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What lurks behind masks of mankind

Jun 9, 2015

What lurks behind masks of mankind

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“Masks: Beauty of the Spirits” comes from the Musee du Quai Branly, an institution that former President Jacque Chirac spearheaded toward the end of his long reign. Opened in 2006 to both fanfare and controversy, the Paris museum’s stated mission is to celebrate the ...

The ornate history of embroidery

Jun 9, 2015

The ornate history of embroidery

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“Transcendent Artful Embroidery II” at the Kobe Fashion Museum is a cross-cultural look at the perfections of needle craft across several centuries. It gets underway with a section on garments of Indian nobles and Chinese court dresses of the 19-20th centuries and then segues ...

Painting women of Japan

Jun 2, 2015

Painting women of Japan

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Ask an art lover to name Japanese women artists active before the 20th century, and chances are they’ll draw a blank, despite the fact that many highly accomplished women were painting in far-earlier times. Fortunately, there is now rising interest in understanding the lives ...

The big difference a little time can make

Jun 2, 2015

The big difference a little time can make

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The main premise behind “Time of Others” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MoT) is that there is no fixed self — “otherness” can be a matter of recognizing that our identities and qualities as people can change. The curatorial team behind the ...

Tokyo museum to exhibit sex art, breaking 'shunga' taboo

May 22, 2015

Tokyo museum to exhibit sex art, breaking 'shunga' taboo

The nation’s first major exhibition of shunga (erotic art) will take place later this year at a museum in Tokyo following the success of a similar show recently held at the British Museum in London in late 2013, organizers said. Entry will be restricted ...

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

May 19, 2015

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

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“Jiro Takamatsu: Trajectory of Work” is taxonomic, breaking down everything in the artist’s oeuvre into relatively neat successions of projects and including his paintings and sculptures, copious sketches and the marginalia. Even the catalog seemingly calls for a scientific approach, this exhibition being the ...

Experience was not the mother of wisdom

May 19, 2015

Experience was not the mother of wisdom

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It’s something of a truism that the life of an artist heavily influences his or her work. No exhibition makes this clearer than “Utrillo & Valadon” at the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, which pairs the art of Maurice Utrillo, ...

The Louvre's spin on art history

May 12, 2015

The Louvre's spin on art history

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The futuristic-looking National Art Center Tokyo (NACT) seems like a rather unusual venue for an exhibition of mainly 17th- and 18th-century European art sourced from Paris’s famous Louvre Museum. But while the Louvre’s collections are very much rooted in the past, the French institution ...

A prosaic picture of Japan's rural decline

May 12, 2015

A prosaic picture of Japan's rural decline

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With all the current problems facing Japan’s rural communities, “Salt of the Earth” at the Tokyo Gallery is a visual contribution to an ongoing debate on their value and survival. The rhetoric of the show espouses the humble virtues of life in Amami, a ...