The 'Great Wave' that reached the West

May 28, 2014

The 'Great Wave' that reached the West

Ukiyo-e prints could be found in Europe from at least 1795 at the Cabinet des Estampes at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. It was not until the 1850s, however, when trade between Japan and Europe began to flourish, that the craze for things ...

Apr 23, 2014

Best to approach Gursky's photos with a painterly eye

The invention of photography was supposed to bring about the death of painting. What actually happened, however, was that photography became a parasite, feeding off painting. It is enriched by it, bolstered and buoyed by its conventions — such as the use of landscape ...

'The refusal of time' is worth every minute

Feb 19, 2014

'The refusal of time' is worth every minute

The former Rissei Elementary School site, nowadays an occasional cultural events center, was earlier home to the Kyoto Dento, the electric company whose technology helped industrialist Katsutaro Inabata to demonstrate the Lumière Brothers’ cinématographe camera in 1897 — Japan’s first experience with film. Significant ...

Can nature solve humankind's errors?

Feb 5, 2014

Can nature solve humankind's errors?

Masato Kodama's sculptures are concerned with light, gravity and air. For him, light is a symbol of tomorrow and potential futures, gravity represents the present and the past, and air is associated with memory.

The influences on and of Tetsumi Kudo

Dec 25, 2013

The influences on and of Tetsumi Kudo

“Collection 3 — Works Related to Your Portrait: A Tetsumi Kudo Retrospective: From Anti-art of the 1960s to Art of the Present Day” is a contextual exhibition accompanying the superb “Tetsumi Kudo Retrospective” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka. It brings together foreign ...

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

Dec 11, 2013

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

Satoshi Someya has produced a cerebrally engaging and visually alluring exhibition. His “Digesting Decoration” positions him among the most significant contemporary lacquer artists working today. The primary concern is with “use,” as in the particularly utilitarian function of craft, as opposed to the ostensible ...

Trapped by human society

Dec 4, 2013

Trapped by human society

Osaka-born Tetsumi Kudo’s oeuvre has been the subject of a number of major international retrospectives since his death in 1990, and these indicate the artist’s increasing postwar historical significance. The current National Museum of Art, Osaka retrospective is magisterial. With more than 600 pages, ...

The Imperial Household of tradition

Nov 27, 2013

The Imperial Household of tradition

The catalog for The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto’s exhibition, “Treasures of the Imperial Collection: The Quintessence of Modern Japanese Art,” tells us that this “sublime collection of resplendent masterpieces shines brilliantly in the history of modern Japanese art.” The collection, represented here ...