The Japan Information and Culture Center is a division of the Japan Embassy, bureaucratically linked but physically separated from its Massachusetts Avenue chancery. Located in the bowels of the Lafayette Centre III, a sleek downtown office complex, the modest-size, glassed-in showroom of the JICC exhibits a wide and disparate variety of "Japaniana," switching every couple of months from contemporary art (e.g., the sculpture of Isamu Noguchi and the furniture of George Nakashima) to traditional artifacts such as Noh theater costumes all of it unified by the fact that it has in some way been influenced by or connected to the culture of Japan. There have been exhibitions of work by Japanese artists, by Americans of Japanese descent, by non-Japanese artists working in Japanese mediums or styles, as well as artistic interpretations of Japan by local D.C. schoolchildren who are studying the country. From time to time the JICC will take a break from the display of fine art to mount a show featuring such elements of Japanese design as calligraphy, book making, stamp printing and textile fabrication. The center's small, adjacent auditorium houses an ongoing series of musical and dance performances, lectures, slide presentations and demonstrations of Japanese art forms, such as sumi-e (black ink painting), kodo (the art of identifying fragrances) and flower arranging. Michael O'Sullivan
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