the art

photographs by tom haar

fishcake's upcoming art show "Japanese Artists in New York - 1971" is opening on Thursday, February 16th, 2017, featuring photographs by Tom Haar.

During the early years of Tom Haar’s residence in New York, from 1968 to 1983, he learned of a large group of Japanese artists. Intrigued by their exciting lifestyle in New York, and having grown up in Japan himself, he decided to capture their creative lives in a photo essay, "Japanese Artists in New York - 1971."

“New York was very stimulating in the early 1970s—in areas gritty and seedy—especially in lower Manhattan, where many of the artists lived. SoHo and the artists’ housing, Westbeth, were still in their infancies.”

It has been forty-six years since Haar worked on this project. Today, many of these artists are still creatively active in New York. One of the photographed artists, Yayoi Kusama, now a well-known artist with international celebrity status, will be highlighted at this year’s Honolulu Biennial, March 8th to May 8th.

This show exhibits a selection from "Japanese Artists in New York - 1971," supplemented by a group of original artwork by a few other artists.

Tom Haar was born in Tokyo in 1941, spending his first eighteen years in Japan before emigrating to Hawaii with his family at the end of 1959.  He attended St. Joseph College in Yokohama and transferred to St. Louis High School in Hawaii to finish high school.

Both of his parents, originally from Hungary, arrived in Japan in 1940 from Paris at the invitation of Kokusai Bunka Shinkoukai (presently the Japan Foundation).  His father, Francis Haar, worked as a freelance photographer, published many books, and also had a portrait studio in Tokyo, while his mother operated “Irene’s Hungaria” restaurant in the Ginza.

Tom enrolled as an art major at the University of Hawaii in 1960, transferring to San Francisco State College in 1962, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1964.  With the Vietnam War in full swing, the U.S. Army was ready to draft him, but he was fortunately able to avoid the draft and volunteer into the U.S. Coast Guard’s Reserve program, only after he received his U.S. citizenship in the spring of 1965.  Following a six-month active reserve training in Oakland, he enrolled as a Visual Design major at the University of Hawaii, where he received an MFA in 1968.

Tom left for New York in the fall of 1968, where worked as a freelance photographer for fifteen years, often traveling to Japan on various projects, including a documentary film “Festival at Mizumi,” completed in 1979.  He taught photography at the Seoul Institute of the Arts for six months and at the University of Tsukuba for two years, before returning to Hawaii in 1987 to begin teaching at Kapiolani Community College. In addition to Hawaii, he has exhibited his work in Hungary, New York, Korea and Japan. His work can also be found in the collection of the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts.

This exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of the Ishibashi Foundation and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i.


"japanese artists in new york - 1971, photographs by tom haar"
opening reception    
thursday, february 16th, 2017
6p-8p @fishcake
307c kamani st, honolulu, HI, 96814
exhibition runs from february 16 to may 13th, 2017
viewing hours are mon-fri 9a - 5p | sat 10a - 4p
for more information, contact or 808.593.1231
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