Artistic daring from a retired prime minister

Jun 4, 2010

Artistic daring from a retired prime minister

This story may sound like the ultimate anecdote about “slumming it,” a phenomenon in which the rich and privileged willingly choose to endure conditions much harsher and more squalid than they are used to. About 10 years ago, following his retirement from politics, ex-Prime ...

'King' Solomon mines fresh lease on life

May 21, 2010

'King' Solomon mines fresh lease on life

After a few relatively lean years, the Japan Blues & Soul Carnival has landed a big fish again in the person of Solomon Burke, a soul legend of the 1960s who is currently enjoying an incredible late-career renaissance, while serving as an inspiration to ...

Gary Moore

Apr 16, 2010

Gary Moore

There’s something mean and misshapen about Gary Moore, both physically and musically. With a scarred face (apparently the result of a pint glass rammed in his face at an early age) and a meaty physique that seems too big for his bones, the guitar ...

Biffy Clyro / Trashcan Sinatras

Feb 26, 2010

Biffy Clyro / Trashcan Sinatras

It’s not often that you get two bands from the same small corner of Scotland appearing in Japan at the same time, but that’s what’s happening next week when Ayrshire bands Trashcan Sinatras and Biffy Clyro show up. Nothing but coincidence apparently, and in ...

Modern <em>maki-e</em>

Nov 13, 2008

Modern maki-e

I don’t express otaku culture,” says Tomotaka Yasui at the Megumi Ogita gallery in Ginza, where he is having a solo exhibition of three new works. “Now in foreign countries, all people hear about is otaku culture. I want to introduce other aspects of ...

Westernized subjects for a distinct Japanese style

May 8, 2008

Westernized subjects for a distinct Japanese style

The history of modern Japanese art has a hierarchy of narratives. As in the West, at the top is the story of the avant-garde. This is a tale of trail-blazing artists taking trips to foreign locales, usually Paris, and bringing back radical foreign styles ...

Painting a hazy shade of ego

May 1, 2008

Painting a hazy shade of ego

One of the words most often associated with the art of Kaii Higashiyama is spiritual. But what exactly does this mean? The exhibition “Kaii Higashiyama: A Retrospective ” at the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (MOMAT) — celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth ...

Yet to have peaked?

Apr 24, 2008

Yet to have peaked?

Japanese artists, as they age, often benefit from the “Hokusai Effect.” This is the notion, based on a famous quote from the great ukiyo-e (genre painting) artist, that they only attain real greatness well beyond the normal retirement age for other professions. “Nothing I ...

Feb 21, 2008

"Kiyoshi Nakagami"

Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura Closes March 16 Who hasn’t taken pleasure looking at clouds and imagining shapes and forms in their billowy masses? The late-career paintings of Kiyoshi Nakagami, on display at a career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura (www.moma.pref.kanagawa.jp) ...

A question of intention

Feb 14, 2008

A question of intention

How valid is the distinction between crafts and arts? A number of recent exhibitions, most notably “Roppongi Crossing” at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum and “Space for Your Future” at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Tokyo, have confronted us with this question, one that is ...