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Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

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Masaaki Yamada (1929-2010) is like a mystery man of modernism. He apparently had no specialist art training of note and is known only by a skeleton biography that is mostly blank before 1943, and patchy thereafter. Said to have begun painting from the so-called tabula rasa of bombed out World ...

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

Mar 14, 2017

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

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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'

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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 ...

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

Mar 7, 2017

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

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Being only a part-time art historian, but full-time gossip, I spend more time commiserating with my single female friends on the problem of “Why are there no great men?” than I ponder the rhetorical “Why have there been no great women artists?”, as feminist ...

New digital exhibit on Japanese cuisine filling visitors' senses

Mar 1, 2017

New digital exhibit on Japanese cuisine filling visitors' senses

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An exhibition in downtown Tokyo is offering unique opportunities to experience washoku (Japanese cuisine) using the five senses in interactive digital displays that allow visitors to follow the scent of soup stock and actually taste traditional dishes. “The Mysterious Restaurant of the Food God” ...

Big impressions live in the details

Feb 28, 2017

Big impressions live in the details

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Distracted by the frenzy of today’s hyper-connected world, many of us can easily overlook the everyday incidents that encourage smiles or offer simple affirmations of life being lived. The India-born artist N.S. Harsha, however, thrives on such observations. As his solo exhibition at the ...

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

Feb 28, 2017

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

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Robert Coutelas (1930-85) was born into a poor French family who lived in a single room, and he died in a similar, pathetically impoverished, way. Nearly every opportunity life afforded he either abandoned or would broker no compromise for the sake of art. Now, ...

Sharpen your knowledge of Japanese swords

Feb 14, 2017

Sharpen your knowledge of Japanese swords

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If you’ve ever wanted to learn about Japanese swords, now’s the time, as an unusually large number of top-quality blades are currently on view at two Tokyo museums. Either exhibition is well worth a visit but together they’re dynamite. “Perfect Guide to Japanese Sword” ...

Between realism and abstraction

Feb 14, 2017

Between realism and abstraction

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Since impressionism had, at its extremities, given rise to the expressionists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, the postwar painter Jean-Michel Atlan said great art could only be made in the margins. In early postwar Europe, abstraction and figuration were the embattled avant-gardes. Working ...

The textural flair of Tiziano Vecellio

Feb 7, 2017

The textural flair of Tiziano Vecellio

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Bold in color and expressive in texture, the works of Venetian painters have their own distinctive place within Renaissance art. Taking the lead was Titian (1488/90 -1576), who became official painter to the Venetian Republic, and whose fame spread across the Europe of his ...

Yasuyuki Namikawa: A master of cloisonne color and design

Feb 7, 2017

Yasuyuki Namikawa: A master of cloisonne color and design

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There are two ways that the skill of craftsmanship can be emphasized: by showing it off through masses of meticulous decorative details, or by stripping everything to the bare minimum and bringing into focus just a few perfectly executed qualities. Think of it as ...

Feb 7, 2017

Photo collection captures memories of persecuted Yazidis

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Memories of the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority who fled their homeland in the Sinjar Mountains in northwest Iraq following an invasion by the Islamic State in August 2014, have been preserved in a newly published photo collection. A toy, a shoe and a spoon ...