About Me

Majella Munro is an expert on modern and contemporary Asian art, whose research focuses on artistic response to military, political and environmental threats. She is interested in art production under totalitarian political regimes, inter- and trans-national exchange within the avant-garde, and the sociological study of erotic art. Her current research focuses on the response of Japanese […]

Majella Munro Japanese Art Environment

Current Research: Close to Nature? Japanese Artists and the Environment, from Hiroshima to Fukushima

I am currently researching a monograph under the title Close to Nature? Japanese Artists and the Environment, from Hiroshima to Fukushima, at Tate’s Asia-Pacific Research Centre. In 1959 Zen scholar DT Suzuki, both an important disseminator of information about Buddhism internationally and a formative influence on modern Japanese national identity, claimed that Asian cultures, and […]

Munro COmmunicating Vessels the SUrrealist Movement in Japan Japanese Surrealism

Communicating Vessels: The Surrealist Movement in Japan, 1923-70

In 2012, my thesis was revised for publication under the title Communicating Vessels: The Surrealist Movement in Japan, 1923-70 (ISBN 978-1909046030). It’s available from all the usual places and direct from enzoarts.com/communicating-vessels. There’s further information on the scope and contents of the book there and below.   From the early subversive poetic experiments of the 1920s avant-garde […]

ChimPom, sculpture after Okamoto Taro

From Urashima to Fukushima: the erotic, political and environmental provocations of Japanese Surrealism

On June 16th, I’ll be presenting on the Japanese Surrealist movement at the Japan Society, London. I will be linking my previous research on Surrealism with my current research on Fukushima, by looking at how Surrealist and Dadaist practices continue to inform the performance, provocation and protest of contemporary artists against nuclear pollution – just […]

Yoko Ono is measured for Hi Red Centre's Disaster Plan, 1964.

Nuclear Reactions: Towards a Critical Artistic Practice in Japan’s Long Postwar

I recently learned my paper Nuclear Reactions has been accepted to the conference Postwar – Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-65 at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, this May. The conference is the starting point for a joint project between Haus der Kunst, Tate Modern, and other international partners which seeks to revise […]

Emergency Surrealism: Ireland as Artistic Utopia During WWII

A small abstract I wrote for my Celtic Identities and International Surrealism project, which hasn’t yet found a home. The commitment of the Parisian Surrealists to revolutionary freedom motivated their sympathy with post-colonial struggles, lending support to and taking inspiration from regions where revolution was in progress, including Morrocco, Algeria, and Martinique. Revolution not temporal, […]


Understanding Shunga: A Guide to Japanese Erotic Art ISBN 978 1 904989 54 7, Erotic Review Books, 2008

  Japanese shunga prints occupy a unique place in the history of art. They form a populist, frank, and aesthetically superlative erotic tradition. Until relatively recently, western moral standards concealed the delights of shunga prints from audiences outside Japan. MASTERCLASS SHUNGA cuts through myth and misunderstanding to present  the  essence  of  this art  form,  removing  the  mystery […]

Koki Tanaka, Precarious Events #0 communal tea drinking.

Can Art History Save the Planet? Association of Art Historians Annual Conference 2014

I recently presented some of my research within the panel Art History and Ecology at 2014 Association of Art Historians annual conference at the Royal College of Art, London. I was very excited to present – this was my first presentation or publication I’ve yet issued from my monograph on Japanese Artists and the Environment so far – and I was interested to […]


Patrick Scott: Image Space Light at IMMA Dublin and VISUAL, Carlow

Last week saw the opening, in two phases and locations, of a major retrospective of the work of Ireland’s foremost modernist artist, Patrick Scott. Intended as a celebration of the senior artist’s achievements, it has inadvertently become a memorial following Scott’s unexpected death between the two openings, on Valentine’s day. On Tuesday at the VISUAL […]

Understanding Shunga: Press Coverage

Desire magazine, December 2008 “A lively and comprehensive introduction to the beautifully erotic art of pre-modern Japan…Fully illustrated throughout, this sumptuous book explores the development and influences of Shunga.” Nacional magazine, November 2008 I was interviewed in the November issue of Nacional. To read the article, click here. (PS the date of birth given in this interview […]