Family-friendly exhibit focuses on ‘Things that Go Bump in the Night’

Imai Oshin’s “Skeleton,” a Japanese piece from 1920-1930, is among the works featured in the new exhibition, “Things that Go Bump in the Night,” at the Harn Museum of Art. (COURTESY OF THE HARN MUSEUM OF ART)

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

Fear takes on a variety of forms, whether it’s a huddled skeleton or a ghostly apparition.


‘Things that Go Bump in the Night’

What: Japanese works portraying demons, skeletons, ghosts and other nocturnal creatures that explore the anxieties people experience after the sun goes down.
When: Now through March 3, 2013
Where: Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road
Cost: Free
Info: 392-9826,

In honor of Halloween, the new exhibit, “Things that Go Bump in the Night,” features a collection of Japanese artwork focused on potentially scary topics at the Harn Museum of Art. The exhibit runs through March 3, 2013, in the Cofrin Asian Art Wing.

“We are very excited to do a show on scary items, things that give you an adrenaline rush,” says co-curator Laura Nemmers. “It’s universal. You see images of ghosts and demons throughout the world. We’re focusing on Japan, but everyone likes that thrill of being scared.”

The exhibit consists of 17 works by Japanese artists ranging from the 14th century to the 20th century as well as a comic book, “Yojimbo,” on loan from the Special Collections Library.

The focus of the exhibit, which greets visitors as soon as they enter the area, is a small hand-carved skeleton by Imai Oshin. Nemmers said the skeleton is remarkably detailed — even allowing visitors to see the fine bones of the fingers.

“I think the exhibit is a little more edgy than the rest of the museum. You might not be expecting to see a scary skeleton,” she says. “But it’s beautiful in the way it is intricately carved.”

Nemmers says this is the only exhibit she has seen to honor Halloween since she began working at the Harn Museum of Art in 2003.

Inside the family-friendly exhibit, patrons can see kimonos decorated with skulls, spectral images of ghosts, nocturnal creatures and more. Throughout the exhibit, the pictures explore the anxieties people experience when the sun dips below the horizon.

“The wooden skeleton, female ghosts and falling-man painting present dream-like realities where fear brings life to bones, spirits and nightmares,” details the museum’s brochure. “What these works of art all share is a connection to the human tendency to fear things that go bump in the night.”

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top

Find Us on Facebook