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C.B. Liddell

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

Guiding the landscape of abstract painting

| Jan 29, 2015

Guiding the landscape of abstract painting

As the name suggests, the main concept behind the “Quintet” series of exhibitions that the Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art started running last year is to bring together five artists whose art harmonizes well, just like a musical quintet. Another goal, according to ...

Jiro Oyamada's dark side exposes his highlights

Jan 22, 2015

Jiro Oyamada's dark side exposes his highlights

When it comes to selecting “tortured artists” — those driven to create from the deep wells of their souls by immense suffering — the 20th-century Japanese painter Jiro Oyamada must seem like a shoo-in. The Fuchu Art Museum, in the western suburbs of Tokyo, ...

There's method in artistic 'madness'

Jan 8, 2015

There's method in artistic 'madness'

Jiro Takamatsu is not easy to understand. He was an idiosyncratic avant-garde artist who worked with a variety of materials to create arcane art that expressed philosophical ideas. This is immediately off-putting to some and intriguing to others. However, the exhibition “Takamatsu Jiro: Mysteries” ...

From tradition to trash: Tokyo's art in 2014

Dec 25, 2014

From tradition to trash: Tokyo's art in 2014

This year has been a memorable one for art exhibitions at museums in Tokyo, with a surprisingly diverse array of shows and events, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, metropolitan and provincial. As usual, a pivotal point early in the calendar was provided by ...

Sculpting the uncanny space between permanence and evanescence

Dec 18, 2014

Sculpting the uncanny space between permanence and evanescence

Sculpture is supposedly the most solid and permanent of the creative arts, so it is a paradox that an artist like Junichi Mori — whose work often focuses on impermanence and evanescence — has chosen to work in this style, using materials like marble ...

Taking flight with Arata Isozaki

Dec 11, 2014

Taking flight with Arata Isozaki

I once almost got to interview the architect Arata Isozaki, but it was canceled due to his ill health at the time. No doubt a consideration in the cancelation was the fact that interviews with him can go to extreme lengths, as Isozaki has ...

The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

Dec 4, 2014

The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico is not unlike a rock star in terms of his career trajectory. His greatest and most seminal work was done when he was young — between the ages of 23 and 32 — after which he lost much of his “edge,” ...

A modern annex for an old favorite

Nov 28, 2014

A modern annex for an old favorite

I always feel a little inadequate arriving at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, shambling up its gravel drive in my slovenly journalist garb and running one hand over my face to check if I’ve shaved that day. It’s such an elegant venue that ...

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

Nov 27, 2014

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

With Japan and Switzerland celebrating the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations, there have been a few Swiss-themed events in town, such as the exhibition “Masterpieces from the Kunsthaus Zurich” at the National Art Center, Tokyo, reviewed earlier this month. That exhibition contained some paintings ...

Treasures worth standing in line for

Nov 20, 2014

Treasures worth standing in line for

There is a fundamental problem with the Tokyo National Museum (TNM), which I come up against time and time again. In a nutshell, the venue is too big for its exhibits and too small for its audience. This is underlined yet again by the ...