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Detail, photograph by Jun Fujita, circa 1930s, courtesy of the Graham and Pamela Lee private collection.

Jun Fujita: Oblivion

Jan 12th, 2017 – Apr 21st, 2017

This exhibition presents photographs and ephemera from the poet Jun Fujita (1888-1963). Fujita is an English-language tanka poet who published regularly in Poetry during the 1920s. The first Japanese-American photojournalist, he is responsible for the most famous photos of the Eastland disaster, the Chicago race riots of 1919, and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, among others. This show explores his lesser-known landscapes and includes ephemera from his life and photojournalism work.  

Jun Fujita was born outside of  Hiroshima, Japan. As a teenager, he emigrated to Canada where he worked as a laborer and train porter in British Columbia. By 1909 he had made his way to Chicago, where he found employment briefly as an actor and then more enduringly as a photographer for the Chicago Evening Post. In the twenties, Fujita’s poems began appearing in Poetry, and in 1923 he published his only book, Tanka: Poems in Exile. 

Although Fujita is remembered for taking some of the most indelible and horrifying images of the early twentieth century, in his poems and private photography his central fascination was with the natural world. Writing about his relationship to wild flowers, Fujita notes: “I feel that moods are beyond the reach of  the camera. But I feel words are too crude for the delicate moods of  wild flowers. Whether I have succeeded in portraying the moods of these wild flowers I am not sure. I am trying.”

Exhibit Hours

Monday — Friday, 11 AM — 4 PM

Select Saturdays, 10 AM — 3 PM

January 14
February 4
March 4
April 15

Select Evenings, 4 PM — 7 PM

January 17
February 21
March 21
April 18

Past Exhibits

  1. Pegasus & Mermaids
    Sep 23rd, 2016 – Dec 16th, 2016
  2. Bhaba by Neha Vedpathak
    Jul 11th, 2016 – Sep 15th, 2016
  3. Vintage Poetry Center Posters
    May 5th, 2016 – Jun 24th, 2016
  4. Bernadette Mayer: Memory
    Mar 3rd, 2016 – Apr 27th, 2016

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