Mitsubishi Corporation To Renew $1 Million Sponsorship to the Freer and Sackler Galleries

Relationship Supports National Museum of Asian Art Exhibitions and Outreach for U.S.–Japan Collaboration
October 1, 2020
News Release

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The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and Mitsubishi Corporation have announced their continued partnership and collaboration for the benefit of advancing knowledge and understanding of Japanese art in the United States and across the globe. Renewing an initial sponsorship that began in 2015, Mitsubishi Corporation has pledged to fund another $1 million to the Freer and Sackler galleries to support the museum’s Japan-related initiatives through 2025. The funds will continue to provide support to exhibitions, public programming and outreach.

The sponsorship is instrumental in supporting the museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Mind over Matter: Zen Monk Painters in Medieval Japan,” which will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami by showcasing the work of Japanese Zen painters from the 13th–16th centuries, curated by Frank Feltens. Also supported by this sponsorship is the first-ever retrospective outside of Japan of the Fluxus artist Ay-O, curated by the museum’s new scholar Kit Brooks.

The renewed funding will also support a large variety of Japan-related projects including publications and public programming. An innovative digital experience on Zen Buddhism with a focus on Japanese Zen during the Warring States period of the 16th century will be developed by Feltens and an international team of scholars, authors and Zen practitioners. In 2023, the Freer Gallery of Art will mark its centennial, and the museum’s longstanding connection to Japan will be a core component of the celebration.  

The sponsorship recognizes the historic role of the Freer Gallery of Art in promoting Japanese art and culture and fostering bilateral collaboration since the early 20th century. With this partnership, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art and Mitsubishi Corporation continue to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, as well as increase the awareness of Japanese culture abroad.

About the Museum’s Strength in Japanese Art

The Freer and Sackler’s Japanese art program is the first and largest interdisciplinary program outside of Japan focused on Japanese art, film and culture. It is devoted to researching, exhibiting, publishing and promoting the arts and culture of Japan from pre-history to the present, nationally and internationally. The museum’s collection of more than 12,000 objects from Japan spans four millennia and includes paintings, ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, lacquer and modern and contemporary photography and graphic arts. The program is overseen by an interdepartmental team of Japanese specialists, including curators, conservators and a curator of films who presents a robust series of Japanese films.

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, are located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Committed to preserving, exhibiting and interpreting exemplary works of art, the Freer and Sackler house exceptional collections of Asian art, with more than 42,000 objects dating from the Neolithic period to today. Renowned and iconic objects originate from China, Japan, Korea, South and Southeast Asia, the ancient Near East and the Islamic world. The Freer Gallery also holds a significant group of American works of art largely dating to the late 19th century. It boasts the world’s largest collection of diverse works by James McNeill Whistler, including the famed Peacock Room.

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are dedicated to increasing understanding of the arts of Asia through a broad portfolio of exhibitions, publications, conservation, research and education.

About Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses in approximately 90 countries and regions worldwide, having 10 Business Groups that operate across virtually every industry: Natural Gas, Industrial Materials, Petroleum & Chemicals, Mineral Resources, Industrial Infrastructure, Automotive & Mobility, Food Industry, Consumer Industry, Power Solution and Urban Development. With an unwavering commitment to conducting business with integrity and fairness, MC remains fully dedicated to growing its businesses while contributing to a prosperous society. MC is proud to be able to extend the sponsorship to support the Japanese art programs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

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SI-288-2020