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C.B. Liddell
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 11, 2015
There's a residual energy to Cai Guo-Qiang's explosive works
Japanese artist Taro Okamoto once said, "Art is an explosion." This was despite the fact that his own works were carefully planned and developed, as the exhibition "Taro Okamoto's Paintings: From Impulse to Realization" at the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art made clear back in 2006. Okamoto's famous dictum,...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 11, 2015
The spooky side of Sanyutei Encho
For all sorts of reasons, summer is the season of ghosts in Japan. Accordingly, The University Art Museum in Tokyo is presenting an exhibition of work connected to Meiji Era (1867-1912) storyteller Sanyutei Encho (1839-1900). Encho practised the art of rakugo, a traditional and minimalist Japanese style...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 14, 2015
Pop culture show may be a bit off game
On paper, "Manga * Anime * Games From Japan," currently running at The National Art Center, Tokyo, sounds like a great show. The exhibition overview certainly makes a big pitch:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 7, 2015
Copies can help us see Leonardo da Vinci's original
Many historical exhibitions tend to be collections of whatever the museum in question can get their hands on, loosely united around a period, a theme, or the name of a famous artist. The exhibition that has just finished at the Bunkamura "Money and Beauty: Botticelli and the Renaissance in Florence"...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 19, 2015
Experience was not the mother of wisdom
It's something of a truism that the life of an artist heavily influences his or her work. No exhibition makes this clearer than "Utrillo & Valadon" at the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, which pairs the art of Maurice Utrillo, the famous painter of Parisian cityscapes, and...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 12, 2015
The Louvre's spin on art history
The futuristic-looking National Art Center Tokyo (NACT) seems like a rather unusual venue for an exhibition of mainly 17th- and 18th-century European art sourced from Paris's famous Louvre Museum. But while the Louvre's collections are very much rooted in the past, the French institution has also had...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 5, 2015
The Renaissance banked on art
All exhibitions that deal with the distant past inevitably fall into the trap of anachronism to some degree. This is especially true when they try to present a strong storyline that appeals to modern audiences, as the present exhibition at Bunkamura The Museum does with "Money and Beauty: Botticelli...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 14, 2015
The honeymoon phase of Japan and the West
Often, when two cultures meet, it can be very messy and lead to a lot of unpleasantness. The continuing inability of the West and Islam to understand each other suggests itself as a convenient example. This kind of conflict often boils down to a question of who will be master and who will be man, with...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 7, 2015
Art's 20th-century identity crisis
The 20th century is rather like the teenager who never grew up — a century that saw itself as perpetually young, as the "modernist" culmination of history rather than part of the historical process. In short, an age guilty of "chronocentricism." But, like all the other centuries, culled and packaged...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 26, 2015
There's no need to squint at the work of Guercino
History has not been kind to Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, the Italian Baroque painter who is better known by his artistic nickname, Guercino — "the Squinter."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 19, 2015
Impressions of spiritual intimacy
There are two theories about post-impressionist art. One is that it was a continuation of the modernist spirit of the impressionists, with the application of ever-more scientific principles of color and light to the depiction of objects. The other is that post-impressionism was a re-assertion of an artistic...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 12, 2015
Art Fair Tokyo seeks to educate
Art Fair Tokyo, the city's premier art showcase, is always a pleasure to experience, and I'm sure this year's event, to be held March 20-22 at the Tokyo International Forum, will have much to offer. But part of the fun of following Art Fair Tokyo is observing the constant struggle the event has to get...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 5, 2015
The flickering of Japan's contemporary art
Art used to be about what you could see, but now, thanks to a more "conceptual" approach, it is often about what cannot be seen. Except the artist still has to demonstrate in some way what it is that can't be seen — in other words, to make it visible.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 19, 2015
Neo-impressionism: color-coded familiarities
The term "neo-impressionism" suggests a sequel to impressionism and, just like with movie sequels, there is a faint lowering of expectations. But this is entirely the wrong way to approach "Neo-Impressionism: from Light to Color" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 12, 2015
How art deco stripped nudity of eroticism
When the Teien Museum of Art reopened late last year, after a period of refurbishment and expansion, the exhibition held was no real test for either the main building or the newly added annex. The art of Rei Naito was so minimalist that it seemed as though it was hardly there.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 5, 2015
Paris' melancholic life of the party
The painter Jules Pascin was the epitome of the cosmopolitan, bohemian artist who came to define Paris of the 1920s. The latest exhibition at the Panasonic Shiodome Museum looks at the life and art of this painter, who was an important feature of the Parisian art scene until his suicide in 1930 at the...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 29, 2015
Guiding the landscape of abstract painting
As the name suggests, the main concept behind the "Quintet" series of exhibitions that the Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art started running last year is to bring together five artists whose art harmonizes well, just like a musical quintet.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 22, 2015
Jiro Oyamada's dark side exposes his highlights
When it comes to selecting "tortured artists" — those driven to create from the deep wells of their souls by immense suffering — the 20th-century Japanese painter Jiro Oyamada must seem like a shoo-in. The Fuchu Art Museum, in the western suburbs of Tokyo, is now celebrating the 100th anniversary...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 8, 2015
There's method in artistic 'madness'
Jiro Takamatsu is not easy to understand. He was an idiosyncratic avant-garde artist who worked with a variety of materials to create arcane art that expressed philosophical ideas. This is immediately off-putting to some and intriguing to others. However, the exhibition "Takamatsu Jiro: Mysteries" at...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 25, 2014
From tradition to trash: Tokyo's art in 2014
This year has been a memorable one for art exhibitions at museums in Tokyo, with a surprisingly diverse array of shows and events, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, metropolitan and provincial.

Longform

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