"The Orient Express" event at the Mississippi Museum of Art - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"The Orient Express" event at the Mississippi Museum of Art

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Mississippi Museum of Art features regular gallaries open for free all the time.

The museum also features special shows and events.

The special event right now is "The Orient Express" with examples of just how much influence Japan has had on western culture.

Some of the art on display now in "The Orient Express" is from Japan.

But most of it isn't.

It's from all over the world, expressing decided influences from Japanese culture.

And this was a pretty quick influence, too.

Because Japan was pretty much closed off to the rest of the world until just a little over 150 years ago.

That's when the pressure to join the global community was put on Japan.

Dan Piersol is the Deputy Director for Programs at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Dan Piersol: So globalization has been happening for a while. And in terms of Japan, it went from being a feudal power in 1854, to becoming a modern power as it is now, one of the great economies of the world, one of the great cultural repositories in the world that has influenced virtually every country in the world. Its cultural reach as been broad. And we've had a great relationship with that country forever.

Walt: Notwithstanding the Second World War. After which we baby boomers got our first introduction to Japan with cheep toys in the dime story stamped. "Made in Japan." And that was pretty much our opinion until we grew older and discovered Nissan and Sony. But in the art world, the orient in general and Japan in particular has been as influential as our Mississippi musicians have been in the music world.

We even have some rarities in the Orient Express at the Mississippi Museum of Art right now.

Dan Piersol: Oh. There's so many it would be hard to pin. Something that would be very scarce, though that you probably won't see again is a still life by Paul Gauguin. Which has not only vegetables and a little pot, a Japanese pot, but there's a Japanese print in the background which tells you he was collecting the things. So that is a real scarcity.

Walt: Walk through and you will recognize that there are things in that you have in your home that have been influenced by Japanese art, and you may have never thought about. The Orient Express will be at the Mississippi Museum of Art until July 17th.

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