John L. Tran

For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Sachiko Kazama: Objections on paper

Art Jul 2, 2019

Sachiko Kazama: Objections on paper

Sachiko Kazama's epic black-and-white compositions scratch at the history of Japanese fascism, refusing to let it hide behind prevarication and bad text books.

Tadanori Yokoo: From the shadows within

Art Jun 25, 2019

Tadanori Yokoo: From the shadows within

The blotchy, salty self-portrait that confronts you as you enter Tadanori Yokoo's exhibition of recent work "B29 and Homeland: From My Childhood to Andy Warhol" (2018) has a hangman's noose in the top left corner. This recalls one of the artist's most renowned works, ...

Ryuji Miyamoto: Looking back to go forward

Art Jun 4, 2019

Ryuji Miyamoto: Looking back to go forward

"Invisible Land" at the TOP Museum doesn't showcase Ryuji Miyamoto's best-known works. Instead, it offers insight into the photographer's development of a style that led to international recognition.

Yu Araki: What you get is what you see

Art May 28, 2019

Yu Araki: What you get is what you see

The minimalist elegance of Yu Araki's "Le Souvenir Du Japon" at first seems to be an affirmation of civilization and the redemptive possibilities of beauty; however, within the gorgeous setup is a postcolonial ambivalence about the social and historical conditions of "taste."

'Roppongi Crossing': The right connections

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. The museum's voluminous spaces lend themselves well to visually dramatic works that catch your attention in a flash before taking you ...

Kyotographie 2019: It's in the space

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 itself ...

Katsumi Asaba is having a good laugh

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."

Le Corbusier: Foundations of an architect

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.