Yasumasa Morimura (森村 泰昌, Morimura Yasumasa, born June 11, 1951) is a Japanese appropriation artist. He was born in Osaka and graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts in 1978. Since 1985, Morimura has primarily shown his work in international solo exhibitions, although he has been involved in various group exhibitions.
Morimura borrows images from historical artists (ranging from Édouard Manet to Rembrandt to Cindy Sherman), and inserts his own face and body into them. He even disguises himself as the principal subjects that appear in the artworks he appropriated; Many of which goes against his racial, ethnic, and gender boundaries as an Asian male because most of the artworks he appropriates have Western subjects, particularly female subjects. He also inserted himself into some of the Western male subjects, and the majority of those works mostly deal with race and ethnicity. Through the use of disguises, he overturns the effects of the male gaze, gender, race, ethnicity, and cultural standards, challenging the traditional methods of portraiture that he alters the original Western artworks by incorporating details related to Japanese culture. For example, in one of his works, Portrait (Futago), he changes the floral shawl from the original artwork, Olympia by Manet, with a kimono decorated with cranes. Because traditional portraits were mostly Western dominated, Morimura's combination of crossing multiple boundaries at a marginalized position became a major focus through his performance of photographic works.
Among others, his exhibitions have been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1992), the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jouy-en-Josas, France (1993), the Hara Art Museum in Tokyo (1994), the Guggenheim Museum (1994), the Yokohama Museum of Art in Yokohama, Japan (1996), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2006), and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2007).
He has also created a series of hybrid self-portraits modeled after the art of Frida Kahlo.
He was nominated for the Hugo Boss Prize in 1996. The Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) are among the public collections holding work by Morimura.
Among other galleries, he is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York City.