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.” ...

The alchemy of the avant-garde

Nov 29, 2016

The alchemy of the avant-garde

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“Abanga-do,” the Japanese loan word derived from “avant-garde” has a relatively wider usage than the original French term. The political philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) originally coined “avant-garde” as a rallying cry for art of the early 19th century to be a medium of ...

Thomas Ruff: in the grand scheme of things

Oct 11, 2016

Thomas Ruff: in the grand scheme of things

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Thomas Ruff is one of the key figures of photography in the postmodern era, and his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, will probably already be pencilled into your calendar if you have any interest in contemporary art. His work, along with ...

Does ‘Provoke’ still push back today?

Aug 20, 2016

Does ‘Provoke’ still push back today?

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The year 1968 saw a wide range of actions directed against the Japanese government: Universities were occupied, protesters demonstrated en masse against Japan’s complicity in the Vietnam War and students mobilized to stop the transportation of Vietnam-bound jet fuel through Shinjuku Station. A quieter, ...