negative – that he received on his adventure, followed by a cartoon workshop.

This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986. For further information, head over to the JANM website.

Check out this link:

Japanese American National Museum presents “Sikh Captain America”

Link

Natsumatsuri “summer festival” this weekend in L.A.

In Los Angeles this weekend? Head down to the  Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Little Tokyo for their 1st annual Natsumatsuri (“summer festival” in Japanese).

“We hope you will join us for a day of sharing and learning, as we celebrate old and new traditions with cultural performances, demonstrations, activities, and crafts!”

The festival starts at 11AM and goes, and includes cultural performances, demonstrations, activities, and crafts including taiko drumming, obon dance, and origami lessons.

Check out this link:

Natsumatsuri “summer festival” this weekend

JANM-2013-Natsumatsuri