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 ...

How art deco stripped nudity of eroticism

Feb 12, 2015

How art deco stripped nudity of eroticism

When the Teien Museum of Art reopened late last year, after a period of refurbishment and expansion, the exhibition held was no real test for either the main building or the newly added annex. The art of Rei Naito was so minimalist that it ...

Paris' melancholic life of the party

Feb 5, 2015

Paris' melancholic life of the party

The painter Jules Pascin was the epitome of the cosmopolitan, bohemian artist who came to define Paris of the 1920s. The latest exhibition at the Panasonic Shiodome Museum looks at the life and art of this painter, who was an important feature of the ...

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 ...