Issei Suda: everything but square

Nov 6, 2013

Issei Suda: everything but square

Baring its teeth and twisting awkwardly as it struggles against a rope around its neck, the distressed goat in Issei Suda’s 1976 photo appears slightly demonic. Its white fur glows uncannily against a mass of dark branches, while its mud-streaked horns and hooves make ...

The poster nation of unusual graphic design

Sep 4, 2013

The poster nation of unusual graphic design

Art often thrives as it wriggles out from under a big heavy rock. This can be said about creativity in Czechoslovakia from the 1960s to ’80s. As the nation broke free of Stalinism, careered toward the Prague Spring and then finally celebrated the end ...

Darren Johnston: dance's accidental controversialist

Aug 19, 2013

Darren Johnston: dance's accidental controversialist

In 2003, prominent arts writer Allen Robertson wrote in The Times: “If there was a Turner Prize for dance, Darren Johnston would undoubtedly be on the shortlist.” Robertson was referring to the creator of “Silicon Sensorium,” which played to packed audiences at the Purcell ...

Big works buoyed by Dojima River's 'Little Water'

Jul 31, 2013

Big works buoyed by Dojima River's 'Little Water'

Standing in front of the largest work at the Dojima River Biennale, currently showing at the Dojima River Forum in Fukushima, Osaka, is a mesmerizing experience. A 10-meter-tall digital projection of an ethereal cascading waterfall, it glows mysteriously as its gentle rumbling permeates the ...

Architecture and art of a Setouchi summer

Jul 29, 2013

Architecture and art of a Setouchi summer

In 1988, Soichiro Fukutake, then president and representative director of Fukutake Publishing (now Benesse Corporation), approached architect Tadao Ando and told him that he wanted to create a "utopia" in Japan.

Good, clean fun at Ito tub race

Jul 4, 2013

Good, clean fun at Ito tub race

The seaside town of Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, is well known for its dark, sandy beaches, hot springs, giant koi carp and spectacular summer fireworks displays. But it also holds one of the strangest and silliest traditions in the region — the Tarai-nori Kyoso, otherwise ...

What provoked Japan's contemporary photography?

Jun 27, 2013

What provoked Japan's contemporary photography?

In 1968, as the world reeled from The Prague Spring, the turbulent union and student strikes in France, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Japan, like so many other nations, found itself in the midst of social unrest. Citizens questioned ...

Smuggling art into fashion

Apr 18, 2013

Smuggling art into fashion

In 1943, in the midst of World War II, a U.S. Army propaganda drop over Berlin distributed leaflets bearing gruesome images of Adolf Hitler’s face partially obscured by a calf’s skull. Those who dared to pick one up would never have guessed that the ...

Edward Steichen's great American Dream

Mar 7, 2013

Edward Steichen's great American Dream

“I don’t think that many people in Japan know who Edward Steichen is,” says curator Miki Tsukada in a surprisingly honest comment about visitors to the Setagaya Art Museum’s current exhibition.

The future of fabrics woven with the past

Feb 21, 2013

The future of fabrics woven with the past

The textile work of Junichi Arai is renowned for its complexity and innovation. Often three-dimensional in nature, his fabrics appear as undulating landscapes of puckering, crumpling, puffs, pleats and protruding felted yarns. Many of them glimmer with metallic or translucent sheens, some seem understated ...