A loving tribute at the Watari-um for a close friend

| Aug 10, 2006

A loving tribute at the Watari-um for a close friend

“Bye-Bye, Nam June Paik,” the current exhibition at the Watari-Um Museum of Contemporary Art, is a loving tribute to an artist who has always been close to that Aoyama art space’s heart. Regarded as the father of video art, Nam June Paik, who was ...

Finally hitting the local

| Jul 27, 2006

Finally hitting the local

It occurred to me recently that in the more than five years I’ve been covering contemporary art for The Japan Times, I’ve never once written about the gallery I visit most frequently — The Konica Minolta Gallery in Shinjuku. There are three galleries on ...

Soaking up the 'male gaze'

| Jul 13, 2006

Soaking up the 'male gaze'

What to make of photographs of blue tarpaulins, mobiles of cigarette butts and bathroom sponges folded to suggest a woman’s derriere? I’m not sure, but I like it. I really don’t think artist Takaaki Izumi means to be abstruse, but his work is certainly ...

An animist explores old themes

| Jul 6, 2006

An animist explores old themes

Over the last few years, the traditional art form of nihonga has emerged as a player on the Japanese contemporary art scene. I can only guess why this is — something connected to nostalgia or nationalism perhaps? Or could it be that growing social ...

Lighting up suburban Tokyo nights

| Jun 22, 2006

Lighting up suburban Tokyo nights

What a concept: Imagine if you could see as clearly and in as much detail at midnight as you can at noon. The desire for night vision is an old one, but frankly the visions provided by new technologies have not impressed me — ...

'100 years of Korean art'

| Jun 8, 2006

'100 years of Korean art'

The Korean National Museum of Contemporary Art sits in a scenic location by the mountains, 30 minutes from downtown Seoul. The sprawling sculpture garden out front is a beautiful place to relax, while the 25,000 sq. meters of space inside make it the largest ...

Incidentally Capturing the city

| May 25, 2006

Incidentally Capturing the city

Berlin is not beautiful like Paris, rich like London, or charming like Amsterdam. Prewar buildings in the German capital are pockmarked by bullet holes, while postwar architecture testifies to the city’s division due to the Cold War — American, British and French sectors were ...

Japan grads go apolitical

| May 11, 2006

Japan grads go apolitical

With its current exhibition, “Index #2 — Life Styles,” Tokyo Wonder Site in Ochanomizu has mounted a worthwhile survey of recent Japanese art-school graduates. Prolific critic Kentaro Ichihara, in association with Kyoto University of Art and Design, selected five Kanto- and five Kansai-region artists ...

A permanent-collection show
that impresses

| Apr 27, 2006

A permanent-collection show that impresses

The modern city envelops modern man so completely that he inhabits it even in his dreams — even in his best dreams. That’s the message weaving through the current exhibition at the Watari-Um Museum of Art in Tokyo’s Aoyama district. “Beautiful Cities in Dreams” ...

Goths, <em>terra</em> and tears

| Apr 13, 2006

Goths, terra and tears

The Complex Building in Roppongi opened with five major contemporary art galleries a couple of years back, around the same time as the nearby Mori Art Museum. It has, however, been somewhat overlooked as new and larger spaces have debuted out east in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa. ...