Michi Itami is a visual artist known for her printmaking, ceramics, paintings and digital art. Her work is held in numerous prominent collections and has been exhibited around the world. Michi was Professor Emerita at City University of New York, where she taught for over twenty years. Previously she taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and California State University, Hayward. Among the honors that she has received are a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Woman's Caucus on Art and a Distinguished Alumna award from the University of California, Berkeley. Michi’s work is held in major museum collections including The Brooklyn Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Legion of Honor Museum (San Francisco) and the National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto, Japan). Other public collections featuring her work include the Library of Congress, Estée Lauder Foundation and the State of Hawaii, as well as several university art museums. She has sold many works to private collectors, including through her long-time association with A.I.R. Gallery in New York.
As a child, Michi was sent with her mother to Manzanar, an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. Her father, David Akira Itami, served as the chief translator for the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. Caught between two cultures, he committed suicide while the family was living in Japan as part of the Allied occupation. These experiences inspired some of Michi’s most powerful work, including an intense series that combines Michi’s prints and family photographs.
Michi received a BA in English literature from UCLA in 1959. She subsequently undertook graduate work in Japanese and English literature at Columbia University, where she studied with the acclaimed scholar Donald Keene. Michi later earned an MA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1971.
Michi has been a frequent recipient of grants and fellowships from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts.
She is also a member of numerous professional societies, serving as director or trustee for organizations including New York Foundation for the Arts, the College Art Association, and Art in General. Her other affiliations include the Women’s Caucus for Art, the Asian American Arts Alliance, and the Asian American Arts Center. She was also a member of Godzilla, an Asian American arts advocacy group.
Michi has been profiled frequently in the media, most recently in The East Hampton Star
(“Michi Itami and the Irony of Being American” by Mark Segal, February 4, 2021).
For her complete resume, including a list of publications and profiles, please click: