The talented women of Kyoto

Jul 16, 2010

The talented women of Kyoto

“Women Artists of Kyoto: Bearing Burdens / Burdens Born” is ostensibly about the classification of female artists since the late 19th century. The term “keishu-gaka” refers to accomplished women artists, “joryu-gaka” to post-World War II artists who created trends among male colleagues and “josei-gaka” ...

Komura Settai finds a new modern audience

Jul 9, 2010

Komura Settai finds a new modern audience

It is often difficult to fathom how an artist so popular in his own time slides into oblivion in subsequent generations. 2010 has been a good year for one such artist, Komura Settai (1887-1940), who in his time was a prolific creator, producing illustrations, ...

China's modern art that grieves for the old

Jun 11, 2010

China's modern art that grieves for the old

The art on display in “From the 11th Chinese National Art Exhibition 2009: Contemporary Fine Art from China” at the Nara Prefectural Museum of Art is of a different species than the headline-grabbing pieces that have propelled Chinese art into a much sought-after commodity ...

Brothers brought together by differences

Jun 4, 2010

Brothers brought together by differences

Takejiro Inagaki was a nihonga (Japanese style) painter who later turned to crafting gold and lacquer wares. These artistic skills were shared by two of his sons, whose bodies of work are the subject of “The Inagaki Brothers: Chusei and Toshijiro” at The National ...

The accessories that fanned the flames of screen painting

May 7, 2010

The accessories that fanned the flames of screen painting

Given the relative dearth of fan-painting exhibitions, it seems a relatively minor art commensurate with its small-scale format. In reality, it was the most abundantly produced kind of painting in Japan for many centuries, giving birth, or at least standing as precursor, to the ...

In the hope that death does not do us part

Apr 30, 2010

In the hope that death does not do us part

In “Do Not go Gentle Into That Good Night,” the 20th-century Welsh poet Dylan Thomas famously defied death with the words, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” In a more conceptual art way, the Japanese-born New York-based Shusaku Arakawa (b.1936) is similarly ...

Taking a name for themselves

Apr 23, 2010

Taking a name for themselves

“What’s in a name? Juliet asks in “Romeo and Juliet.” Half a world away, two close contemporaries of Shakespeare, though painters not writers, could have offered some answers: reputation, privilege, commissions and ultimately value. Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610) laid claim to the artistic lineage of ...

New dimensions in a chain

Feb 26, 2010

New dimensions in a chain

What makes the exhibition in two stages of Yoshio Kitayama’s works at the MEM gallery in Osaka all the more surprising is that they are paintings — not the sculpture/installations for which the artist is conventionally known. In fact, Kitayama’s most recent works were ...

Blooming successes flower in artwork

Jan 29, 2010

Blooming successes flower in artwork

East Asian flower-and-bird painting emerged as a genre in China around the 8th century and the tradition has survived through to the present. Its resonances for modern and contemporary Japanese artists are currently the theme of two very different exhibitions: “By the Water-lily Pond” ...

New art horizons seen from Kansai

Jan 22, 2010

New art horizons seen from Kansai

While the progression of Japanese art within the last decade is being celebrated at the “Garden of Painting” exhibition at The National Museum of Art in Osaka, other galleries in the area, such as the Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto, and the YOD Gallery, Osaka, ...