Japanese Art Experts Discuss New Smithsonian Exhibition in Free Virtual Talk



The Rhode Island Historical Society, as part of Smithsonian Affiliations in collaboration with the National Museum of Asian Art, will present a free virtual talk on Tuesday, May 18 at 7:30pm on the new exhibition Underdogs and Antiheroes: Japanese Prints from the Moskowitz Collection with curators Kit Brooks and Frank Feltens.


This exhibition focuses on the captivating stories and urban legends of individuals living on the fringes of society in early modern Japan.

The exhibition will follow virtuous bandits, tattooed firemen who love to fight, rogues from the kabuki theater, and others. Highlighting the transformative gift of the Pearl and Seymour Moskowitz Collection to the National Museum of Asian Art, Underdogs and Antiheroes features subjects that are not commonly associated with traditional Japanese print culture but that were nevertheless central to the interests of an early modern public.


The exhibition will explore new visual and thematic ground, further strengthening the museum’s trailblazing role in reconsidering presentations of Asian cultures.

Individuals can register for this talk by visiting: https://bit.ly/3M1xWIc 


Brooks holds a PhD in Japanese art history from Harvard University (2017), studying under professors Yukio Lippit and Melissa McCormick.


Specializing in prints and paintings of the Edo and Meiji periods, their primary research interests revolve around the reevaluation of “eccentric” artists of the eighteenth century, as well as the relationship between illustrated books and paintings, and special prints that emulate the visual qualities of other media, such as surimono and takuhanga.



Feltens joined the curatorial staff at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in 2017 as Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art and became associate curator of Japanese art in 2021. He holds a PhD in Japanese art history from Columbia University (2016).


Feltens is a specialist in Japanese art with a focus on the late medieval and early modern periods. Additional interests include Japanese photography and the intersections between painting and ceramics.

About the Rhode Island Historical Society 

The Rhode Island Historical Society, the state’s oldest and only state-wide historical organization, is dedicated to honoring, interpreting, and sharing Rhode Island’s past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st-century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, it is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center, and the Aldrich House. 


The headquarters of the Rhode Island Historical Society are located at 110 Benevolent Street, Providence, RI 02906. Information: (401) 331-8575. Website:



Follow the RIHS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Leave a Reply