John L. Tran

For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Singing to quite a different tune

Nov 13, 2014

Singing to quite a different tune

In the sense that “The Sound of Music” is not considered a reliable source for lessons about Nazism or that “My Fair Lady” is a profound analysis of class struggle, musicals do not generally spring to mind when considering the great achievements of French ...

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

Oct 30, 2014

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

“In Yedo, nothing is so common as to hear the citizens lament the times that have only just come to an end.” So ran one editorial of “The Far East,” an English-language periodical published in Japan in the 1870s. A contemporary echo of this ...

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

Oct 23, 2014

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

The secret to a good public relations interview? Switch on the voice recorder and ask questions — that is all you need to know. Except, of course, it’s not. Usually the interviewee has a particular image to maintain and the interviewer is looking for ...

Gronsky's detached fascination

Oct 9, 2014

Gronsky's detached fascination

Alexander Gronsky is slightly surprised at his own success. Standing outside the warehouse building that is hosting a joint reception for several artists, including Thomas Ruff, he chain smokes a couple of cigarettes while we chat about doing photography during a typhoon, and how ...

Nothing goes out of fashion quite like the future

Oct 2, 2014

Nothing goes out of fashion quite like the future

Vincent Fournier’s exhibition at the Diesel Art Gallery shows a love and fascination with technology, but it is not a straightforward adoration. The French photographer combines this with an impish sense of humor and also brings a sociologist’s view to his subjects, which are ...

Between darkness and light

Sep 4, 2014

Between darkness and light

In the days just after the Great East Japan Earthquake, photographers, videographers and the mass media were, quite understandably, not that welcome inside the disaster zone. As time went on and survivors faced the task of dealing with the aftermath, contact with the outside ...

Artist takes a jab at social identity

Aug 28, 2014

Artist takes a jab at social identity

What will it take to save the world? If you visit Maison Hermes Le Forum in Ginza in the next few weeks, artist Tsuneko Taniuchi — in the guise of Ninja Girl, wearing a flower in her hair and with a toy M16 rifle ...

No words can describe Tan's 'Terminology'

Jul 31, 2014

No words can describe Tan's 'Terminology'

"As a visual artist it's very important to reach a point where I'm going beyond words. In interviews I find myself struggling, because we're always talking around (the work), circumscribing it. A question that I hate is 'what does this work mean?'" Fiona Tan

Contemporary art is not lost in space

Jul 18, 2014

Contemporary art is not lost in space

While space art is a relatively small field — in which works that have actually been created in space is an even smaller subset — it can only become more commonplace as costs fall and the private sector promises to open up space travel ...

Kids' stuff that adults need to see

Jun 25, 2014

Kids' stuff that adults need to see

Perhaps in the wake of this attack on seriousness, many artists have since taken refuge in childishness, whimsy or playfulness, though these values have been carefully rationed in "Go-Betweens: The World Seen through Children," with the emphasis being more on showing childhood as a ...