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Jeff Michael Hammond
For Jeff Michael Hammond's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 11, 2011
The Centre Pompidou brings the surreal to Tokyo
In its passage from the art world into everyday speech, the word "surreal" has ended up as mere shorthand for the bizarre and the unusual. But it originally referred to something deeper.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 25, 2011
Asian art challenges Western museums' way of thinking
Art from Asia has enjoyed increased global interest in the past few decades, which has brought major changes to the way in which the art scene now views this hitherto neglected region. In a special symposium, "How is the World Engaging with Contemporary Asian Art?," at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo on Feb. 17, directors of a number of the world's most renowned art museums explained, through short individual presentations and a discussion forum, how Asian art is being reflected through their institutions' programming and acquisitions, and what further work needs to be done.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 19, 2010
The man who popularized the Edo pleasure district
The Yoshiwara pleasure district of Edo (old Tokyo) has often been immortalized in word and image for the exquisite carnal pleasures it offered.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art / ART BRIEF
Nov 12, 2010
'"Home Sweet Home" by Invader'
Gallery Target
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 8, 2010
What artists see in themselves
Visitors to Florence in Italy have long been awed by the works in two of the city's finest museums: the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace. But, perhaps preoccupied by prime examples of Raphael, Botticelli and other Renaissance artists, many visitors let their stay come to an end without enjoying the walk along the elevated Vasari Corridor, which links the two museums (and the Palazzo Vecchio). It's a shame, because the corridor shouldn't be overlooked. By appointment only, a visit would reveal a vast array of other artworks, including the majority of the Uffizi's collection of more than 1,700 self-portraits of master artists.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 24, 2010
Women of quiet strength
Female artists play a significant role in Japan's art world today, but a century ago, only a few women made a mark in the then male-dominated field. Shoen Uemura stands out as one of the most successful, a status she earned through the relentless study and perfection of her chosen theme of bijin-ga — pictures of beautiful women.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 17, 2010
Shedding some light on shadows
What follows you around nearly everywhere but you never notice?
CULTURE / Art
Oct 30, 2009
Verner Panton's colorful visions
Experimentation, playfulness, adventure. Through the example of maverick Danish designer Verner Panton, these words have entered the lexicon of many designers today.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 23, 2009
Unified by Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau's birth at the end of the 1900s not only affected the art world but also radically transformed the public's visual awareness, helping to propel product design, graphic design, typography and manufacturing into the 20th century.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 14, 2009
Mexico's search for an artistic identity
What kind of art would best represent a rapidly developing country coming out of the social upheaval of a violent revolution — especially when it had, only a century before that, just thrown off the yoke of colonial rule? Twentieth-century Mexico faced just this question — how it attempted to answer it can be seen in the exhibition "Camino A La Modernidad (The Road to Modernism)" at the Setagaya Art Museum. Staged to commemorate the 400th anniversary of relations between Mexico and Japan, the exhibition brings together 70 works, the largest-ever collection of modern Mexican art to be shown in Japan.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 7, 2009
Allowing ourselves to be deceived by art
Whether enjoying the sight of shadow puppets against a wall or the suggestive placing of objects in an Austin Powers movie, people have long delighted in the playful use of images.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 26, 2009
A creative life that blossomed in the asylum
To view the pictures of Aloise Corbaz is to enter a fantastic, colorful world of a beautiful young woman with her handsome suitor, filled with carriages and crowns, roses and nights at the opera. The belle is Aloise herself, or, perhaps more precisely, Aloise's ideal self, center stage in a theatrical production far from her routine existence in a Swiss home for the mentally ill.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 22, 2009
Rothkos reunited in Chiba
The surfaces of Mark Rothko's canvases loom large, impenetrable and formidable, inviting you in but simultaneously denying you entry. Their deceptive simplicity has long posed a riddle to those who stand before them.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 8, 2009
Cubism remixed at a European crossroads
Cubism, as it emerged from the experiments of the painters Pablo Picasso and George Braque, was for some a necessary but limited artistic investigation in the 20th century. For others, though, it offered a blueprint for a new language, as in that part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that became Czechoslovakia, where it influenced sculpture, painting and architecture.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art / ART BRIEF
Apr 17, 2009
Yuki Tawada: "Missing Folklore"
For some photographers, the decisive moment for a photograph is the second the shutter is pressed. For others, the darkroom offers a host of possibilities: tonal variations, framing, paper quality, even superimposition. For Japanese photographer Yuki Tawada, the artwork is not considered finished even when the printing process has been completed, as the paper and the image itself can still be manipulated for new visual and emotional effects.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 5, 2009
Creative dialogue
While it's not unknown for practitioners of the fine arts to gain fame and fortune almost overnight these days, (even through notoriety rather than talent), only a handful of artists in the graphic design field have gained worldwide recognition. Britain's Neville Brody is one.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 23, 2009
Crossing borderlines of consciousness
Most of us have experienced waking up in a strange room, perhaps in a hotel or a friend's house, and, for a split second, not knowing where we are — that fuzzy, vague feeling in the twilight zone between waking and dreaming. Imagine having those same feelings when waking up in your own, usually familiar, room, as though you had partially lost your memory or sense of identity.

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