The honeymoon phase of Japan and the West

Apr 14, 2015

The honeymoon phase of Japan and the West

by C.B. Liddell

Often, when two cultures meet, it can be very messy and lead to a lot of unpleasantness. The continuing inability of the West and Islam to understand each other suggests itself as a convenient example. This kind of conflict often boils down to a ...

'Billowing Light: Ishida Takashi'

Mar 26, 2015

'Billowing Light: Ishida Takashi'

by Natsumi Toida

March 28-May 31 This is the first major solo exhibition of Takashi Ishida, winner of the 2007 “Most Promising Young Talent Prize” at the Goto Commemorative Culture Awards. Ishida has gained acclaim for his work in experimental film and contemporary art, with well-known film ...

The persevering existence of On Kawara

Mar 12, 2015

The persevering existence of On Kawara

by Kenta Murakami

Last summer, the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara passed away at age 81. Having lived in New York since 1965, it is unsurprising that the Guggenheim honors Kawara with the first comprehensive retrospective of his work — an exhibition that Kawara himself helped organize. ...

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness

Mar 12, 2015

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness

by John L. Tran

Masaru Iwai, a Ph.D. graduate from Tokyo University of Arts, tells me that he only showers once every two days. This fact causes the two gallery directors in the room to gasp in horror. In an ill-advised moment of sharing I let slip that ...

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 ...

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 ...

'Art Brut of Shiga'

Feb 26, 2015

'Art Brut of Shiga'

by Daisuke Kikuchi

March 3-15 During the postwar era, many social welfare establishments were created in Shiga Prefecture, including the child welfare facility Omi Gakuen, which was founded by Kazuo Itoga, Ichiji Tamura and Taro Ikeda in 1946. One of the then-unique activities of Omi Gaukuen was ...