While walking through the courtyard of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art and interviewing critic Midori Matsui, a frog hopped out of the darkness, stopped for a moment in the light and then slipped back into the night. Matsui, who curated the Hara’s current exhibition, “Micropop,” had just been explaining in front of paintings by Tam Ochiai that what she looks for in works of art are things that disappear.

“I love the idea of a process captured by a static medium like painting,” said Matsui, one of the foremost guides to Japanese art for the rest of the world. Referring to Ochiai’s “a gentleman in the forest,” an abstract painting of broad green brush strokes, she explains, “It’s like in the book ‘The Little Prince.’ You have a box, and someone says there is a sheep inside, so there is a sheep inside. You must be the kind of person who sees the sheep. You must be able to see the gentleman in the forest — he’s dressed in green.”

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