Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Ephemera Show

One of the reasons that Japanese prints intrigue me so much is that they, and really fine prints in general, always tell a story: a story about a moment in history, or popular culture, or civic debate, or industrial invention, or fashion trends, or even technical developments in printing itself. And in many ways ephemera: paper stuff and collectibles not generally considered fine art, like postcards, menus, posters, product labels, boxes, and travel guides, contain even more more potential for an interesting back story.

When I started my gallery almost two years ago, I had in mind that I would like eventually to have an ephemera show. I was interested in ephemera though I didn't have much knowledge of it as a collecting field. But planning an exhibit, I thought, would give me a chance to learn more and to be a collector, albeit short-term, of all the weird paper stuff that I often saw while searching for Japanese prints, at least until it was ready for sale.

So here it is, the first annual, Summer Ephemera Show (over at Included are old matchbox labels from the late Meiji period, paper fans from the Taisho period, a pro wrestling poster and a Japanese horror movie poster, some Japanese baseball menko (children's playing cards), and many many postcards from the late 19th century to the 1940s.

In the coming days, I will try to highlight a few pieces from the show along with bits of related unearthed history.