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The man who turned his modernist home into an art museum

by John L. Tran

It’s not all roses being the director of an independent art museum, but for Toshio Hara, the human interaction of the art world is still a more attractive prospect than that of being a businessman. In 1979 he turned the family seat — a small cluster of white modernist buildings ...

Still photography that will always remain moving

Dec 11, 2014

Still photography that will always remain moving

by John L. Tran

In the late 1950s, after having studied law and while pursuing a masters degree in art history, Ikko Narahara took two series of images that depicted groups of people at the extreme edges of society. One was of a woman’s prison in Wakayama Prefecture ...

Isn't it time to take art out of storage?

Dec 4, 2014

Isn't it time to take art out of storage?

by Moeko Yazawa and Edan Corkill

Tokyo’s art scene has always comprised many hubs, and it’s about to get a new one — one that promises to be among the most exciting. Two months ago, storage company Warehouse Terrada unveiled T-Art Gallery, a new space within its planned art complex ...

The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

Dec 4, 2014

The trick to understanding Giorgio de Chirico

by C.B. Liddell

Giorgio de Chirico is not unlike a rock star in terms of his career trajectory. His greatest and most seminal work was done when he was young — between the ages of 23 and 32 — after which he lost much of his “edge,” ...

A modern annex for an old favorite

Nov 28, 2014

A modern annex for an old favorite

by C.B. Liddell

I always feel a little inadequate arriving at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, shambling up its gravel drive in my slovenly journalist garb and running one hand over my face to check if I’ve shaved that day. It’s such an elegant venue that ...

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

Nov 27, 2014

The beating art of Ferdinand Hodler

by C.B. Liddell

With Japan and Switzerland celebrating the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations, there have been a few Swiss-themed events in town, such as the exhibition “Masterpieces from the Kunsthaus Zurich” at the National Art Center, Tokyo, reviewed earlier this month. That exhibition contained some paintings ...

Irish-American abstract artist Sean Scully sets sights on China

Nov 21, 2014

Irish-American abstract artist Sean Scully sets sights on China

Irish-American abstract artist Sean Scully counts Irish rocker Bono among his pals and collectors. He wouldn’t be unhappy if some of China’s 1.4 billion people also took a shine to his art being displayed at a retrospective in Shanghai later this month. Scully, 69, ...

A personal invite to Planet Gondry

Nov 20, 2014

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 ...

Treasures worth standing in line for

Nov 20, 2014

Treasures worth standing in line for

by C.B. Liddell

There is a fundamental problem with the Tokyo National Museum (TNM), which I come up against time and time again. In a nutshell, the venue is too big for its exhibits and too small for its audience. This is underlined yet again by the ...

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. ...