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Understanding Bruegel's Babel

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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 Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 16th-century depiction ...

Design Festa offers chance to up-and-coming artists

Jun 20, 2017

Design Festa offers chance to up-and-coming artists

Design Festa Summer x Gakuten 2017 is expected to give 4,000 exhibitors a chance to showcase their artistic talent to 20,000 visitors at Tokyo Big Sight, in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, on Aug. 5 and 6. Design Festa is a celebration of art that allows ...

Ryan Gander looks back with humor

Jun 13, 2017

Ryan Gander looks back with humor

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British artist Ryan Gander does the spread of contemporary art polysemy through objects, installations, paintings, photography and video. All is brought under the rubric of “conceptual” art, for which the catalog of “These wings aren’t for flying” at The National Museum of Art, Osaka, ...

Alternative realities of realism

Jun 6, 2017

Alternative realities of realism

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“Realism” can be a frustratingly indeterminate term. It can be used to refer to individual paintings, and it can be a conceptual placeholder that seemingly encapsulates the entire history of the Western Renaissance, and other, fine arts through to modernism. The critical afterlives of ...

A Leiter shade of New York

May 30, 2017

A Leiter shade of New York

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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 ...

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

May 23, 2017

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

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Kamakura Period (1185-1333) Buddhist sculptures often come down to us under the individual names of makers (when known) though they were often fashioned in workshops by multiple hands. A significant 13th-century work would employ a dozen or so team members and assistants and draw ...

On the Daoism of 'Dudeism'

May 16, 2017

On the Daoism of 'Dudeism'

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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 ...

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

May 9, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

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The Edo Period (1603-1868) is renowned for the flourishing of material culture — a time when major advances and innovations in Japanese folk crafts and design were prized by the burgeoning commoner class of Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka. “The Golden Age of Mingei: ...

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

Apr 25, 2017

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

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The Momoyama Period (1573-1615) artist Kaiho Yusho (1533-1615) was renowned among the elite painters of his time, and still is. More remarkable, however, is that fame came when he was in his 60s during what is called his “early” period. Over the following two ...

Kyotographie: from Kyoto, with love

Apr 18, 2017

Kyotographie: from Kyoto, with love

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Kyotographie — the brainchild of photographer Lucille Reyboz and lighting artist Yusuke Nakanishi — is 5 this year. Conceived and nurtured in Kyoto, it is now one of few substantial photography festivals in Japan, inarguably rivaling, even surpassing, many of the country’s other calendar ...