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C.B. Liddell

For C.B. Liddell's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Art on the brink of fragmentation

Apr 9, 2014

Art on the brink of fragmentation

You can’t go wrong by calling a show “Fragments,” as the curators of this year’s “MOT Annual” exhibition have done. With a name like that, whatever bits and pieces visitors encounter at the annual group show of Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, they can’t ...

Mar 26, 2014

On light, wind — and good sake

Tokyo Station Gallery is one of the more interesting art venues in the city. Occupying part of the renovated Tokyo Station Building, it combines daring modern design with the building’s early 20th-century, red-brick charm. This also makes it a rather suitable venue for “Hakubakai ...

Exhausting the sense of the beautiful

Feb 27, 2014

Exhausting the sense of the beautiful

The Aesthetic Movement, a loosely defined tendency in 19th-century European art, operated under the slogan of "art of art's sake" and believed beauty was the end, not the means.

The Pre-Raphaelites: Britain’s Romantic rule breakers

Feb 12, 2014

The Pre-Raphaelites: Britain’s Romantic rule breakers

Some paintings will always be identified with the place where you first saw them. You may even feel surprised to see them somewhere else. This is how I felt when I visited the Mori Arts Center Gallery, one of Tokyo’s high-rise art venues, to ...

The extent of Puvis de Chavannes' stately influence

Jan 15, 2014

The extent of Puvis de Chavannes' stately influence

When you enter "Arcadia by the Shore" it is not difficult to get a sense of why Puvis de Chavannes was so successful in his own day, and why his reputation later slipped far behind those of other painters then considered his inferiors.

Shimomura Kanzan kept <em>nihonga</em> clean and cool

Jan 8, 2014

Shimomura Kanzan kept nihonga clean and cool

Art can sometimes play a balancing or compensatory role in society, giving voice to neglected or superseded aspects of a culture. For example, the neo-feudalist ethos of Pre-Raphaelitism and the pastoralism of Impressionism developed against a backdrop of increasing urbanization and materialism. This can ...

Best of the West tops this year's major shows

Dec 25, 2013

Best of the West tops this year's major shows

Japan occupies an odd niche in the art world. Its own indigenous artistic traditions are balanced against an almost fanboy fascination with certain aspects of the canon of Western art, while there is an often half-hearted attempt to stay plugged into the global contemporary ...