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 ...

Find time in the 'Forests of Asoka'

Oct 1, 2010

Find time in the 'Forests of Asoka'

Like many people, I have an instinctive suspicion of conceptual art, regarding its practitioners in the same league as politicians, lawyers and snake oil salesmen; namely, hot-air artists who rely too much on words to win us over to their dubious concepts. Art should ...

Show undermined by a surfeit of masters

Sep 17, 2010

Show undermined by a surfeit of masters

Save us from the well-rounded exhibition! For museum visitors in Japan, this is a constant danger; something I was reminded of again by the Setagaya Art Museum’s latest show: “Masterpieces from the Collection of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur.” Like other multi-faceted exhibitions that endeavor to ...

In the absence of information comes greater imagination

Aug 27, 2010

In the absence of information comes greater imagination

The 1990s saw the rise of what at the time seemed an important generation of Japanese female photographers. This included Junko Takahashi, HIROMIX, Rika Noguchi, Mika Ninagawa and Tomoko Sawada. While much of this new wave — most notably the narcissistic soft-porn of HIROMIX ...

Who deserves to sit alongside Chagall?

Jul 30, 2010

Who deserves to sit alongside Chagall?

There are many ways to view the lush, colorful, dreamlike and apparently naive art of Marc Chagall, one of the undoubted greats of 20th-century painting. “Marc Chagall and the Russian Avant-garde, from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou” at The University Art Museum, Tokyo ...