Topics

Where Buddhism and Shintoism meet

Jan 22, 2015

Where Buddhism and Shintoism meet

by Matthew Larking

Works from the Tendai Buddhist Gakuenji temple in Shimane Prefecture form the feature exhibition of Kyoto National Museum’s New Year’s show. Tradition tells that the priest Chishun established Gakuenji around the time of the Empress Suiko (554-628) though centuries passed before it was first ...

Jiro Oyamada's dark side exposes his highlights

Jan 22, 2015

Jiro Oyamada's dark side exposes his highlights

by C.B. Liddell

When it comes to selecting “tortured artists” — those driven to create from the deep wells of their souls by immense suffering — the 20th-century Japanese painter Jiro Oyamada must seem like a shoo-in. The Fuchu Art Museum, in the western suburbs of Tokyo, ...

Whistler: The misunderstood artistic rebel

Jan 15, 2015

Whistler: The misunderstood artistic rebel

by Jeff Michael Hammond

Though his paintings may not look radical to us today, in his time, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) often faced incomprehension — both through interpretations of his art and his own uncompromising stance toward it. Museumgoers in Japan now have a rare opportunity to decide ...

Offbeat satire that finds the bizarre in the banal

Jan 15, 2015

Offbeat satire that finds the bizarre in the banal

by Edward M. Gómez

Sometimes the pen really is mightier than the sword — not only when it is deployed to capture in words the loftiest philosophical ruminations, but also when, through pictures, it causes heroes to tremble and fall. For skilled satirists, trenchant humor is a potent ...

Code + culture: New Internet artists from Japan

Jan 10, 2015

Code + culture: New Internet artists from Japan

by Cameron Allan Mckean

If the Internet is an ocean, why do we spend so much time floating on its surface? What’s really going on down there? Not just in the deepest, darkest trenches, but among the forgotten protocols, faulty algorithms and emerging parameters outside the busy shipping ...

There's method in artistic 'madness'

Jan 8, 2015

There's method in artistic 'madness'

by C.B. Liddell

Jiro Takamatsu is not easy to understand. He was an idiosyncratic avant-garde artist who worked with a variety of materials to create arcane art that expressed philosophical ideas. This is immediately off-putting to some and intriguing to others. However, the exhibition “Takamatsu Jiro: Mysteries” ...

Keeping up with the shifting world

Jan 8, 2015

Keeping up with the shifting world

by John L. Tran

Designers can be an ambitious bunch, hoping to lead us all into a better, color-coordinated, minimalist future. “The Fab Mind” aims to show off attempts “to understand and to resolve social issues through design’,” based upon the earth-shattering notions that the world is in ...

From tradition to trash: Tokyo's art in 2014

Dec 25, 2014

From tradition to trash: Tokyo's art in 2014

by C.B. Liddell

This year has been a memorable one for art exhibitions at museums in Tokyo, with a surprisingly diverse array of shows and events, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, metropolitan and provincial. As usual, a pivotal point early in the calendar was provided by ...

Taking flight with Arata Isozaki

Dec 11, 2014

Taking flight with Arata Isozaki

by C.B. Liddell

I once almost got to interview the architect Arata Isozaki, but it was canceled due to his ill health at the time. No doubt a consideration in the cancelation was the fact that interviews with him can go to extreme lengths, as Isozaki has ...