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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 ...

Art is long, when life can be short

Jan 29, 2015

Art is long, when life can be short

by Matthew Larking

Given Japan’s continual seismic activity, what happened at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1995, was unavoidable. The devastation and loss of life that occurred with the magnitude 7.3 quake in Kansai became a yardstick only now surpassed by the Great East Japan Earthquake of ...

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, ...