Into psychic free-fall

Apr 16, 2003

Into psychic free-fall

We’re so used to Tokyo’s cramped streets that the endless parallel perspectives offered by the spacious grid of roads in central Ginza can make the head spin. And recently, they’ve become more dizzying still. Hanging from every lamppost along Chuo-dori is an eye-catching image: ...

Fusion dancer's grace and flavor

Apr 4, 2003

Fusion dancer's grace and flavor

When you think of Australian cuisine do you first think “oxymoron,” imagining barbecued kangaroo steak washed down with a swill of Foster’s lager? Well, if you’re still stuck with the Down Under stereotype, there’s few better than Cheong Liew to correct your preconceptions. From ...

A struggle against tyranny

Mar 16, 2003

A struggle against tyranny

Composed more than 2,000 years ago and first devised for performance in religious festivals, the dramas of Ancient Greece have never lost their powerful relevance. When, for example, a pair of New York-based actresses hit on the idea of a global theatrical protest against ...

The picture of innocence?

Feb 23, 2003

The picture of innocence?

Sex, nudity and violence — there’s a lot of it happening in Kobe. Bare-breasted women lie around drunkenly; a naked, handcuffed beauty struggles against her restraints; and a peeping Tom masturbates while peering from behind a curtain. No, the port city hasn’t become a ...

Welcome to the terrordome

Feb 19, 2003

Welcome to the terrordome

“Terror” is much on our minds these days. Whether we believe that terrorist activity has made the world a more dangerous place to live, or condemn the “war on terror” as a mere cover for U.S. President George W. Bush’s political ambition, the concept ...

A new home for world-class art

Feb 19, 2003

A new home for world-class art

With the opening of “The Romantic Tradition in British Painting, 1800-1950,” The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art seems set to take its place as an art institution of international standing. Opened just 10 months ago, the Hyogo museum’s 27,500 sq. meters of exhibition space ...

Artists in search of absolute painting

Feb 5, 2003

Artists in search of absolute painting

“We call together all young people and — as young people who bear the future — we want to acquire freedom for our hands and lives, against the well-established older forces. Everyone belongs to us who renders in an unfalsified way everything that compels ...

'Mongrel' seeker after new self-understandings

Dec 1, 2002

'Mongrel' seeker after new self-understandings

“One day, people will realize they are a mongrel people with a mongrel history.” The man sitting opposite me isn’t a rightwing politician, a racial purist or a eugenicist. He’s Caryl Phillips — and he believes that “mongrelization” is the best thing that can ...

Painter and powerbroker to the shoguns

Nov 20, 2002

Painter and powerbroker to the shoguns

Throughout history, powerful regimes have used art to reinforce their control and shore up their claims to legitimacy. Two current exhibitions (reviewed in The Japan Times, Oct. 30) trace the relationship between artists and rulers in Europe — one spotlighting the Versailles court of ...

The garden of Escher delights

Nov 13, 2002

The garden of Escher delights

“Mathematicians,” wrote M.C. Escher in a 1958 essay, “have opened the gate leading to an extensive domain, but they have not entered this domain themselves. By their very nature they are more interested in the way in which the gate is opened than in ...