An unexplained howl

| Nov 9, 2006

An unexplained howl

by Monty Dipietro

I don’t much care for those explanatory texts we call “artists’ statements,” because if an artist has to explain a work of art, then it simply isn’t standing on its own. Artists who spell out what their art means (and, in doing so, establish ...

Slow-motion revelations

| Oct 26, 2006

Slow-motion revelations

by Monty Dipietro

A group of people who do not know one another, but are united in a common purpose — possibly waiting for a bus — stand together in a tightly cropped long shot. One is reading a book, another is listening to music through headphones. ...

Artist sees it upsidedown

| Oct 12, 2006

Artist sees it upsidedown

by Monty Dipietro

The new exhibition at the Zenshi gallery in Kiyosumi is a breath of fresh air. Mikolaj Polinski’s “One Day in Paradise” does not attempt to overwhelm the viewer with scale or new media technology, rather it operates from the simple but increasingly overlooked premise ...

Tokyo Art Beat makes audience artists

| Sep 21, 2006

Tokyo Art Beat makes audience artists

by Monty Dipietro

After two years as the city’s best source for museum and gallery listings, Tokyo Art Beat (TAB, www.tokyoartbeat.com) is now getting involved in the production of exhibitions. In conjunction with Mozilla, creators of the popular Firefox browser, TAB and their associate entity Gadago are ...

Photographers lost in Hokkaido with models

| Sep 14, 2006

Photographers lost in Hokkaido with models

by Monty Dipietro

It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that corporations are getting involved in art exhibitions. Now that we’ve all but got used to bountiful product placement in movies, why shouldn’t brands make their way into art shows? Where will it stop, I wonder — ...

Meat as modern art

| Sep 7, 2006

Meat as modern art

by Monty Dipietro

I’ve pretty much stopped watching nature documentaries on TV because when an animal, say, a rabbit, is presented, and I see it born and then frolic and so on, I can’t help developing feelings for it. Then — and it usually doesn’t take very ...

Contemporary Japanese edition prints

| Aug 24, 2006

Contemporary Japanese edition prints

by Monty Dipietro

Many local goodies appeal to the expat population of Japan — kimono, sake and next-generation electronic goods to name a few. The area of fine arts, however, can be daunting, with most paintings and even photographs by established contemporary artists priced from the millions ...

Finally hitting the local

| Jul 27, 2006

Finally hitting the local

by Monty Dipietro

It occurred to me recently that in the more than five years I’ve been covering contemporary art for The Japan Times, I’ve never once written about the gallery I visit most frequently — The Konica Minolta Gallery in Shinjuku. There are three galleries on ...

Soaking up the 'male gaze'

| Jul 13, 2006

Soaking up the 'male gaze'

by Monty Dipietro

What to make of photographs of blue tarpaulins, mobiles of cigarette butts and bathroom sponges folded to suggest a woman’s derriere? I’m not sure, but I like it. I really don’t think artist Takaaki Izumi means to be abstruse, but his work is certainly ...

An animist explores old themes

| Jul 6, 2006

An animist explores old themes

by Monty Dipietro

Over the last few years, the traditional art form of nihonga has emerged as a player on the Japanese contemporary art scene. I can only guess why this is — something connected to nostalgia or nationalism perhaps? Or could it be that growing social ...

Lighting up suburban Tokyo nights

| Jun 22, 2006

Lighting up suburban Tokyo nights

by Monty Dipietro

What a concept: Imagine if you could see as clearly and in as much detail at midnight as you can at noon. The desire for night vision is an old one, but frankly the visions provided by new technologies have not impressed me — ...