Art has always been subjective and what style is in demand one century may fall out of favor by the next. The woodblock prints in the “Floating Beauty: Women in the Art of Ukiyo-e” exhibition at the Bruce Museum through Nov. 1 present a historical survey on women and their depiction in art in Edo Period Japan (1615-1858). The artworks are beautiful in their own right but also are notable in they were originally made for commercial purposes, not as fine art, which of course they have now become.
The traveling exhibition comprises more than 40 prints on loan from the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania, which created and curated the exhibition. Its interpretation of these images focuses on the representation of women and their place in the Edo period of Japanese society. Corinne Flax, the Bruce Museum’s manager of school and community partnerships, curated the local presentation of the exhibition and said she was more interested in thinking about who would have purchased these prints and for what purpose.