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The Suzukis' coffee cups runneth over

Mar 19, 2015

The Suzukis' coffee cups runneth over

by Mio Yamada

Among the hundreds of gilded and finely painted cups and saucers of “Demitasse Cosmos: Glitter of Jewelry” at the Mitsui Memorial Museum is a modest set that may be easily overlooked. Emerald green in glaze, with a simple black handle and rim, it’s a ...

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

Mar 19, 2015

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

by C.B. Liddell

There are two theories about post-impressionist art. One is that it was a continuation of the modernist spirit of the impressionists, with the application of ever-more scientific principles of color and light to the depiction of objects. The other is that post-impressionism was a ...

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

Mar 12, 2015

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

by C.B. Liddell

Art Fair Tokyo, the city’s premier art showcase, is always a pleasure to experience, and I’m sure this year’s event, to be held March 20-22 at the Tokyo International Forum, will have much to offer. But part of the fun of following Art Fair ...

The persevering existence of On Kawara

Mar 12, 2015

The persevering existence of On Kawara

by Kenta Murakami

Last summer, the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara passed away at age 81. Having lived in New York since 1965, it is unsurprising that the Guggenheim honors Kawara with the first comprehensive retrospective of his work — an exhibition that Kawara himself helped organize. ...

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness

Mar 12, 2015

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness

by John L. Tran

Masaru Iwai, a Ph.D. graduate from Tokyo University of Arts, tells me that he only showers once every two days. This fact causes the two gallery directors in the room to gasp in horror. In an ill-advised moment of sharing I let slip that ...

Parasophia to take Kyoto into the now

Mar 5, 2015

Parasophia to take Kyoto into the now

by J.J. O'Donoghue

What goes through your head when you look at contemporary art? Standing in front of, say, Damien Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde (“Is this art or taxidermy?”), Tracey Emin’s bed (“Anybody could do that”), Jeff Koon’s giant balloon-like poodles (“Kitsch,” or “preemptive kitsch,” as one ...

The flickering of Japan's contemporary art

Mar 5, 2015

The flickering of Japan's contemporary art

by C.B. Liddell

Art used to be about what you could see, but now, thanks to a more “conceptual” approach, it is often about what cannot be seen. Except the artist still has to demonstrate in some way what it is that can’t be seen — in ...

Imagery that sings the praises of the musical

Mar 5, 2015

Imagery that sings the praises of the musical

by John L. Tran

“They’re Wooin’ and Doin’ the Things Boys and Girls Like to Do . . . .” This is the message of many of the posters made for Hollywood musicals currently being exhibited at the National Film Center in Tokyo. Liza Minnelli, Mitzi Gaynor and ...

Video artist Duncan Campbell sees between the lines

Feb 27, 2015

Video artist Duncan Campbell sees between the lines

by Mio Yamada

When Irish artist Duncan Campbell won the Turner Prize last December, it was met with both high praise and criticism, as often happens with the notoriously controversial event. But perhaps such a difference in perception is appropriate. Campbell’s 54-minute film “It for Others” explores ...

Nihonga didn't ignore the West

Feb 26, 2015

Nihonga didn't ignore the West

by Matthew Larking

From the early 1880s, painting in Japan became bisected. Yōga was used to categorize works in oils that were inspired by European painting movements and nihonga became the umbrella term for a whole array of earlier Japanese painting traditions that were later modernized. The ...

Gabriel Orozco's connections with Japan

Feb 26, 2015

Gabriel Orozco's connections with Japan

by John L. Tran

The photographer and I have been waiting for about half an hour to interview Gabriel Orozco. It’s a little disappointing, but that’s OK. Orozco has famously made disappointment part of his creative practice. While waiting we chat about how much we have been impressed ...