John L. Tran

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

Gabriel Orozco's connections with Japan

Feb 26, 2015

Gabriel Orozco's connections with Japan

The photographer and I have been waiting for about half an hour to interview Gabriel Orozco. It’s a little disappointing, but that’s OK. Orozco has famously made disappointment part of his creative practice. While waiting we chat about how much we have been impressed ...

The peak that can move mountains

Feb 19, 2015

The peak that can move mountains

The current show, ‘Fuji Paradigms: Visions of Mt. Fuji,’ at the Izu Photo Museum is in two parts. One is an amalgamation of images in varied formats that depict Mount Fuji as a national symbol, and the other is a tightly focused collection that ...

Tange's indispensable contacts

Feb 12, 2015

Tange's indispensable contacts

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel in the Shinjuku Park Tower — I haven’t, but I know someone who has — you’ll know how looking down from the 52nd floor on the silent city from the ...

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

Feb 5, 2015

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

When Koichi Watari, the director of the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art contacted Yoshitomo Nara to organize a solo exhibition of his work, the artist was traveling around Hokkaido and Sakhalin with photographer and hard-core explorer Naoki Ishikawa. Nara suggested to Watari that they ...

Hiroshi Sugimoto: On the Beach

Jan 24, 2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto: On the Beach

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography is mesmerizing partly because of its other-worldly perfection — his black-and-white prints are flawless. On its own, however, this isn’t enough to justify the significance of his work in the contemporary art scene. His deadpan images of animal dioramas, waxwork figures ...

Keeping up with the shifting world

Jan 8, 2015

Keeping up with the shifting world

Designers can be an ambitious bunch, hoping to lead us all into a better, color-coordinated, minimalist future. “The Fab Mind” aims to show off attempts “to understand and to resolve social issues through design’,” based upon the earth-shattering notions that the world is in ...

The man who turned his modernist home into an art museum

Dec 18, 2014

The man who turned his modernist home into an art museum

It’s not all roses being the director of an independent art museum, but for Toshio Hara, the human interaction of the art world is still a more attractive prospect than that of being a businessman. In 1979 he turned the family seat — a ...

Still photography that will always remain moving

Dec 11, 2014

Still photography that will always remain moving

In the late 1950s, after having studied law and while pursuing a masters degree in art history, Ikko Narahara took two series of images that depicted groups of people at the extreme edges of society. One was of a woman’s prison in Wakayama Prefecture ...

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 ...