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Jeff Michael Hammond
For Jeff Michael Hammond's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 8, 2020
'Dumb Type': When actions speak the loudest
Dumb Type's thought-provoking performances and installations explore the influence of technology on humankind.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 22, 2019
The glitz and glamour of the Liechtensteins
For 'A Jewel Box from Europe: Treasures from the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein,' Bunkamura, The Museum, has brought over 120 pieces from the collection for a rare visit to Japan — only once before have items from the collection come to these shores.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 23, 2019
The art of play: Japan's history of fun
'Styles of Play: The History of Merrymaking in Art' at the Suntory Museum of Art delves into various amusements,with over 100 exhibits, ranging from the Muromachi Period (1392-1573) to the Edo Period (1603-1868).
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 7, 2019
Gustav Klimt: Behind all that glitters
Decorative gold surfaces and images of radiant women define the work of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) for many people. The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum's current exhibition, however, highlights lesser-known aspects of the Austrian artist's career, offering more insight into the man behind the works.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 19, 2019
Toshiko Okanoue gives us pieces of her mind
Despite being unaware of the surrealists in Europe, Toshiko Okanoue created collages that were so unusual for the 1950s, they caught the attention of Shuzo Takiguchi, the leader of Japan's surrealism movement.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 13, 2018
Connecting Rubens and the Baroque
Suffering saints and sultry nudes — Peter Paul Rubens has them all. The Flemish painter (1577-1640) took on a variety of subject matter, and also had a hand in pushing predominant tastes from the Renaissance's revival of classical ideas to the more elaborate experiments of the Baroque period that followed.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 24, 2018
Jomon art: Japan's prehistoric charm
Fertile periods of artistic endeavor are not hard to come by in Japanese history. Many would cite the Edo, Muromachi or Heian periods. The Tokyo National Museum, however, reminds visitors of one era often forgotten — the ancient Jomon Period.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 23, 2018
The explorations of Emperor Rudolf II
The strides in Western culture that took place around the 16th century are all too often associated with the Italian Renaissance, but other centers of learning in Europe deserve equal attention. Of note is Prague, where Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor from the House of Habsburg, supported developments in art, and sponsored research into the sciences, including mathematics, astronomy and alchemy. As a collector, Rudolf (1552-1612) amassed a wide range of artifacts from all these fields.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 5, 2017
Hokusai's great wave that swept Europe
Innovative, creative, and immensely prolific, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was celebrated during his lifetime in his native Japan. His works were among the first major examples of Japanese art to be widely appreciated overseas in the second half of the 19th century.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 24, 2017
Motonobu: The father of Kano styles
A family-run enterprise, the Kano school of painting was a consistent force in Japan's art world for more than 300 years, from the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) up until its fortune waned in the 19th century.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 1, 2017
Belgium's artistic flights of fancy
Diabolic torture inflicted on the ungodly; unspeakable yearnings straight out of the subconscious — the country now known as Belgium has given the world over five centuries' worth of depictions of the unimaginable.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 25, 2017
Straddling East and West in art
Hybridity and eclecticism may be key concepts in much contemporary art, yet they are not new phenomena. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), Tetsugoro Yorozu virtually personified the idea of hybrid art: As Japan rushed toward modernization, he not only experimented with the very latest forms of Western art then flooding in, but re-examined aspects of Asian art being neglected.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 28, 2017
Big impressions live in the details
Distracted by the frenzy of today's hyper-connected world, many of us can easily overlook the everyday incidents that encourage smiles or offer simple affirmations of life being lived.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 6, 2016
Under Lucas Cranach's spell
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 legacy have only now become the subject of a large-scale exhibition in this country.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 20, 2016
Suzuki Kiitsu: Bringing modernity to Rimpa
The artist Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) was long considered a late and somewhat minor player in the Rimpa school, which emerged in Kyoto early in the Edo Period (1603-1868). The Suntory Museum of Art's current exhibition now re-evaluates Kiitsu's career and his contributions to this tradition. "Suzuki Kiitsu Standard Bearer of the Edo Rimpa School" brings together just over 200 works by the artist and those in his immediate circle.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 13, 2016
Nam June Paik has the last laugh
Rapid, multilayered, fluid — the high-tech images created by Nam June Paik earned him the epithet the Father of Video Art. He may be most often associated with banks of television screens and intense, distorted video images, but as a new retrospective of his work at the Watarium (The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art) in Tokyo highlights, there was more to Paik's art than a fascination with technology.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 28, 2016
Paris' Pompidou waves the flag of French art
Seven decades of art history; one masterpiece for every year, each created by a different artist from France or closely connected with the country; and all from the collection of an iconic Paris art institution — that's the premise of the current exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 10, 2016
The Medici loved trinkets of power
For over three centuries the Medici family dominated Renaissance Florence and much of its economic, political and cultural life. In the arts, the wealthy family is largely remembered for its patronage of painting, sculpture and grand architecture, but a new exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum suggests that the objects most highly valued by the Medici were often those you could hold in the palm of your hand. "Gems and Jewellery of the Medici" introduces more than 70 objects from the family's collection, including rings, pendants and cameos as well as paintings showing how they were worn and the function they served — be it decorative, social or even political.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 15, 2015
Whistler: The misunderstood artistic rebel
Though his paintings may not look radical to us today, in his time, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) often faced incomprehension — both through interpretations of his art and his own uncompromising stance toward it. Museumgoers in Japan now have a rare opportunity to decide for themselves the merits of his work, as the "James McNeill Whistler Retrospective" at the Yokohama Museum of Art is the first of its kind to be held in 20 years.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 14, 2014
How Japan's art inspired the West
In the decades after Japan was forcibly opened to large-scale international trade in the early 1850s, a fever spread across Europe for items from the exotic country: its textiles, ceramics, paper fans, woodblock prints and more. Meanwhile, the term "Japonism" was coined to describe works made in Europe and the U.S. that incorporated motifs and aesthetic principles from the fresh new imagery that adorned such imported goods.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on