John L. Tran

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

The scope of cultural displacement

Jun 27, 2017

The scope of cultural displacement

Mercedes Benz Art Scope is an exchange program that allows Japanese artists to spend time in Germany and German artists to visit Japan. The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art has been hosting the exhibitions of this project since 2005, and in this year’s group ...

Understanding Bruegel's Babel

Jun 20, 2017

Understanding Bruegel's Babel

Tokyoites, that is to say the 13 or so million people who somehow manage to live with the certain knowledge that chaos and confusion will be wrought on the city by a massive earthquake in the not too-distant future, have the opportunity to ponder ...

A Leiter shade of New York

May 30, 2017

A Leiter shade of New York

Mix up Miles Davis, some French post-impressionism, Max Ernst, haiku by Matsuo Basho, experimental scores of Morton Feldman, Cubism, Utamaro shunga (erotic art) and Hokusai ukiyo-e, plus some Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline. Steep for 60-odd years. Saul Leiter’s work is all ...

On the Daoism of 'Dudeism'

May 16, 2017

On the Daoism of 'Dudeism'

As the phrase goes, “s—- happens.” Walead Beshty explores different ways that it may happen, and in doing so, he gently suggests that we consider the implications. His solo show at Rat Hole Gallery exemplifies this. There are two series of works: a selection ...

Kusama and her infinite appeal

Apr 4, 2017

Kusama and her infinite appeal

Yayoi Kusama’s work has a direct and immediate visual impact. Her obsessions with dots, pumpkins and floppy phalluses have become big crowd pleasers after a spotty career of avant-garde agitation and mental-health issues. The auction house Christie’s says she is “now the highest-selling living ...

Then and now: time ripples in photography

Mar 28, 2017

Then and now: time ripples in photography

There are two photography exhibitions currently showing at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum that are thematically and chronologically unrelated, but together make a strong testimony of the extent to which Japan embraced photography from its earliest beginnings, and how the medium is a strong ...

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 ...