Ray Yoshida at The Kohler Arts Center


Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, organized a bus trip to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to visit the Kohler Arts Center. Kohler’s current exhibit is called Yoshida’s Museum of Extraordinary Values. Here is a short bio about Chicago artist, Ray Yoshida:

Ray Yoshida (1930–2009) taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for nearly four decades and had an indelible influence on generations of artists, including the Chicago Imagists. With his guidance, students learned to look beyond the confines of Western art, to explore source material that would propel their work into something unique to their experience. Whether it involved examining form in the array of African masks at The Field Museum, contemplating color in the weird and wonderful treasures at Maxwell Street Market, or understanding line in the works of self-taught artist Joseph Yoakum, Yoshida’s idea was to instinctively follow the eye to whatever ignited artistic sensibilities.

Yoshida was an obsessive collector of many, many things. His entire collection was on display in his home – lining shelves, on the walls, on the floor. Yoshida considered Chicago to be a city of objects and images, all of which triggered creative ideas. He encouraged his students to look and value objects and works of art in a new way, even if they were not appreciated by the art community. He removed folk art, manufactured goods, fine art and tribal pieces from their usual context and placed them on display in his home. “Once “rescued” into his home, the previous lives of the objects dissipated, new interpretations arose, and exciting conversations ensued.”

When Yoshida died in 2009, the Kohler Arts Center received the contents of his home – 2,600 objects and works of art. They are displayed in the museum as they were in his home. Over 60 of Yoshida’s own paintings are incorporated into the exhibit.  It challenges visitors to study their daily surroundings, be “voracious observers”, and train the eye to see everything. That is what sparks creativity.

Here is some of Yoshida’s own artwork: