Mainichi: U.S. museum makes it clear that art will not go to Fukushima because of radiation — “Strangely ironic”

Published: January 23rd, 2012 at 6:34 am ET


Title: The paintings that won’t reach Fukushima
Source: The Mainichi Daily News
Author: Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer
Date: Jan 23, 2012

[…] the Ben Shahn exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture […] will continue until Jan. 29 […] but something I heard at the information counter surprised me: The exhibition was heading to Nagoya, Okayama and Fukushima, but 70 items on loan from six museums in the United States would only go as far as Okayama. In other words, Fukushima would not see them.

What was the reason for this? When I asked the Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, the answer was just as expected: because of radiation.

From the outset, a certain U.S. museum made it clear that its works were not to go to Fukushima. The other five had supported the idea of making a decision at the last moment. An official from Fukushima sought understanding on bringing the works to the city, saying it would make an effort to release radiation measurement data, but it didn’t receive a favorable response. With the museum sticking to its position, no progress was being made, so organizers reportedly gave up on taking the 70 works to Fukushima. […]


To me, this turn of events is strangely ironic. […]

When Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art curator Yasuko Araki, who wrote a commentary on Ben Shahn in the January issue of Geijutsu Shincho, was asked “What work did you most want to come to Fukushima?” she replied, “Liberation” (1945), a work which is kept at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The work depicts children swinging from a metal pole in a devastated area. Contradicting the title, the faces of the children are dark and empty. A damaged building and rubble lie in the background. The theme is the liberation of Paris and the end of the war.

“I think this is like Fukushima now,” she says. The children, who look innocent, are hit with sharp anxiety from their completely changed surroundings. There is indeed something similar in these two scenes.

Read the report here

Published: January 23rd, 2012 at 6:34 am ET


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24 comments to Mainichi: U.S. museum makes it clear that art will not go to Fukushima because of radiation — “Strangely ironic”


    When it comes to property, everything will be done to protect it…

  • rooks rooks
    OT- 5.1 right by the mess in Fukushima. Felt it here in Chiba and it was strong. On the Japanese scale it was a weak 5 which is significant if inland.

      • rooks rooks

        Hi B&B, I wonder why (not really) people do not understand that another major quake will topple reactor 4? Hopefully, I soon will get out of this and somewhere away from the epicenter of radiation.

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          Hey rooks, yes, I wonder, too…that “4-toppling-quake” is my biggest concern of all…it’s just insane to think those ruins would keep standing until they get the remains of the fuel out.
          If you’re planning to leave Japan, where will you go? Which nationality are you?


          • rooks rooks

            American and planning to evacuate to the states even though the government there is corrupt but at least I do not have to live in Chernobyl with my kids here. I hope the next coming generations know we fought back against this evil.

            • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

              Good luck rooks! Please keep us updated on where you are / what’s going on around you….

            • StillJill StillJill

              Way to go, rooks! Taking your kids out of that epicenter, as you said, is a GREAT plan! ๐Ÿ™‚

            • labmonkeywithagun labmonkeywithagun

              I’m glad too, and happy to help in anyway you think of. I’m afraid there are a few more shoes to drop from Tepco and Fukushima, so the sooner the better. BTW, your last one to me over at HP was scrubbed. Not important as news of you getting as many of your people outa’ there as possible.
              Made my day, you have personalized the whole thing for me in a way that now I will stand up and say, “nukes, time for them to go, no such thing as new and improved, just different ways of them fuckin’ up.”

              • Whoopie Whoopie

                Yes! Rooks has been at HP since 3/11. With his voice and being IN JAPAN, there’s not much the Pro-Nukes can say. They know he’s LIVING IT, BREATHING IT. Hope you do leave very soon Rooks. Hugs to you and your family, may things come together so you can evacuate ASAP.

  • arclight arclight

    heres what UNICEF had to say

    “FUKUSHIMA, Japan, 10 August 2011 โ€“ Japanese youth must combine their strengths to help facilitate the nationโ€™s recovery, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told a crowd of high school students this month in Fukushima City, while on a three-day trip to Japan.

    Some 100 students from three different high schools gathered in the gymnasium of Fukushima South High School to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Ban. The Japan Committee for UNICEF and the UNICEF Office in Tokyo organized the dialogue as an outlet for the youth to present their views and opinions to the world through the UN chief.”

    and heres what unicef failed to say

    Petition 02: Protect the Children of Fukushima (closed)

    July 1, 2011
    This petition is now closed. With your support, we collected 2,390 signatures form around the world. Weโ€™ll submit them to the Japanese government at the next opportunity. Check back for our report. Thank you!
    โ€” Green Action, 11/9/2011

    2,390 signatures..

    and an update from unicef!!

    no chance!!

    nuclear lobby and fine arts 1
    little children 0

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi arc, what a complete shame.
      Lesson #1: nobody will help me in case of need
      lesson #2: noone cares
      lesson #3: I need to fight for myself in this world

      Great message to deliver to the youth. Thanks Mr and Mrs Ban.

      • arclight arclight

        hi b and b

        bit OT but i am trying to upload a video of german Pb214 monitoring from eurdep.. the monitors have now been switched of for this and other isotopes… been trying to upload for 4 days now!! ๐Ÿ™‚ keeps dropping just before the finish..?? 24 bequerels/m3 and a second high peak recently! the eurdep crowd are leading us a merry chase!! thought this might happen if we tried to contact them direct.. looks like theve stopped the pretence of a “fair” monitoring system.. russia seems to have largely withdrawn also.. looks like everyone got the memo then!!

        back on topic

        yes this is a great lesson in life and death for our youth and the youth of japan also!! lie, decieve, cover up, imprison,discriminate, violent reprisal, intrusion into private lives by security and private companies.

        thought things were bad for young people in my day! seems like it was actually the peak of free speech and democrasy! go figure! i pity the youth of today, rich and poor.. what a legacy we leave for them? have left them?

        something worth fighting for?
        back to you tube :/

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          You rock, arclight.
          I totally missed Pb214 in Germany – would be interested in seeing it – so PLEASE get the upload sorted ๐Ÿ˜‰

          *and explain me later how it’s done, lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Actually lesson 3 is very useful. Otherwise they will try to depend on “leaders” and we know how that tends to work out.

        Poor kids though – they are too young to really process what’s going on and most of the actual effects on them probably won’t be obvious for a while, neither psychological nor physical. There are tragedies in the making, for sure.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Irony being the theme of the moment:

  • midwestern midwestern

    Liberation for the children of Fukushima. Liberation for the farmers of Fukushima. Evacuation for the entire prefecture…Freedom from the oppression and contamination of nuclear prisons. No more art mobile philanthropy, sending a nickel or a pretty picture to the poor children caged in ionizing radiation twenty-four hours a day!!!

  • many moons

    Oh here we go again…art defining life…those pesky artist always causing trouble…..
    Japan’s goverment and tepco had a good thing going…”no problem with a little radiation here and there won’t hurt you any…Fukushima is fine…go have some fun, see an art exhibit!”

    “Oh you say the paintings won’t be coming to Fuku, might be too dangerous for the artwork.” I realize Ben Shahn’s paintings are expensive, priceless priceless works of art at that…so where does that leave me, an individual who lives in Fuku prefecture?