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Straddling East and West in art

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Hybridity and eclecticism may be key concepts in much contemporary art, yet they are not new phenomena. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), Tetsugoro Yorozu virtually personified the idea of hybrid art: As Japan rushed toward modernization, he not only experimented with the very latest forms of Western art then flooding ...

A bite of the virtual reality sandwich

Jul 18, 2017

A bite of the virtual reality sandwich

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What happens when you take the Nazi zombies, coin collecting, cuddly creatures, xenomorphs, etc., out of video games and you just wander around virtual reality? While pondering that, we could also ask, "How realistic is it to be Utopian?," "What is life without work?" and "How ...

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Jul 16, 2017

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Photographer Mao Ishikawa, whose work frequently depicts personal, political and racial intersections in her native Okinawa, has published a new volume revisiting her 1970s portraits of Japanese bar hostesses and U.S. servicemen near the Kadena Air Base. "Red Flower: The Women of Okinawa" ("Akabana: Okinawa ...

Painting between the lines

Jul 11, 2017

Painting between the lines

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The pairing of Hideki Kimura's prints with the seemingly sculptural assemblages of Sadaharu Horio is perhaps unexpected. What draws them together, however, are conceptions of their practices as painting. Both veterans of Japan's contemporary art scene, they pursue painting by other means, working within ...

Eating the dreams of Keiichi Tanaami

Jul 4, 2017

Eating the dreams of Keiichi Tanaami

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"Kurai" ("It's dark") says someone as we open the door at the new entrance of Nanzuka gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo. Yet, the freshly painted black walls and dimly lit stairs inside set the mood for a gallery specializing in underground art, and provide the ...

The scope of cultural displacement

Jun 27, 2017

The scope of cultural displacement

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Mercedes Benz Art Scope is an exchange program that allows Japanese artists to spend time in Germany and German artists to visit Japan. The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art has been a partner in this project since 2003, and in this year's group show, Stuttgart-based ...

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 anyone, ...

Understanding Bruegel's Babel

Jun 20, 2017

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 ...

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 realism, ...

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 ...