A new art center, in Kiyosumi

| Nov 17, 2005

A new art center, in Kiyosumi

This week brings some good news and some bad news to Tokyo’s contemporary art scene. The good news is that a group of galleries that have been sharing a building in Shinkawa since January 2003 have relocated en masse, and now all boast significantly ...

The Showa 40 select six

| Nov 3, 2005

The Showa 40 select six

The usual reasons for the formation of artists’ groups are similarities in media, style or philosophy. But the only link for the six members of the “Showa 40″ group, who rank among Japan’s best contemporary artists, is the year of their births, 1965. There ...

A circus on the harbor

Oct 20, 2005

A circus on the harbor

Following on its impressive inauguration in 2001, the second Yokohama International Triennale of Contemporary Art is finally here, albeit a year late, and I have to say it has turned out far better than I had anticipated. There are 86 artists from 30 countries ...

New fairy tales of gloom

| Oct 6, 2005

New fairy tales of gloom

I have been an admirer of Miwa Yanagi since encountering her series “My Grandmothers” at the 2001 Yokohama Triennale. In that body of work the artist displayed extraordinary skill in using makeup and staging to transform a number of young women into images of ...

Becoming Japanese to satisfy the American eye

| Sep 22, 2005

Becoming Japanese to satisfy the American eye

The elegant and enigmatic new exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, “The End of Time,” is a retrospective on four decades of work by Hiroshi Sugimoto. One of Japan’s most internationally acclaimed artists, Sugimoto uses photography to condense events in celebrated time-exposure series such ...

'Palookaville' gets gallery treatment

| Sep 7, 2005

'Palookaville' gets gallery treatment

I was chatting with old friends in Toronto last week, and our conversation came round to the subject of Japanese manga. I made clear my reservations regarding the popularity of pulp manga in Japan, and bemoaned the fact that many manga artists have even ...

The best from a bygone era

| Aug 24, 2005

The best from a bygone era

I was recently tempted to term the handsome old Bridgestone Museum as “the last of a dying breed.” But that hardly seems appropriate any more, considering the Nihonbashi art space’s ongoing evolution. Instead, the Bridgestone might be better described as “a survivor” — and ...

Market dreams of glory

| Aug 10, 2005

Market dreams of glory

Tokyo art collectors were out in force as the first-annual Tokyo Art Fair (TAF) debuted this past weekend (Aug. 6-8) at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho. The fair saw participation from 81 galleries and art-related companies. The demise of Nippon Contemporary Art Fair ...

Funhouse of the avant-garde

| Jul 27, 2005

Funhouse of the avant-garde

Like many people of my generation, I became aware of Laurie Anderson in 1981, when her song “O Superman” was an improbable radio hit. The eight-minute number featured a simple and hypnotic, breathy backing track, over which Anderson half spoke and half sang through ...

Interesting times in China

| Jul 13, 2005

Interesting times in China

Chinese contemporary art made a splash in the late 1990s with the so-called Mao Goes Pop movement, which broke big among Western gallerygoers and collectors. The art was fun, cheap, iconoclastic and readable: With China racing to modernize, who couldn’t appreciate a painting of ...