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A personal invite to Planet Gondry

by Mark Thompson

By coincidence, two tributes to baby-boomer auteurs are currently on display in Tokyo. There are intersecting points: Both Tim Burton and Michel Gondry share a love of surreal visuals, stop-motion animation and slightly dark humor. The two exhibitions are, however, decidedly different beasties. While “The World of Tim Burton” is ...

Uffizi highs of the Renaissance

Nov 13, 2014

Uffizi highs of the Renaissance

by C.B. Liddell

There’s something quaint about the main painting at the “Galleria Degli Uffizi: Arte a Firenze da Botticelli a Bronzino — verso una ‘Maniera Moderna’ ” exhibition now showing at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work, “Pallas and the Centaur” (c. 1480-85), a ...

Singing to quite a different tune

Nov 13, 2014

Singing to quite a different tune

by John L. Tran

In the sense that “The Sound of Music” is not considered a reliable source for lessons about Nazism or that “My Fair Lady” is a profound analysis of class struggle, musicals do not generally spring to mind when considering the great achievements of French ...

Antique fair offers a hunt for treasure

Nov 6, 2014

Antique fair offers a hunt for treasure

by Masami Ito

When you see an antique, what catches your attention? Some people imagine the history or story behind it, perhaps there’s a bit of romance or mystery involved. Some people look at the object and see dollar signs, and some see a piece of art. ...

The all-star cast of Kunsthaus Zurich

Nov 6, 2014

The all-star cast of Kunsthaus Zurich

by C.B. Liddell

Switzerland is an “island” in a “sea” of Europe. From its elevated Alpine position in the heart of Western Europe, it figuratively looks down on the main European cultural heartlands of Italy, France and Germany, the perfect place for a wide-ranging, cosmopolitan collection of ...

Beneath the disarray lies a struggle

Nov 6, 2014

Beneath the disarray lies a struggle

by C.B. Liddell

One of the joys of covering a Willem de Kooning exhibition, such as the one at the Bridgestone Museum of Art, is catching up with the jargon that surrounds his work. As he was a leading light of New York’s postwar abstract expressionist movement, ...

Kunisaki Art Festival shows works worth the hike

Oct 30, 2014

Kunisaki Art Festival shows works worth the hike

by Mio Yamada

To visit Antony Gormley’s “Another Time” — a life-sized iron figure which looks eastward across Oita Prefecture’s Sento district of Kunisaki from atop a mountain ledge — is a breathtaking experience. Not just because it’s a stong piece of art or that the location ...

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

Oct 30, 2014

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

by John L. Tran

“In Yedo, nothing is so common as to hear the citizens lament the times that have only just come to an end.” So ran one editorial of “The Far East,” an English-language periodical published in Japan in the 1870s. A contemporary echo of this ...

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

Oct 23, 2014

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

by John L. Tran

The secret to a good public relations interview? Switch on the voice recorder and ask questions — that is all you need to know. Except, of course, it’s not. Usually the interviewee has a particular image to maintain and the interviewer is looking for ...

What words alone cannot convey

Oct 23, 2014

What words alone cannot convey

by Stuart Munro

“Can writing succeed as the subject of photography?” This is a question that troubles Paris-based artist Yuki Onodera. Her two works from the series “The World is Not Small Enough” are included in “Photographs by Five,” a group show at Zeit-Foto Salon in Kyobashi, ...

Less meant more to Shunso Hishida

Oct 16, 2014

Less meant more to Shunso Hishida

by C.B. Liddell

It’s no secret that the Japanese art world was going through major changes at the end of the 19th century. On the one hand, there was a flood of Western art styles, called yōga, offering exciting new possibilities, while, on the other, there was ...

Kyoto's top treasures, all under one roof

Oct 16, 2014

Kyoto's top treasures, all under one roof

by Sachiko Tamashige

Kyoto is at its most brilliant and beautiful in autumn, with its World Heritage scenery colored in red and golden leaves. This year, it’s also a time when visitors have the rare opportunity to learn about the essence of Kyoto culture at the Kyoto ...

The Yamatane Museum presents a brilliant show

Oct 9, 2014

The Yamatane Museum presents a brilliant show

by Alice Gordenker

Gold and silver have long been used in Japanese painting for their decorative value, on works ranging from intimate handscrolls to large-scale screens. But as the current exhibition at the Yamatane Museum of Art makes amply clear, in the last century or so tradition ...