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Masami Teraoka

Oiran and Mirror, from the AIDS Series
1988
watercolor
15 x 22 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Eugene Vail, Martha Loomis, Mrs. Rhinelander Stewart and Mrs. E. N. Vanderpoel

In 1986 Teraoka met an old friend who had become infected with AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion and who had a newborn baby. Teraoka sought to draw attention to the social issues raised by this modern plague. By imitating the traditional style of Ukiyo-e, the "floating world" of nineteenth-century Japanese painting and woodblock prints, he transformed the anxiety of contemporary life into a kind of Kabuki theater.