John L. Tran

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

Waking up to Asia's growing role in art

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." Both projects were ...

Duchamp and Japan: No rest for the urinal

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. Skepticism of the British graffiti artist's aesthetic value may not ...

Japonismes 2018 seeks to break down  cultural stereotypes

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 ...

A master of Zen wisdom and dad jokes

Art Oct 2, 2018

A master of Zen wisdom and dad jokes

Among Sengai's many depictions of tubby old men enjoying themselves is one outlier titled "An Old Man's Excuse," which shows a crotchety grump saying, "If it comes time for you to die, then it's good for you to die, but it's even better if ...

The art of architecture and photography

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.

Indulging in post-apocalyptic nostalgia

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.

Mami Kosemura says it with flowers

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.

Swedish roots in Japan's taxonomy

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.

Bertrand Lavier's 'Medley' blows hot and cold

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."