American designer Russel Wright is well known in the western design context for his promotion of ‘American Modern’ design and the Good Design movement during the 1930s-50s. However his role in promoting the idea of ‘Asian modern’ to Asian countries in the post-war period has been little known and studied. He facilitated American aid for Asian countries to develop their handcrafts cottage industry producing craft based modern design products for the US market.
This conference paper focused on Wright’s project in Japan as part of the foreign aid programme organised by the American government International Cooperation Administration (ICA) in the late 1950s. This paper shed light, for the first time, on the resources in Asian languages at the Russel Wright Archive at Syracuse University, which was given a wider context through archival and interview data gathered in Japan.
Secondly, this paper investigated Wright’s project as part of Cold War design policies. Much has been written on American art and the role it played as part of the American anti-communist containment policy, however, there is little research on the relation between design and the Cold War in Asian contexts.
|Type of Research:||Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
My current research interest is on the issue of modernity and the discourse of cultural identities in Asian and comparative visual cultures of the non-western countries with a particular geographical focus on Japan and Taiwan. I have published a monograph 'Japanese Modernisation and Mingei Theory: Cultural Nationalism and Oriental Orientalism' [RoutledgeCurzon, 2004] which examined the nationalist discourse of Mingei (Japanese folkcrafts) theory developed by Yanagi Soetsu in the 1920s from the post-colonial cross-cultural perspectives. Bamboo crafts, crafts related to the modern wars (memorabilia, war fashion, substitute products) and cultural politics involved in crafts in modern Japan, and modernities in the relationship with Mexico and Japan are the subjects of the projects that I have been developing recently. I have also been conducting research on the discourse on Taiwanese identities in crafts from the Japanese colonial to the contemporary period and editing a collection of essays by nine contributors, to be published as 'Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan' (forthcoming 2007). As a Keeper of the Camberwell/ILEA Collection of Applied Arts at Camberwell College of Arts, I have also been conducting research on the nature of the collection with particular interest in the Japanese objects in the collection.
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)|
Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts
Colleges > Chelsea College of Art and Design
|Date:||01 August 2006|
|Related Websites:||http://www.transnational.org.uk, http://www.chelsea.arts.ac.uk/17227.htm|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||07 Dec 2009 09:29|
|Last Modified:||22 May 2013 17:30|