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John L. Tran
For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 21, 2019
'Roppongi Crossing': The right connections
If you're going to see big cartoon characters in an art gallery, the Mori Art Museum (MAM) is a good place to do it.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 18, 2019
Kyotographie 2019: It's in the space
The banner image for "Vibe," the seventh edition of the Kyotographie International Photography Festival, is Scotsman Albert Watson's sepia-tinted portrait of Ryuichi Sakamoto, which was used for the musician's 1989 album "Beauty." It's an outrageously self-indulgent image, but so gorgeous, and the album...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 7, 2019
Art Basel Hong Kong: All the fun of the international art fair
As Hong Kong continues to rise as a hub of Asian contemporary art, Art Basel Hong Kong introduces a clutch of Japanese artists with plenty to say.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 2, 2019
Katsumi Asaba is having a good laugh
One of Japan's top art directors brings together the mischievous, the comical and the jokers for an exhibition to prove 'Humor is the heart of communication.'
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / 20 QUESTIONS
Mar 23, 2019
Hiroki Ogasawara: Looking for a truly multicultural Japan
From the Olympics to English education, sociology professor Ogasawara has plenty to say about the state of Japan today.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 19, 2019
Le Corbusier: Foundations of an architect
The National Museum of Western Art's survey of Le Corbusier is a revealing origins story that suggests his architectural creative vision may have had its roots in painting.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 10, 2019
The art of video games: We're not just playing around anymore
As comment on the gaming industry, and by extrapolation, the human condition, 'In a Gamescape' at the NTT Intercommunication Center at times pretty merciless. But visitors should still play it out.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jan 8, 2019
'Beyond the End: Ruins in Art History': What kind of beauty lies beneath ruins?
The exploration of the subject of ruins — their romanticization and fantasization — raises questions about the relationship between art, beauty and disaster.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 12, 2018
In 2018, art came via many anniversaries in Japan
This year saw a lot of anniversaries in Japan. It was 1868 when Crown Prince Mutsuhito became the Emperor Meiji, the official policy of national isolation ended and the country was set on a course to become a modern industrialized nation-state. This birthday seems like it could have been a great time...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Dec 4, 2018
'Les Mains sans Sommeil': It's not what you do, it's the way you do it
'Les Mains Sans Sommeil' is an ode to handiwork by Hermes artists-in-residence, whose experimental textile works wrestle with beauty and desire in surprising ways.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 28, 2018
Shinzo Fukuhara: Shiseido's patron of beauty
As an artist, Shinzo Fukuhara may not be a household name, but his production of a photography magazine, founding of the Shiseido Gallery and writings on aesthetics were seminal to the development of art photography in Japan.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 6, 2018
Waking up to Asia's growing role in art
One year after The National Art Center, Tokyo, and the Mori Art Museum presented the expansive "Sunshower: Contemporary Art From Southeast Asia 1980s to Now," The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, (MOMAT) has unveiled "Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s-1990s."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 28, 2018
Duchamp and Japan: No rest for the urinal
If you want someone to blame for Banksy's stunt of shredding "Girl With Balloon" after selling it for $1.4 million at auction, your prime suspect currently has a major retrospective at the Tokyo National Museum.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Oct 20, 2018
Japonismes 2018 seeks to break down cultural stereotypes
A stupendous full autumn moon, bright orange and fat, flashes intermittently between the nondescript high-rise flats and offices on the drive to Charles de Gaulle Airport. It's an apt and beautiful reminder of one of the events that we, a group of Tokyo-based editors and writers, were invited to see...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 2, 2018
A master of Zen wisdom and dad jokes
If you are an older chubby man with a receding hairline and facing nothing but a decline into old age and death, there's always the work of Zen monk Sengai Gibon (1750-1837) to fall back on.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 18, 2018
The art of architecture and photography
The current exhibition at Archi-Depot, 'A Gaze into Architecture: Phases of Contemporary Photography and Architecture' features the work of 13 artists, of whom more than half are Japanese. All the work is exceptional.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 4, 2018
Indulging in post-apocalyptic nostalgia
With a theme of total annihilation and a techno-horror aesthetic, Hiroki Tsukuda's exhibition at Nanzuka sounds like it would be grim, but this isn't the work of a hopeless nihilist.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 14, 2018
Mami Kosemura says it with flowers
Where Flemish still-life painters combined fruit, vegetables and flowers that could not normally be picked in the same season, and portrayed them together in an imaginary, but highly realistic pictorial space, Kosemura uses contemporary tools to achieve the same with photographic detail.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 7, 2018
Swedish roots in Japan's taxonomy
While Japan's historical sakoku period of isolation may have limited any contact it had with Sweden what did transpire between the two nations is of historical, scientific and artistic importance.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 31, 2018
Bertrand Lavier's 'Medley' blows hot and cold
Bertrand Lavier seems to relish messing with our cognitive dissonance. As the self-taught artist, who originally studied horticulture, put it in a 2016 interview, 'Art is a matter of paradoxes on nearly every level.'

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan