Yasufumi Nakamori: Exploring Humanity through ‘The Family of Man’

Yasufumi Nakamori, PhD, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media at Mia, will speak on February 8 as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Yasufumi Nakamori, PhD, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media at Mia

In 1955, this museum hosted a traveling exhibition called “The Family of Man,” a blockbuster curated by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (You can read an appreciation about it here.) An array of 503 black-and-white photographs, from postcard to billboard size, filled Mia’s galleries with the relatively new art form.

Mia’s photography galleries continue to fascinate, stretching the visitor’s imagination and demanding thought. Their curator, Yasufumi Nakamori, took an unconventional route to his discipline, which he practices with intensity steeped in scholarship.

A native of Osaka, Japan, Nakamori earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin and practiced law in New York City. After 9/11, Nakamori began a second career studying modern and contemporary art, obtaining his master’s degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a PhD from Cornell University. He came to Mia after working as an associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas; during his time there, the museum acquired more than 700 images, many of them by modern and contemporary artists.

Nakamori has curated festivals and a biennale in Singapore and has held curatorial and teaching posts at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Rice University, and MoMA. He wrote the 2010 award-winning catalogue Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, which documented the collaboration between photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Kenzo Tange, the Pritzker Architecture prize-winner credited with Mia’s 1974 addition.

He will speak about “The Family of Man” and how perceptions of photography have changed since its attempts to conceive a picture-perfect world.

Due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, free tickets will be available starting January 16th for Friends members: tickets.artsmia.org; 612.870.6323. Tickets available January 17th for the public. Overflow seating in Reception Hall, Target Wing.