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Out of the ordinary comes a new art festival

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I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that Japan has three “most beautiful” places. It’s a tradition, or a received wisdom, if you like, to rank the triad of the land bridge Ama-no Hashidate, the rocky islands of Matsushima and the sacred torii in the water at Miyajima as the ...

Suzuki Kiitsu: Bringing modernity to Rimpa

Sep 20, 2016

Suzuki Kiitsu: Bringing modernity to Rimpa

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The artist Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) was long considered a late and somewhat minor player in the Rimpa school, which emerged in Kyoto early in the Edo Period (1603-1868). The Suntory Museum of Art’s current exhibition now re-evaluates Kiitsu’s career and his contributions to this ...

Nam June Paik has the last laugh

Sep 13, 2016

Nam June Paik has the last laugh

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Rapid, multilayered, fluid — the high-tech images created by Nam June Paik earned him the epithet the Father of Video Art. He may be most often associated with banks of television screens and intense, distorted video images, but as a new retrospective of his ...

Yosa Buson: A Japan-China relationship that works

Sep 13, 2016

Yosa Buson: A Japan-China relationship that works

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Of all the eminent Edo Period Japanese artists being celebrated this year, the honors have definitively gone to the eccentric painter Ito Jakuchu (1603-1868), whose 300th anniversary is celebrated in at least four retrospectives nationwide, some recently finished and others forthcoming Artists’ reputations belong ...

Japan's TOP museum sees the big picture

Sep 6, 2016

Japan's TOP museum sees the big picture

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After being closed for two years for major renovations, Tokyo’s best-known photography museum in Tokyo’s fashionable Ebisu neighborhood reopened on Sept. 3, just in time to celebrate its 20-year anniversary. The venerable facility now boasts a new look, improved exhibition spaces and a new ...

It's the end of the world as we know it, and we still feel fine

Sep 6, 2016

It's the end of the world as we know it, and we still feel fine

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Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Lost Human Genetic Archive,” the inaugural exhibition for the reopening of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (now the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum), is an erudite and elaborate exercise in gallows humor. The theme is the end of civilization and human life, ...

The 'informel' whirlwind that swept across Japan

Aug 30, 2016

The 'informel' whirlwind that swept across Japan

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Taro Okamoto’s “Men Aflame” (1955) is a swirling fusion of figuration, surrealism and abstraction. The content addresses the irradiation of Japanese sailors onboard the Dai-go Fukuryu-maru by fallout from American nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll. The painting is part of the 1950s Japanese art ...

Subtle messages lie hidden in a corporate collection

Aug 30, 2016

Subtle messages lie hidden in a corporate collection

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Tokyo Station Gallery is showing a pick ‘n’ mix exhibition, “12 Rooms 12 Artists,” comprising a variety of modern and contemporary art acquisitions from the UBS art collection. There is no explicit curatorial imperative to connect or compare the works, so you’re free to ...

Tokyo exhibition chronicles over a century of Japanese photojournalism

Aug 29, 2016

Tokyo exhibition chronicles over a century of Japanese photojournalism

A photo exhibition covering over 100 years of Japanese photojournalism has opened at the Tokyo International Forum to highlight momentous events including the funeral of Emperor Meiji in 1912 and the Kumamoto earthquake last April. The show, which opened on Saturday and was organized ...

Salvador Dali: a life less ordinary

Aug 16, 2016

Salvador Dali: a life less ordinary

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The early literary surrealists of the mid-1920s were skeptical of any visual possibility. Their aim — to fuse art with life, reality and dreams — was to be realized through the immediacy of writing. Painting, by contrast, was a laborious, indirect expression mediated by ...

The pursuit of perfection with imperfection

Aug 16, 2016

The pursuit of perfection with imperfection

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The perfect Julia Margaret Cameron exhibition, according to Mark Haworth-Booth, curator of photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum between 1970 and 2004, would have to be vast. In order to do justice to the pioneering and prolific photographer, her portraits would have to ...

With 'DMM.Planets' exhibition, teamLab defines the future of art

| Aug 11, 2016

With 'DMM.Planets' exhibition, teamLab defines the future of art

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An exponential evolution in technology has led to increasingly immersive and interactive entertainment. And a certain Tokyo-based digital art collective is light years ahead of the rest. Multifaceted creative group teamLab’s “DMM.Planets” is a massive 3,000 square-meter exhibition taking place at Odaiba Minna no ...

The colorful combination of power and art

Aug 9, 2016

The colorful combination of power and art

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Each part of Italy has its own character, but Venice has always been something special and unique. While much of Italy was reduced to insignificant statelets, for much of the peninsula’s history Venice was quite the reverse. It projected power far across the Mediterranean ...