Early days for Sejima's Hokusai museum

Dec 6, 2016

Early days for Sejima's Hokusai museum

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At some point in the future, the new Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo will be considered with great affection by a lot of people. Like Tokyo Tower and Starck’s Asahi Beer Hall — which have had their fair share of criticism but are now ...

A play on the idea of performance art

Nov 29, 2016

A play on the idea of performance art

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By the late 1960s, Japan’s early postwar avant-garde had largely petered out. The radicals of yesteryear were now 20 years older and the country had returned to material affluence and international acceptance symbolized by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Following the anti-art movements from the ...

The alchemy of the avant-garde

Nov 29, 2016

The alchemy of the avant-garde

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“Abanga-do,” the Japanese loan word derived from “avant-garde” has a relatively wider usage than the original French term. The political philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) originally coined “avant-garde” as a rallying cry for art of the early 19th century to be a medium of ...

Mirocomachiko: Creatures Tone

Nov 29, 2016

Mirocomachiko: Creatures Tone

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Dec.1-25 Picture-book author Mirocomachiko themes many of her works around animals and plants, which she depicts using her own unique form of expression involving boldly painted bright colors and simple language. As an artist, she has had solo exhibitions in Australia, Finland and Britain, ...

The Anatomy of Colors

Oct 18, 2016

The Anatomy of Colors

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Oct. 22-Dec. 18 This exhibition showcases the complicated process of creating colored pigments by taking a close look at the materials used to produce the vibrant woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1603-1868). Around 100 works, including original and replica kuniezu (provincial maps of ...

The Play Since 1967: Beyond Unknown Currents

Oct 18, 2016

The Play Since 1967: Beyond Unknown Currents

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Oct. 22-Jan. 15 The Play is a Kansai-based art collective — whose members are constantly changing — that has been staging art happenings since 1967. The collective currently comprises five members: Ikemizu Keiichi, Kobayashi Shinichi, Suzuki Yoshinobu, Nii Seiji and Miki Tetsuo. Its projects ...

Reconnecting Japan's ancient cultural hub

Oct 4, 2016

Reconnecting Japan's ancient cultural hub

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“When I visited Todaiji Temple in Nara, just after I arrived as a Chinese student in Japan about 30 years ago, I felt somehow nostalgic as it had an atmosphere of old China,” says Cai Guo-Qiang, as he explains his work for Culture City ...

Kanjiro Kawai sculpted a new vision of pottery

Oct 4, 2016

Kanjiro Kawai sculpted a new vision of pottery

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Japan’s history of ceramics stretches back for millenniums, with most spinners of clay remaining nameless. One star, however, did shape a new world of pottery: Kanjiro Kawai (1890-1966). Kawai left us 50 years ago this autumn. Thankfully, though, he bestowed upon us some of ...

Out of the ordinary comes a new art festival

Sep 20, 2016

Out of the ordinary comes a new art festival

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I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that Japan has three “most beautiful” places. It’s a tradition, or a received wisdom, if you like, to rank the triad of the land bridge Ama-no Hashidate, the rocky islands of Matsushima and the sacred torii in ...