Memoirs of a Sansei Geisha: Snapshots of Cultural Resistance

Throughout the summer of 2004, San Francisco's visual landscape was blanketed with advertisements for the Asian Art Museum's "Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile" exhibit, images which, in my reading, only seemed to cater to Orientalist fantasy of exoticized Asian mystique.
So I pirated their poster image, turning it into my own in response. On the closing weekend of the "Geisha" show, my friend S. and I plastered Japantown with posters, and then proceeded to plant dozens of flyers in the information booth inside the Asian Art Museum itself. Various sources noted the wide-ranging impact of the small, simple action: in Japantown, inside the museum, on academic discourse, and on public consciousness through the media. The San Francisco Chronicle devoted nearly a full page, giving last word to a U.C. art history professor: "To the extent that museums assert authority to speak for culture, they open themselves up for critique, and they should engage that critique." (>>more . . .)

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