John L. Tran

For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

Mar 14, 2017

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

Ballsy art collective Chim↑Pom have taken on Donald Trump’s America in their solo exhibition “The other side.” One of the most well-known contemporary iconoclasts in Japan, Chim↑Pom have previously caught rats before dyeing them yellow and red to resemble Pikachu and installing them on ...

A gently explosive 'Blossom Blast'

Mar 7, 2017

A gently explosive 'Blossom Blast'

Beware the loan word “feminizumu.” If you ask accomplished, educated and gainfully employed Japanese women whether they are feminists, the adverse reaction can be confusing. I first came up against this in a seminar of women art-history students, who unanimously, and vehemently rejected the ...

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

Mar 7, 2017

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

Being only a part-time art historian, but full-time gossip, I spend more time commiserating with my single female friends on the problem of “Why are there no great men?” than I ponder the rhetorical “Why have there been no great women artists?”, as feminist ...

Naoki Ishikawa: the full picture

Jan 31, 2017

Naoki Ishikawa: the full picture

Naoki Ishikawa does not seem to want to take fantastically dramatic photographs. He has travelled from the North to South Pole, climbed “The Seven Summits,” the highest mountains of every continent, and traveled the length of the Japan, but his images are remarkable for ...

Singapore Biennale takes a good hard look in the mirror

Jan 28, 2017

Singapore Biennale takes a good hard look in the mirror

Malaysian artist Azizan Paiman tells me that to lose weight, all I have to do is make sure that the calories I expend are more than the calories I consume. I already know that, but he’s done it, and I haven’t. He also tells ...

Jochen Lempert: The photographic seer

Jan 10, 2017

Jochen Lempert: The photographic seer

Jochen Lempert’s exhibition “Fieldwork” at the Izu Photo Museum has an ageless feel to it. The intentionally low contrast pictures of wildlife and natural phenomena almost look like they could be archive photos unearthed from the mid-19th century. However, they also have the cool ...

Collier reviews the power of observation

Dec 20, 2016

Collier reviews the power of observation

To reframe Picasso’s famously pithy remark “good artists copy, and great artists steal” for the contemporary art scene, appropriation can be used in an artist’s work to borrow authority from history, or to subvert it. The iconoclasm of the latter can be satirical, as ...

Tokyo: photogenic to its very core

Dec 13, 2016

Tokyo: photogenic to its very core

Care to take a guess what the new exhibition “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo” at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is about? In fact there are two exhibitions with the same name running concurrently, so it’s “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo” and “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo.” ...