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Daido Moriyama Exhibit at Stephen Cohen Gallery


Opening reception for the artist November 16, 2006 7 - 9pm

The Stephen Cohen Gallery is pleased to announce an overview exhibition of the black and white photographs of major Japanese photographer, Daido Moriyama.
This exhibition, “Daido Moriyama”, will run from November 9th through December 30, 2006. The artist will be present at the opening reception on Thursday, November 16, 2006 from 7 to 9pm.

Born in Osaka, Moriyama studied photography before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to work as an assistant to the photographer Eikoh Hosoe. Living in the aftermath of Japan’s embarrassing defeat in World War II to the Allies and the changes the Americans brought to his tightly controlled and traditional country, the young Moriyama looked to the west for a way to approach and examine these changes that many traditionalists bemoaned. Early influenced from the west, by the work of William Klein, Andy Warhol, and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Moriyama found an energetic, dynamic way to depict the clash of the old/new, to show the Japan that was morphing into an Asian version of America.

The 60’s and 70’s was a crucial moment in Japanese history - the economy was booming, but underneath lay a profound sense of guilt and shame. Moriyama became a part of the new generation of post-war artists, who were trying to explore these contradictions and capture the evolving Japan.

Moriyama’s 35 mm. photographs are shot in the streets, depicting the darker edges of everyday experience, the underbelly – strip clubs, dark bars, forbidden alleyways, transvestite performers, roadside scenes of urban decay. He is always the outsider shooting shadows as if he was on the run. His signature image of the snarling stray dog has become the artist’s alter-ego. Moriyama’s images are grainy, tilted, dynamic, expressionistic, alienated… more like the poetry of the Beat Generation than any haiku ever written.

Sensation and edginess are what he has always been after; through the years his style has become more focused and less blurry, but the images are still about a moment, a suggestion of an action about to take place or just completed. His favorite haunts are still Shinjiku, and Golden Gai, parts of Tokyo that still feel edgy and thrilling. “I want to express the realness of Japan. I want to show what is really going on.” Moriyama says of his work. Moriyama still photographs and resides in Japan. His work has been shown in galleries and museums around the world.

In the viewing room, we will show the work of Keizo Kitajima, a former student of Moriyama’s who traveled to New York in 1981 and, like his mentor before him, prowled the streets capturing the vitality and changing cultural trends of the gritty, wild, rebellious underbelly that was New York during the Reagan years.

“Daido Moriyama” will exhibit at the Stephen Cohen Gallery located at 7358 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.

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