J. T. Sata: Immigrant Modernist

J. T. Sata: Immigrant Modernist

March 15 - September 01, 2024

James Tadanao Sata (1896–1975) created some of the most adventurous photographs made in America in the 1920s and ’30s. Abstract spheres and triangles, complex arrangements of figures and shadows, and spaces rich with deep and delicate tones emphasized geometric forms and conveyed newness, modernity, and irony.

Sata came to the United States in 1918. Despite his good education and the elevated social status of his samurai heritage, he worked a variety of menial jobs, including as a servant and custodian. However, Sata’s artistic ambitions led him to become an amateur art photographer. He photographed in and around Little Tokyo, at the sea, and in the mountains of Southern California. He also created modernist portraits and abstractions.

Curated by Dennis Reed, this exhibition comprises sixty photographs by Sata, photographs of Sata’s concentration camp paintings and drawings, and family artifacts from camp. All of the photographs created by J. T. Sata were donated to JANM by his family.

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