Art does not exist in a bubble. Contemporary events, like the terrorist attack on America, affect the way we look at it.

Viewing the eerie, white plaster sculptures of New York artist George Segal at Shibuya’s Bunkamura Museum of Art, it is hard not to be reminded of the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack. But Segal’s famous plaster-cast sculptures of real people, so evocative of death masks or the casts of those entombed in ash in Pompeii, are only one aspect of the artist’s work in this major retrospective of studio pieces. The exhibition, coming a little over a year after his sudden death at age 75, also offers an illuminating look at Segal’s early oil paintings, pastels and sculptures in relief.

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