Art born from  the disingenuous

May 30, 2013

Art born from the disingenuous

The most radical force in art is not, as most people assume, genius, inspiration or sheer talent, it is instead a lack of technical ability. Combined with a strong desire to be an artist, this can prove to be a powerful driver of change ...

Sometimes it's hard for Leonardo to impress

May 23, 2013

Sometimes it's hard for Leonardo to impress

The reputation of Leonardo da Vinci is like an inverted pyramid — a massive, impressive structure that can draw a vast audience, but stands on an extremely narrow base. Although regarded as one of the “Big Three” artists of the Renaissance — along with ...

The humor of candid camera

May 23, 2013

The humor of candid camera

With the advent of the digital camera, mobile phones and social networking, the world is now drowning in photographic imagery. This raises the question: Can photography survive as an art form in a world where it is ubiquitous? The exhibition of work by Kayo ...

The disconcerting unity of Raphael

May 2, 2013

The disconcerting unity of Raphael

Harmony can sometimes have a disconcerting side. This is one insight to emerge from the Raphael exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art, the centerpiece of which is one of the artist’s acknowledged great works, the “Madonna del Granduca” (c. 1505). In his ...

Rubens' best work is collaborative

Apr 4, 2013

Rubens' best work is collaborative

The 17th-century Flemish baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens is a great historical painter, not because of the scenes from ancient Roman history that he sometimes painted, but because, when we encounter his works, we find ourselves trying to understand what kind of society could ...

Francis Bacon: The restlessness of human existence

Mar 28, 2013

Francis Bacon: The restlessness of human existence

In the 1989 Tim Burton film “Batman,” there is a famous scene where the Joker and his gang break into an art museum and vandalize masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer. But, just as one of his henchmen is about to ...

The diverse works of Asian women artists

Mar 14, 2013

The diverse works of Asian women artists

I don’t normally visit exhibitions in company, but this time I made an exception and press-ganged a female acquaintance to join me. The reason for this was that the show I visited, “Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012″ at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of ...

Such sweet strokes of the Impressionists

Mar 7, 2013

Such sweet strokes of the Impressionists

A horde of Renoirs and other works from the high-water mark of Impressionism have descended on Tokyo — rampaging in their quiet, colorful way through the labyrinthine exhibition spaces of Tokyo’s Mitsubishi Ichigokan. “Great French Paintings from the Clark” mainly presents a riot of ...

Paul Delvaux's stuff of dreams

Feb 21, 2013

Paul Delvaux's stuff of dreams

Once you see the paintings of Paul Delvaux you are unlikely to forget them. The dreamlike mood and quaint atmosphere is unique and hypnotic. But where does the mysterious power of his art come from? The exhibition “Paul Delvaux: Dream Odyssey” at the Museum ...

Driven to shoot on the frontlines

Feb 14, 2013

Driven to shoot on the frontlines

The camera never lies — or does it? The double-barreled exhibition now on at the Yokohama Museum of Art suggests that it doesn’t always tell the truth either. “Two Photographers: Robert Capa Centennial/ Gerda Taro Retrospective” is a time-traveling trip back to the middle ...