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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 ...

The peak that can move mountains

Feb 19, 2015

The peak that can move mountains

by John L. Tran

The current show, ‘Fuji Paradigms: Visions of Mt. Fuji,’ at the Izu Photo Museum is in two parts. One is an amalgamation of images in varied formats that depict Mount Fuji as a national symbol, and the other is a tightly focused collection that ...

Neo-impressionism: color-coded familiarities

Feb 19, 2015

Neo-impressionism: color-coded familiarities

by C.B. Liddell

The term “neo-impressionism” suggests a sequel to impressionism and, just like with movie sequels, there is a faint lowering of expectations. But this is entirely the wrong way to approach “Neo-Impressionism: from Light to Color” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some visitors ...

How art deco stripped nudity of eroticism

Feb 12, 2015

How art deco stripped nudity of eroticism

by C.B. Liddell

When the Teien Museum of Art reopened late last year, after a period of refurbishment and expansion, the exhibition held was no real test for either the main building or the newly added annex. The art of Rei Naito was so minimalist that it ...

Paris' melancholic life of the party

Feb 5, 2015

Paris' melancholic life of the party

by C.B. Liddell

The painter Jules Pascin was the epitome of the cosmopolitan, bohemian artist who came to define Paris of the 1920s. The latest exhibition at the Panasonic Shiodome Museum looks at the life and art of this painter, who was an important feature of the ...

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

Feb 5, 2015

When nostalgia entangles with an unsettling past

by John L. Tran

When Koichi Watari, the director of the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art contacted Yoshitomo Nara to organize a solo exhibition of his work, the artist was traveling around Hokkaido and Sakhalin with photographer and hard-core explorer Naoki Ishikawa. Nara suggested to Watari that they ...

Message trumps the medium at JMAF

Feb 5, 2015

Message trumps the medium at JMAF

by Mike Sunda

When Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message” in the mid-1960s, the ensuing dialogue on media theory encouraged an approach that persists to the present day: to examine new types of technology through the societal and cultural changes that ...