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C.B. Liddell

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

Experience was not the mother of wisdom

May 19, 2015

Experience was not the mother of wisdom

It’s something of a truism that the life of an artist heavily influences his or her work. No exhibition makes this clearer than “Utrillo & Valadon” at the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, which pairs the art of Maurice Utrillo, ...

The Louvre's spin on art history

May 12, 2015

The Louvre's spin on art history

The futuristic-looking National Art Center Tokyo (NACT) seems like a rather unusual venue for an exhibition of mainly 17th- and 18th-century European art sourced from Paris’s famous Louvre Museum. But while the Louvre’s collections are very much rooted in the past, the French institution ...

The Renaissance banked on art

May 5, 2015

The Renaissance banked on art

All exhibitions that deal with the distant past inevitably fall into the trap of anachronism to some degree. This is especially true when they try to present a strong storyline that appeals to modern audiences, as the present exhibition at Bunkamura The Museum does ...

The honeymoon phase of Japan and the West

Apr 14, 2015

The honeymoon phase of Japan and the West

Often, when two cultures meet, it can be very messy and lead to a lot of unpleasantness. The continuing inability of the West and Islam to understand each other suggests itself as a convenient example. This kind of conflict often boils down to a ...

Art's 20th-century identity crisis

Apr 7, 2015

Art's 20th-century identity crisis

The 20th century is rather like the teenager who never grew up — a century that saw itself as perpetually young, as the “modernist” culmination of history rather than part of the historical process. In short, an age guilty of “chronocentricism.” But, like all ...

There's no need to squint at the work of Guercino

Mar 26, 2015

There's no need to squint at the work of Guercino

History has not been kind to Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, the Italian Baroque painter who is better known by his artistic nickname, Guercino — “the Squinter.” Despite being one of the acknowledged greats of European painting during one of its finest periods, in recent times ...

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

Mar 19, 2015

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

There are two theories about post-impressionist art. One is that it was a continuation of the modernist spirit of the impressionists, with the application of ever-more scientific principles of color and light to the depiction of objects. The other is that post-impressionism was a ...

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

Mar 12, 2015

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

Art Fair Tokyo, the city’s premier art showcase, is always a pleasure to experience, and I’m sure this year’s event, to be held March 20-22 at the Tokyo International Forum, will have much to offer. But part of the fun of following Art Fair ...

The flickering of Japan's contemporary art

Mar 5, 2015

The flickering of Japan's contemporary art

Art used to be about what you could see, but now, thanks to a more “conceptual” approach, it is often about what cannot be seen. Except the artist still has to demonstrate in some way what it is that can’t be seen — in ...

Neo-impressionism: color-coded familiarities

Feb 19, 2015

Neo-impressionism: color-coded familiarities

The term “neo-impressionism” suggests a sequel to impressionism and, just like with movie sequels, there is a faint lowering of expectations. But this is entirely the wrong way to approach “Neo-Impressionism: from Light to Color” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some visitors ...