Joe Earle, director of Japan Society Gallery in New York, has announced his retirement. He’s not leaving until roughly a year from now – September 2012 – by which time I just might actually be back in New York to say goodbye in person. But, it’s sad to see him go. Mr. Earle has done a lot of great work for the Society, both in terms of organizing some really groundbreaking, and extremely well put together exhibitions (including KRAZY!, Bye Bye Kitty, and Hakuin), and also in terms of behind-the-scenes administration and leadership. It’s been great for me, especially, having such a contact within the NYC Japanese art world.
I had heard this news a good few days ago, but much thanks to Susan of JapanCulture・NYC for publishing the news first, making it public, so that I could feel okay about putting it out there myself.
Having met him back when he was Chair of the Art of Asia, Africa, and Oceania department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mr. Earle has always been to my mind a major player in the Boston/NYC Japanese art scene, a mainstay in a way. But now I learn, or realize, that he’s really only been here in the States for about nine years, after a lengthy career in the UK, spent mostly, I gather, at the Victoria & Albert. So, I guess, it’s more the case of saying a great big thank you to Joe for bringing his expertise and brilliant talent to us here in the US, so far from home. I assume he’ll be going home to the UK after he retires, but I look forward to hopefully continuing to see him at art events and such, whether in NY, or elsewhere, or if & when I ever make my own way to the UK…
There are quite a few great exhibits still going on under Earle’s watch – “Fiber Futures,” an exhibition of contemporary textile art, has just opened, and meanwhile, downstairs in the so-called “A level,” there’s an exhibit of postcard-sized artworks created by Tôhoku artists in response to the earthquake/tsunami disaster. Next year, we’ll see exhibits on Japanese Art Deco, and one on the painter Sakai Hoitsu. Looking forward to it!