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The new testament to Bowie's star power

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“I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something,” the younger Bowie once said about “a major hero” of his, Elvis Presley. They shared quite a number of things — a record label, a weakness for drugs, shocking sexuality for the times ...

Taking an art trip through time

Jan 17, 2017

Taking an art trip through time

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“The State of This World: Thought and the Arts,” the second of the Ashiya City Museum of Art and History’s “Art Trip” exhibitions, this time focuses on four contemporary artists’ works that are in some instances inspired by archaeology. They address issues of seen ...

'Eternal Treasures from Kasugataisha Shrine'

Jan 17, 2017

'Eternal Treasures from Kasugataisha Shrine'

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Jan. 17-March 12 Registered in 1998 as a World Heritage Site, Kasuga Grand Shrine was built in the eighth century as a prayer offering for the protection of Heijokyo, (the capital of Japan, 710-784) and for the prosperity of its people. The Tokyo National ...

Jochen Lempert: The photographic seer

Jan 10, 2017

Jochen Lempert: The photographic seer

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Jochen Lempert’s exhibition “Fieldwork” at the Izu Photo Museum has an ageless feel to it. The intentionally low contrast pictures of wildlife and natural phenomena almost look like they could be archive photos unearthed from the mid-19th century. However, they also have the cool ...

World War II: Yasuka Goto gets up close and personal

Jan 10, 2017

World War II: Yasuka Goto gets up close and personal

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Some artists from earlier generations like Tsuguharu Foujita (also known as Leonard Foujita) have been “outed” in the past decade or two and are now almost celebrated for producing incredibly complex propaganda paintings complicit with Japan’s World War II ideology. For others, however, such ...

Dec 31, 2016

Proposal for Hokusai exhibit at British Museum raises concern

Renowned ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai has been attracting renewed attention in Japan. In November, the Sumida Hokusai Museum opened in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, where Hokusai (1760-1849) spent most of his life, displaying about 1,800 items, including artworks and documents. The artist has recently been ...

Raku: A traditional contemporary art form

Dec 20, 2016

Raku: A traditional contemporary art form

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At the opening of “The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl: Transmitting a Secret Art Across Generations of the Raku Family” at The National Museum of Modern Art, in Kyoto, the current head of the Raku family, Kichizaemon XV (b. 1949), explained that the event ...

Collier reviews the power of observation

Dec 20, 2016

Collier reviews the power of observation

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To reframe Picasso’s famously pithy remark “good artists copy, and great artists steal” for the contemporary art scene, appropriation can be used in an artist’s work to borrow authority from history, or to subvert it. The iconoclasm of the latter can be satirical, as ...

Tokyo: photogenic to its very core

Dec 13, 2016

Tokyo: photogenic to its very core

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Care to take a guess what the new exhibition “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo” at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is about? In fact there are two exhibitions with the same name running concurrently, so it’s “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo” and “Tokyo, Tokyo and Tokyo.” ...

Young artists to keep your eye on

Dec 13, 2016

Young artists to keep your eye on

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In Kurt Vonnegut’s 1982 novel “Deadeye Dick,” a Japanese man walks into an all-night drugstore and gestures for the protagonist, Rudy Waltz, to follow him outdoors. There they gaze at the decapitated cupola of Rudy’s childhood home, glistening white in the moonlight. It reminds ...

Under Lucas Cranach's spell

Dec 6, 2016

Under Lucas Cranach's spell

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Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) is acknowledged as one of the greats of the German Renaissance. His combination of religious piety and fleshly eroticism went on to inspire artists across the globe, including many in Japan. Despite his standing worldwide, however, Cranach’s career and ...