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Two photographers in a state of play

Jan 15, 2014

Two photographers in a state of play

by John L. Tran

In an intriguing double-header, two of photography's more colorful characters are exhibited together at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, providing an interesting glimpse of art form as play.

Darren Almond: All things pass

Jan 8, 2014

Darren Almond: All things pass

by James Jack

A wall of 450 flip-clocks all display 15:26 in the entryway to “Second Thoughts” at Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito. Seconds pass … CLICK, all synchronized to the minute. The sound of 15:27 is so overwhelming it’s surprising to see only one digit ...

Shimomura Kanzan kept <em>nihonga</em> clean and cool

Jan 8, 2014

Shimomura Kanzan kept nihonga clean and cool

by C.B. Liddell

Art can sometimes play a balancing or compensatory role in society, giving voice to neglected or superseded aspects of a culture. For example, the neo-feudalist ethos of Pre-Raphaelitism and the pastoralism of Impressionism developed against a backdrop of increasing urbanization and materialism. This can ...

Best of the West tops this year's major shows

Dec 25, 2013

Best of the West tops this year's major shows

by C.B. Liddell

Japan occupies an odd niche in the art world. Its own indigenous artistic traditions are balanced against an almost fanboy fascination with certain aspects of the canon of Western art, while there is an often half-hearted attempt to stay plugged into the global contemporary ...

The influences on and of Tetsumi Kudo

Dec 25, 2013

The influences on and of Tetsumi Kudo

by Matthew Larking

“Collection 3 — Works Related to Your Portrait: A Tetsumi Kudo Retrospective: From Anti-art of the 1960s to Art of the Present Day” is a contextual exhibition accompanying the superb “Tetsumi Kudo Retrospective” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka. It brings together foreign ...

Josef Koudelka:  the theatrics of life

Dec 18, 2013

Josef Koudelka: the theatrics of life

by John L. Tran

Wild white hair and beard, but dressed in a drab, olive shirt and combat jacket, Josef Koudelka is like a guerrilla Father Christmas. Wearing scuffed shoes, and with a roughly unceremonious joviality, the Czech photographer appears uncomfortable being stalked around his exhibition by dozens ...

The noisy posters of the silent 1920s

Dec 11, 2013

The noisy posters of the silent 1920s

by C.B. Liddell

When the Communists seized control of Russia in late 1917, they found themselves in a difficult position. According to Marxist theory, the revolution should have happened hundreds of miles further west in one of the more industrialized countries, such as Britain or Germany, with ...

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

Dec 11, 2013

Somewhere between art and craft lies the beauty of Satoshi Someya

by Matthew Larking

Satoshi Someya has produced a cerebrally engaging and visually alluring exhibition. His “Digesting Decoration” positions him among the most significant contemporary lacquer artists working today. The primary concern is with “use,” as in the particularly utilitarian function of craft, as opposed to the ostensible ...

Recalling nature's fury abstractly in oils

Dec 10, 2013

Recalling nature's fury abstractly in oils

by Edward M. Gómez

As someone who was born and brought up in Bosnia, educated in Germany and is now based in New York, why should artist Amer Kobaslija have reacted as passionately as he did on hearing about the earthquake and the tsunami that struck Japan’s Tohoku ...

Trapped by human society

Dec 4, 2013

Trapped by human society

by Matthew Larking

Osaka-born Tetsumi Kudo’s oeuvre has been the subject of a number of major international retrospectives since his death in 1990, and these indicate the artist’s increasing postwar historical significance. The current National Museum of Art, Osaka retrospective is magisterial. With more than 600 pages, ...

A modern view of a neglected Impressionist

Dec 4, 2013

A modern view of a neglected Impressionist

by C.B. Liddell

The French painter Gustave Caillebotte has suffered more than most from the fact that he wasn’t Monet, Manet, or Renoir. As one of the second-ranking Impressionists, he has long been in the shadow of these more famous names with which his career is associated. ...

The Imperial Household of tradition

Nov 27, 2013

The Imperial Household of tradition

by Matthew Larking

The catalog for The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto’s exhibition, “Treasures of the Imperial Collection: The Quintessence of Modern Japanese Art,” tells us that this “sublime collection of resplendent masterpieces shines brilliantly in the history of modern Japanese art.” The collection, represented here ...