The new Hokusai exhibition at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo is a thorough and fascinating examination of this rightfully famous ukiyo-e master's work. Featuring an astounding 480 prints, spanning the entire 70 years of his career, it's a great overview for Hokusai fans as well as those with more a more casual interest in ukiyo-e, Edo Period (1603-1868) art, or Japanese art more generally.
Do not be misled by the exhibition's title, however. "Hokusai Updated," it is not. Though the exhibit does display newly discovered and rarely shown works, there is not enough context for the viewer to appreciate why these lesser-known works are important, or interesting. Without explanation, the new works do not present a new understanding or appraisal of this incredibly famous artist's body of work.
Though an incredible number of high-quality works have been amassed, there is little explanation of the context or meaning of each piece, in Japanese or English. Prints featuring poetry do not have their words transliterated, translated or summarized. Works referencing tales do not have explanations of the stories, so viewers have no idea what the picture depicts. It is unclear why some works that seem easy to understand have explanations, while others that are genuinely interesting but hard to comprehend, do not.