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History that's been brilliantly objectified

by Mio Yamada

When “A History of the World in 100 Objects” aired its final episode on Oct. 22, 2010, millions of loyal listeners eagerly tuned in. The BBC Radio 4 series, on which the current exhibition of British Museum artifacts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is based, had charted 2 million ...

From dusk till dawn at Roppongi Art Night

Apr 23, 2015

From dusk till dawn at Roppongi Art Night

by Mike Sunda

For all the criticism that can be levelled at the conventional “white cube” gallery space — its quasi-religious, sanitized hush and incongruity with large-scale interactive installations and other emergent forms of media art — as a visitor, it’s at least unlikely that you’ll wander ...

Diversity saved the Kano school

Apr 21, 2015

Diversity saved the Kano school

by Matthew Larking

Kyoto National Museum’s “Kano Painters of the Momoyama Period: Eitoku’s Legacy” is the follow up exhibition to the 2007 “Kano Eitoku, Momoyama Painter Extraordinaire” and focuses on Eitoku’s successors who produced work during the period 1596-1615. The current year marks the 400th anniversary of ...

Yoshihiko Ueda: a life with photography

Apr 21, 2015

Yoshihiko Ueda: a life with photography

by Stuart Munro

“What remains is future” were words written on a bag I saw someone carrying at Yoshihiko Ueda’s new exhibition “A life with Camera.” It’s the same phrase that appeared on badges Patti Smith handed out in New York nearly 10 years ago. Fittingly, her ...

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 ...

Kyotographie is jazzed up with notable photography

Apr 14, 2015

Kyotographie is jazzed up with notable photography

by John L. Tran

The curtain is about to rise on the 3rd Kyotographie festival of photography, and Lucille Reyboz, one of the two co-organizers, says that this is the most exciting but also most difficult time of the year. It’s a time to be “dokidoki” as she ...

Art's 20th-century identity crisis

Apr 7, 2015

Art's 20th-century identity crisis

by C.B. Liddell

The 20th century is rather like the teenager who never grew up — a century that saw itself as perpetually young, as the “modernist” culmination of history rather than part of the historical process. In short, an age guilty of “chronocentricism.” But, like all ...

Nylon references a synthetic world

Apr 7, 2015

Nylon references a synthetic world

by Daisuke Kikuchi

The Wish Less gallery is so named for a reason. Located on a quiet backstreet of Tabata in Tokyo, it advocates “wishing less” and “acting more” by offering itself as a meeting place for visitors to discover and talk about new art. “We wanted ...

There's no need to squint at the work of Guercino

Mar 26, 2015

There's no need to squint at the work of Guercino

by C.B. Liddell

History has not been kind to Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, the Italian Baroque painter who is better known by his artistic nickname, Guercino — “the Squinter.” Despite being one of the acknowledged greats of European painting during one of its finest periods, in recent times ...

Early photographers painted quite a pretty picture

Mar 26, 2015

Early photographers painted quite a pretty picture

by John L. Tran

One of the biggest problems with modern and contemporary art, for many people, is the seeming lack of skill or workmanship. The criticism is that contemporary art is a scam, in which the usual suspects are talentless fame-hungry artists, unscrupulous gallery owners and self-important ...

The Suzukis' coffee cups runneth over

Mar 19, 2015

The Suzukis' coffee cups runneth over

by Mio Yamada

Among the hundreds of gilded and finely painted cups and saucers of “Demitasse Cosmos: Glitter of Jewelry” at the Mitsui Memorial Museum is a modest set that may be easily overlooked. Emerald green in glaze, with a simple black handle and rim, it’s a ...

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

Mar 19, 2015

Impressions of spiritual intimacy

by C.B. Liddell

There are two theories about post-impressionist art. One is that it was a continuation of the modernist spirit of the impressionists, with the application of ever-more scientific principles of color and light to the depiction of objects. The other is that post-impressionism was a ...

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

Mar 12, 2015

Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate

by C.B. Liddell

Art Fair Tokyo, the city’s premier art showcase, is always a pleasure to experience, and I’m sure this year’s event, to be held March 20-22 at the Tokyo International Forum, will have much to offer. But part of the fun of following Art Fair ...