In front and behind closed temple doors

Apr 25, 2013

In front and behind closed temple doors

While largely beneath the contemporary-art radar, painting for Japanese temples by the stars of the postwar art world is a relatively common activity, though largely restricted to nihonga.

Idiosyncrasies of the Kano school explored in Kyoto

Apr 11, 2013

Idiosyncrasies of the Kano school explored in Kyoto

Kano Masanobu (1434-1530) founded the Chinese-art influenced painting school that bears his family name and flourished in different forms through to the Meiji Era (1868-1912). A familiar tale is that as it became the dominant hierarchical painting academy of political and military patronage, it ...

Hitoko Urago's 'Connected': blot-tests of portraiture

Mar 7, 2013

Hitoko Urago's 'Connected': blot-tests of portraiture

Hitoko Urago pairs paintings — portraits with abstractions — though each work is not necessarily conceived at the same time. “Untitled (Lynda)” (2012), for example, depicts a profile of a black woman with big hair against a green background. She is paired with a ...

'What We See' is not always what you get

Feb 28, 2013

'What We See' is not always what you get

Rendered as “What We See” in English, the title of this show should perhaps more accurately follow the Japanese one, which would be: “Dream, Reality, Illusion?” “Video” art is now mostly moribund because technology has changed, leaving that form of expression as largely digitized ...

Breathing life into the forgotten and neglected

Feb 14, 2013

Breathing life into the forgotten and neglected

Painter Daisuke Fukunaga (b.1981) states: “If the world is the stage of a theater, I want to paint the bustle of the things waiting behind the blackout curtain rather than the heroine.” His motifs are of things forgotten and neglected, but unlike his earlier ...

Go with the flow from representational to abstract

Feb 14, 2013

Go with the flow from representational to abstract

For five years starting in 2007, Shinpei Kusanagi (b.1973) made monthly serialized paintings to accompany installments of Teru Miyamoto’s novel “Mizu no Katachi” (“The Shape of Water”) in the magazine éclat. Text and image had little to do with one another, though the small, ...

Western influences on Suda's nostalgic East

Jan 3, 2013

Western influences on Suda's nostalgic East

The fusion of East and West is a major theme in 20th-century art, even though, in important ways, the two don’t mix. What seems at one point to be their ostensible unification, appears in another as discordant. Such inconsonance lurks in the background at ...

Tadanori Yokoo unearths a future from personal past

Dec 13, 2012

Tadanori Yokoo unearths a future from personal past

The establishment of a museum in the name of an individual is always, to a degree, a memorializing issue in preparation for the inevitable. The inauguration of the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art in many ways heralds such, and Yokoo’s oeuvre has often ...

The fall and rise of 'The Greek'

Nov 22, 2012

The fall and rise of "The Greek"

For an artist, expatriation can be a kind of death — because for an artist, it can mean estrangement from the contexts and locations that secure a place in the annals of history that tend to emphasize centers over peripheries. El Greco (1541-1614), “The ...