Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

Jun 18, 2017

Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

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Little information remains about the personal life of the artisan Kojiro Shimizu. His personality and interests, his passions and motivations — all are shrouded in mystery. What we know is that he worked in Kyoto in the late 19th and early 20th century and ...

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

May 23, 2017

Kaikei: the name behind the gods

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Kamakura Period (1185-1333) Buddhist sculptures often come down to us under the individual names of makers (when known) though they were often fashioned in workshops by multiple hands. A significant 13th-century work would employ a dozen or so team members and assistants and draw ...

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

Apr 25, 2017

Kaiho Yusho: painting privilege

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The Momoyama Period (1573-1615) artist Kaiho Yusho (1533-1615) was renowned among the elite painters of his time, and still is. More remarkable, however, is that fame came when he was in his 60s during what is called his “early” period. Over the following two ...

Ken Domon and the artistry of real life

Apr 16, 2017

Ken Domon and the artistry of real life

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By 1957, photographer Ken Domon had reached the peak of his creative powers. A picture taken that year in Hiroshima, which he was visiting for the first time to chronicle the lingering effect of the bomb, shows him supremely confident: ram-rod straight on a ...

Kakiemon: Generations of beauty

Apr 11, 2017

Kakiemon: Generations of beauty

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There’s still time to enjoy cherry blossoms. Through May 14, the Toguri Museum of Art in Tokyo is exhibiting a stunning new work by Sakaida Kakiemon XV, the current inheritor of one of the most famous names in Japanese porcelain. The very large lidded ...

Kusama and her infinite appeal

Apr 4, 2017

Kusama and her infinite appeal

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Yayoi Kusama’s work has a direct and immediate visual impact. Her obsessions with dots, pumpkins and floppy phalluses have become big crowd pleasers after a spotty career of avant-garde agitation and mental-health issues. The auction house Christie’s says she is “now the highest-selling living ...

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

Mar 28, 2017

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

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Sai Hashizume’s latest exhibition of precision realist painting, “This Isn’t Happiness,” is about updating some of the masters of Western art history. In her five new works, she deals prominently with the surrealist Rene Magritte and Vincent Van Gogh. She also adopts the ominous ...

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

Mar 14, 2017

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

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Masaaki Yamada (1929-2010) is like a mystery man of modernism. He apparently had no specialist art training of note and is known only by a skeleton biography that is mostly blank before 1943, and patchy thereafter. Said to have begun painting from the so-called ...

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

Mar 14, 2017

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

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Ballsy art collective Chim↑Pom have taken on Donald Trump’s America in their solo exhibition “The other side.” One of the most well-known contemporary iconoclasts in Japan, Chim↑Pom have previously caught rats before dyeing them yellow and red to resemble Pikachu and installing them on ...