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The Edo samurai knew how to look sharp

by Yoko Haruhara

‘The World of Edo Dandyism: From Swords to Inro” at the Nezu Museum is a splendid collection of Edo Period (1603-1868) swords and sword accessories that includes blades, scabbards and metal fittings, as well as decorative sets of inrō (pill boxes) and netsuke (carved toggles). The exhibition looks back to ...

Don't take everyday objects at face value

Jun 30, 2015

Don't take everyday objects at face value

by John L. Tran

Atsushi Okubo’s graduation work is an experiment with Rubik’s Cubes and abstraction. The result is graphic, colorful and pleasing to the eye. By zooming the lens of his camera while the shutter is open, Okubo creates latticed images that seem to plunge away from ...

Anish Kapoor's Versailles sculpture is vandalized

Jun 19, 2015

Anish Kapoor's Versailles sculpture is vandalized

Vandals have sprayed yellow paint on a controversial sculpture on display in the gardens of France’s famed Palace of Versailles that has become known as the “queen’s vagina.” “Damage to the work ‘Dirty Corner’ was discovered Wednesday morning. It was lightly sprayed with paint. ...

Nissan award echoes a maturing art world

Jun 16, 2015

Nissan award echoes a maturing art world

by Cameron Allan Mckean

The biennial Nissan Art Award isn’t new now, and it wasn’t really new when it began in 2013, either — something Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn is fully aware of. “I don’t think it’s a unique approach from our side,” he tells me, ...

Just one collector can make all the difference

Jun 16, 2015

Just one collector can make all the difference

by Sachiko Tamashige

When Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery opened “Takahashi Collection: Mirror Neuron,” it was packed with people keen to see Ryutaro Takahashi’s selection of 140 contemporary artworks by 52 artists. It’s only the second major showing of pieces owned by Takahashi, a psychiatrist and one ...

What lurks behind masks of mankind

Jun 9, 2015

What lurks behind masks of mankind

by Mark Thompson

“Masks: Beauty of the Spirits” comes from the Musee du Quai Branly, an institution that former President Jacque Chirac spearheaded toward the end of his long reign. Opened in 2006 to both fanfare and controversy, the Paris museum’s stated mission is to celebrate the ...

The ornate history of embroidery

Jun 9, 2015

The ornate history of embroidery

by Matthew Larking

“Transcendent Artful Embroidery II” at the Kobe Fashion Museum is a cross-cultural look at the perfections of needle craft across several centuries. It gets underway with a section on garments of Indian nobles and Chinese court dresses of the 19-20th centuries and then segues ...

Painting women of Japan

Jun 2, 2015

Painting women of Japan

by Alice Gordenker

Ask an art lover to name Japanese women artists active before the 20th century, and chances are they’ll draw a blank, despite the fact that many highly accomplished women were painting in far-earlier times. Fortunately, there is now rising interest in understanding the lives ...

The big difference a little time can make

Jun 2, 2015

The big difference a little time can make

by John L. Tran

The main premise behind “Time of Others” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MoT) is that there is no fixed self — “otherness” can be a matter of recognizing that our identities and qualities as people can change. The curatorial team behind the ...

Tokyo museum to exhibit sex art, breaking 'shunga' taboo

May 22, 2015

Tokyo museum to exhibit sex art, breaking 'shunga' taboo

The nation’s first major exhibition of shunga (erotic art) will take place later this year at a museum in Tokyo following the success of a similar show recently held at the British Museum in London in late 2013, organizers said. Entry will be restricted ...

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

May 19, 2015

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

by Matthew Larking

“Jiro Takamatsu: Trajectory of Work” is taxonomic, breaking down everything in the artist’s oeuvre into relatively neat successions of projects and including his paintings and sculptures, copious sketches and the marginalia. Even the catalog seemingly calls for a scientific approach, this exhibition being the ...