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Smiling between the lines of ukiyo-e

Dec 15, 2015

Smiling between the lines of ukiyo-e

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Some art collectors enjoy the eclectic, picking up art pieces opportunistically — even randomly — usually when they find something at the right price. Others have more streamlined tastes and focus on a theme or genre, building up more consistent collections. The result of ...

Real beauty lies in rustic reality

Dec 8, 2015

Real beauty lies in rustic reality

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French society and culture has always had a fascination with the exotic, going back to the Chinoiserie of the rococo period, the Orientalist fascination with the harems and slave markets of the Middle East, and the Japonisme of the 19th century. One might even ...

Dressing up the fabric of time in Kobe

Dec 8, 2015

Dressing up the fabric of time in Kobe

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A dazzling show of 100 detailed replicas of historical women’s garments, “Kimono: From the Kofun to the Edo Period” at the Kobe Fashion Museum takes us back in time in two ways. The first way is obvious. The time span of the costumes on ...

Otto Kunzli's real 'statement jewelry'

Dec 1, 2015

Otto Kunzli's real 'statement jewelry'

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“Cozticteocuilatl is the Aztec term for gold and it literally translates into ‘the yellow feces of the gods,’ ” says Swiss artist Otto Kunzli, who is standing before his work at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. “It’s the yellow poops of the gods,” ...

There is a lot going on behind the closed doors of shunga

Dec 1, 2015

There is a lot going on behind the closed doors of shunga

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Japan’s first major shunga (literally, “spring pictures”) exhibition of erotic paintings and woodblock prints, is surprisingly hard work. As a venue for a ground-breaking assembly of images, which probably would not have been shown publicly if it were not for a highly successful shunga ...

Takashi Murakami's reluctant homecoming

Nov 19, 2015

Takashi Murakami's reluctant homecoming

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Ebisu Yokocho has never looked so fabulous. It’s the night before Halloween and costumed women with talon-like nails and feathered eyelashes snake their way through a boisterous crowd crammed into this narrow alley of food stalls and bars. The smell of booze and grilled ...

The ripple effect of Tawaraya Sotatsu's waves

Nov 17, 2015

The ripple effect of Tawaraya Sotatsu's waves

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‘The most important Japanese artist you’ve never heard of.” That is how James Ulak, senior curator of Japanese art at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, describes Tawaraya Sotatsu, the focus of the gallery’s current magnificent exhibition. The show presents the first in-depth ...

Chen Wei's small world of the bigger issues

Nov 17, 2015

Chen Wei's small world of the bigger issues

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In Chen Wei’s moody night scenes, the party’s over and everyone has gone home. A couple of disco balls have crashed to the floor looking like globes of planets built and populated by robots. In two other images, empty imported and native Chinese beer ...

France marvels at high society beauty who made Proust swoon

Nov 13, 2015

France marvels at high society beauty who made Proust swoon

She was France’s great high society beauty, who so drove Marcel Proust to distraction that he went to his grave begging for a photograph of her. The crowned heads of Europe were equally in awe of her, with many dropping in on her Parisian ...

A photo finish between ukiyo-e and the camera

Nov 10, 2015

A photo finish between ukiyo-e and the camera

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The idea for the smart, complex and challenging exhibition “From Ukiyo-e to Photography” at the Edo-Tokyo Museum started from the discovery of two images. One is a photograph of the Meiji-Era (1867-1912) Minister of Home Affairs Toshimichi Okubo, taken in Paris in 1878. The ...