Dec 3, 2010

The Chick Corea Trio

Is it possible to be creative by only emphasizing the positives? Jazz legend and keyboard tinkler extraordinaire Chick Corea certainly thinks so as he prepares for what has effectively become an annual visit to Japan with a number of shows lined up at Tokyo’s ...

Loosening ties to the kitchen sink

Nov 26, 2010

Loosening ties to the kitchen sink

One of the reasons the Germans lost WWII, it has been argued, was because they failed to mobilize their female labor force to the same degree as their enemies. This had much to do with a “Kinder, Kuche, Kirche” (children, kitchen, church) mentality that ...

Van Gogh: Sanity behind madness

Nov 19, 2010

Van Gogh: Sanity behind madness

In recent years there has been a sea change in the official cult surrounding the Post-Impressionist Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). For the masses he is still the archetypal “crazy artist”: razor blade in one hand, severed ear in the other, and a ...

Architect's floating future vision

Nov 5, 2010

Architect's floating future vision

The inexorable rise of Tokyo Sky Tree on the city’s skyline has once again raised the question of what a future Tokyo might look like. The exhibition “Sousuke Fujimoto Architects: Future Visions — Forest, Cloud, Mountain” at the Watarium Museum attempts to get people ...

The depths of traditional Japanese painting

Oct 29, 2010

The depths of traditional Japanese painting

While China’s long-running contribution to Japanese art is usually acknowledged, it is often assumed that Western models only started to have a significant impact in the Meiji period. Part of the reason for this is the sharp reaction to Western artistic influence that occurred ...

'Saburo Miyamoto: 1940-1945'

| Oct 22, 2010

'Saburo Miyamoto: 1940-1945'

Setagaya Art Museum Closes Nov. 28 One of the most astounding and, indeed, slightly unnerving pictures in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo is Saburo Miyamoto’s “The Meeting of General Yamashita and General Percival” (1942). In a masterly, realist Western style, ...

Harue Koga: The art of assimilating Western styles

Oct 8, 2010

Harue Koga: The art of assimilating Western styles

The curse of early Western-style Japanese painters is the charge of derivativeness. Simply because they embraced foreign artistic idioms rather than their own indigenous artistic traditions, it is easy to dismiss them as mere copyists, “regurgitating” whatever it was they saw in the latest ...

'Here Comes the Tengu'

| Oct 8, 2010

'Here Comes the Tengu'

Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History Closes Oct. 31 Maybe it’s because of the big nose and the red face — like some grotesque characterization of my fellow Europeans and me — or it might just be the aura of a potent figure existing ...

Delorean

Oct 1, 2010

Delorean

The Argentinian writer and Nobel laureate Jorge Luis Borges once described the Basques as “a people who throughout history have done little else than milk cows.” Although this dismissive comment was from a character narrating a tale rather than the author’s own, it could ...