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John L. Tran
For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 17, 2017
Koganecho: An old site in a new light
Koganecho Bazaar 2017's “Double Facade: Multiple Ways to Encounter the Other” show is a bit of a mess.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Oct 3, 2017
In the right light, every detail counts
At the tail end of an unexpectedly long conversation, the last question I ask photographer Keizo Kitajima is why it's important for him to have even lighting across the image. The photographs he is showing at the Photographers' Gallery in Shinjuku are part of his long-running "Untitled Records" series...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Sep 26, 2017
Kyoichi Sawada: Vietnam and home
Kyoichi Sawada's 1965 photo of a Vietnamese family fleeing the bombing of their village in Binh Dinh province, during the war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam and the U.S. and its allies, has become a landmark image of 20th-century history. A mother, grandmother, two young children and a baby...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 29, 2017
Brave new world of the post-human
Tobias Klein's "Augmented Mask," an installation that incorporates an elaborate 3-D printed mask, colorful projection mapping, a virtual reality headset and references a popular Chinese opera, looks a lot like future art as imagined in science fiction.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Aug 15, 2017
Dealing with connectivity and isolation at the Yokohama Triennale
As Akiko Miki, one of the three curators of this year's Yokohama Triennale, tries to wrap up a roundtable discussion titled "The Connecting World and the Isolating World" at the Yokohama Museum of Art, a question is shouted out from the back of the room.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 13, 2017
Reconstructing the Japanese house
After very successful runs in Rome and London, "The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945," an exhibition of maquettes, photographs, plans and drawings, is now in the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 30, 2017
Southeast Asian art gets its biggest showing in Japan
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Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 18, 2017
A bite of the virtual reality sandwich
What happens when you take the Nazi zombies, coin collecting, cuddly creatures, xenomorphs, etc., out of video games and you just wander around virtual reality?
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 7, 2017
Cultural construction boom aims to offset Hong Kong's business-like image
The theater stage is bathed in a luscious lavender hue, a color that in Chinese tradition signifies nobility and mystery — and portends things to come. A young couple, pure of heart, fall in love only to see their romance thwarted by the machinations of a corrupt bureaucrat. They declare their devotion...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 27, 2017
The scope of cultural displacement
Mercedes Benz Art Scope is an exchange program that allows Japanese artists to spend time in Germany and German artists to visit Japan. The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art has been a partner in this project since 2003, and in this year's group show, Stuttgart-based artist Menja Stevenson and Tama Art...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jun 20, 2017
Understanding Bruegel's Babel
Tokyoites, that is to say the 13 or so million people who somehow manage to live with the certain knowledge that chaos and confusion will be wrought on the city by a massive earthquake in the not too-distant future, have the opportunity to ponder Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 16th-century depiction of the...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 30, 2017
A Leiter shade of New York
Mix up Miles Davis, some French post-impressionism, Max Ernst, haiku by Matsuo Basho, experimental scores of Morton Feldman, Cubism, Utamaro shunga (erotic art) and Hokusai ukiyo-e, plus some Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline. Steep for 60-odd years. Saul Leiter's work is all that, but also...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 16, 2017
On the Daoism of 'Dudeism'
As the phrase goes, "s—- happens." Walead Beshty explores different ways that it may happen, and in doing so, he gently suggests that we consider the implications. His solo show at Rat Hole Gallery exemplifies this. There are two series of works: a selection of framed sheets of large-format film that...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
May 2, 2017
Ryuichi Sakamoto provides a soundtrack to life at 'async' exhibition
How has Ryuichi Sakamoto been able to harness melancholy so skillfully? How has he created such desperately sad music, and then managed to get up in the morning and do it again and again, over several decades?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Apr 4, 2017
Kusama and her infinite appeal
Yayoi Kusama's work has a direct and immediate visual impact. Her obsessions with dots, pumpkins and floppy phalluses have become big crowd pleasers after a spotty career of avant-garde agitation and mental-health issues. The auction house Christie's says she is "now the highest-selling living female...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 28, 2017
Then and now: time ripples in photography
There are two photography exhibitions currently showing at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum that are thematically and chronologically unrelated, but together make a strong testimony of the extent to which Japan embraced photography from its earliest beginnings, and how the medium is a strong suit in...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 14, 2017
Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show
Ballsy art collective Chim↑Pom have taken on Donald Trump's America in their solo exhibition "The other side." One of the most well-known contemporary iconoclasts in Japan, Chim↑Pom have previously caught rats before dyeing them yellow and red to resemble Pikachu and installing them on a Tokyo street,...
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Mar 11, 2017
Namie: one step forward, a few steps back
Evacuees from the Fukushima town of Namie are struggling to find a good reason to return to their homes.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 7, 2017
A gently explosive 'Blossom Blast'
Beware the loan word "feminizumu." If you ask accomplished, educated and gainfully employed Japanese women whether they are feminists, the adverse reaction can be confusing. I first came up against this in a seminar of women art-history students, who unanimously, and vehemently rejected the idea of being...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 7, 2017
'Physicatopia': Boys being boys
Being only a part-time art historian, but full-time gossip, I spend more time commiserating with my single female friends on the problem of "Why are there no great men?" than I ponder the rhetorical "Why have there been no great women artists?", as feminist art historian Linda Nochlin asked in 1971 (hint:...

Longform

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