Art Is In — Olympic Fans Are Out

Artist: John Paul Thornton "Three Graces", oil on canvas, 40"x 90" 202

DETROIT — American artists’ work will be displayed in Japan at the Chiba City Museum of Art in an exhibition coinciding with the tightly regulated 2021 Summer Olympics.

“Forty-two Artists have risen to the occasion, to represent America and support our athletes – as the rest of the world watches,” says curator, Julienne Johnson. “My goal for ‘The USA Exhibition’ is to present an intentionally broad body of works in both discipline and narrative, to show the full range of artistic freedom that we take for granted.  After over a year of isolation and lock-downs, museum viewers will have an opportunity to fill their loss with a multitude of human experiences. My hope is that the show will contribute to a deeper understanding of our shared humanity and strengthen our sense of connectedness.” 

Johnson’s home served as a drop-off point for the crating and shipping of 92 paintings, sculptures and photographs curated from over 850 submissions. The sum-total being a dynamic collection of American’s diverse and complex art scene, including abstract and representational artworks exploring boundary crossing between painting, sculpture and photography.  Her own work will be honored in a separate, “Special Works” exhibit.

John Paul Thornton, an artist that Johnson is thrilled to feature in the show states, “Every aspect of global culture has been bottled up since the 2020 shutdown. Now as parts of the world reopen, there is an urgent desire to communicate and participate.” To Johnson’s delight, Thornton created three large ethnically diverse children’s portraits, especially for the Chiba City Museum show.

Although she regularly embraces the expectations and protocol surrounding large-scale museum installations. and curatorial responsibilities – this year, even Johnson will not have access to the mounting of the display, due to Covid restrictions.     

Global sports enthusiasts historically fuel the stadiums and arenas with energy during Olympic games – but times have changed.  In the name of health and safety, foreign visitors will not be allowed to attend the Tokyo Summer Olympics. In fact, there may not be any visitors at all.  Excepting the athletes who promise to be present. 

Yet in spite of the impact of a lingering pandemic, restrictions will not stop The 20th Japan International Art Exchange Exhibition.  The “Art is “IN” – although visitors to the “Olympics are OUT.”

Artist: Julienne Johnson, “Touched #14, acrylic, plaster, Chinese ink, surgeons gloves, electronic components, cell phones with collage on canvas over birch panel box 56″65″x8” 2018


John Paul Thornton, is an LA based, award winning artist, educator, speaker and author.  Among countless altruistic projects, most notable is that he has honored American families enduring the loss of their missing children with a series of paintings depicting the faces of their children. The hundreds of heart rendering portraits have been viewed in installations including the National Mall at the White House and the Lincoln Memorial Center in Washington D.C. He has received numerous grants and residencies.

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OTHER ARTISTS OF NOTE:  Kristine Amerson, Clara Berta, Dan Callis, Suzanne Dittenber, Petra Eiko, Brooke Harker, Linda Kunik, Mela Marsh, Christopher Mercier, Maidy Morhous, Olympio, Terry LaRue, Carl Shubs


Julienne Johnson is a multi-disciplinary artist/curator whose work includes drawing, painting, sculpture, assemblage and installation. She has been professionally engaged in a variety of other creative disciplines, and was nominated for Grammy and Dove Awards. Her award-winning poetry has been well published.  Painting awards/honors include 6 SOLO exhibitions with 2 SOLO museum shows: National Art Center/Tokyo, 2019; Southern Nevada Museum of Art, 2016. Artworks are in 11 Permanent Museum Collections, including the Arab American National Museum/Michigan. Over 20 museum residencies/museum exhibitions have taken her across the U.S. and around the globe as far as Armenia, Doha, China, Italy, Japan, Thailand. Worldwide teaching/lecturing invitations include Accademia D’Arte Firenze, in Florence.  She will curate a 3rd exhibition of American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Tokyo – April 2022.  Julienne Johnson was born in Michigan and resides in Los Angeles.


3 Chome-10-8 Central, Chuo Ward, Chiba, 260-0013, Japan

Source: Julienne Johnson

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