Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art

  • Hardcover / 9 x 10.5 inches
    160 pages / 80 images

  • Co-published with SITE Santa Fe
    and Mead Art Museum

    Irene Hofmann
    Jordan Kantor
    Niko Vicario

  • ISBN: 9781942185321
  • Trade Edition: $55.00
  • Signed Edition: $60.00
  • Limited Edition: $2500.00
  • Limited to 10

    Includes a color aquatint etching
    on 20 x 27-in. Somerset paper,
    plus signed and numbered
    copy of the book.

    Mondrian Meets the Beatles, 2017


The Crime of Art looks at Kota Ezawa’s oeuvre using crime as a topical lens. The book presents photographs and reproductions from Ezawa’s recent exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, and Amherst featuring remakes of paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In addition, the book draws connections from his current project to other work by Ezawa from the early 2000s to the present that contemplate crime. Among them are his animated films The Simpson Verdict (2002) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2005), as well as his ongoing drawing series The History of Photography Remix, which includes hand-drawn recreations of historic crime scene photography.

While focusing on a single subject, The Crime of Art brings attention to some of Ezawa’s key projects from the last fifteen years, and coincides with a solo exhibition of his work at SITE Santa Fe in 2017.


Kota Ezawa often reworks images from popular culture, film and art history, stripping them down to their core elements. His simplified versions remain easily recognizable and potent, the result of a process that illuminates the hold certain images have on their viewers. Working in a range of mediums such as digital animation, slide projections, light boxes, paper cut-outs, collage, print, and wood sculptures, Ezawa maintains a keen awareness of how images shape our experience and memory of events. His work has been displayed in museum solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery’s outdoor exhibition space Offsite (2012), and Hayward Gallery Project Space in London (2007). His work has been included in group exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2013), and Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012). Ezawa’s work has earned numerous awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award. His work is included in renowned permanent collections such as: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; MoMA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, among others. Kota Ezawa lives and works in Oakland.


Irene Hofmann is SITE’s Phillips Director and Chief Curator. She joined SITE in October 2010 after serving as Executive Director and Curator of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore for nearly five years. In addition to her most recent position in Baltimore, she has held positions at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, California; Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

Jordan Kantor is a San Francisco-based artist.

Niko Vicario is Assistant Professor of Art and the History of Art at Amherst College, where he teaches art history of the twentieth and twenty first centuries from a transnational perspective. He holds a BA from Vassar College, MA from Bard College, and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Getty Research Institute and the Mellon Foundation.