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Take a dip into the art of darkness

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Terror and tragedy are widely considered entirely disagreeable in principle. But audiences have for millennia taken pleasure in the pain of narrative spectacles in the arts. Fear is popular because it arouses curiosity in addition to revulsion. So, too, does the assemblage of Western works from the 16th to 20th ...

Buddhist hells are frighteningly human

Aug 8, 2017

Buddhist hells are frighteningly human

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Popularly known as Genshin (942-1017), the high-ranking Buddhist prelate Eshin Sozu was said to have been born following his devout mother's prayers to the Kannon of Takaoji Temple in Taima, Nara Prefecture. Genshin began the road to monkhood in youth, studying at Kyoto's Enryakuji Temple ...

Belgium's artistic flights of fancy

Aug 1, 2017

Belgium's artistic flights of fancy

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Diabolic torture inflicted on the ungodly; unspeakable yearnings straight out of the subconscious — the country now known as Belgium has given the world over five centuries' worth of depictions of the unimaginable. "Fantastic Art in Belgium" at The Bunkamura Museum of Art places Hieronymus ...

Straddling East and West in art

Jul 25, 2017

Straddling East and West in art

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Hybridity and eclecticism may be key concepts in much contemporary art, yet they are not new phenomena. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), Tetsugoro Yorozu virtually personified the idea of hybrid art: As Japan rushed toward modernization, he not only experimented with the very latest ...

A bite of the virtual reality sandwich

Jul 18, 2017

A bite of the virtual reality sandwich

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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? While pondering that, we could also ask, "How realistic is it to be Utopian?," "What is life without work?" and "How ...

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Jul 16, 2017

A tribute to the women of '70s Okinawa

Photographer Mao Ishikawa, whose work frequently depicts personal, political and racial intersections in her native Okinawa, has published a new volume revisiting her 1970s portraits of Japanese bar hostesses and U.S. servicemen near the Kadena Air Base. "Red Flower: The Women of Okinawa" ("Akabana: Okinawa ...

Painting between the lines

Jul 11, 2017

Painting between the lines

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The pairing of Hideki Kimura's prints with the seemingly sculptural assemblages of Sadaharu Horio is perhaps unexpected. What draws them together, however, are conceptions of their practices as painting. Both veterans of Japan's contemporary art scene, they pursue painting by other means, working within ...

Eating the dreams of Keiichi Tanaami

Jul 4, 2017

Eating the dreams of Keiichi Tanaami

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"Kurai" ("It's dark") says someone as we open the door at the new entrance of Nanzuka gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo. Yet, the freshly painted black walls and dimly lit stairs inside set the mood for a gallery specializing in underground art, and provide the ...

The scope of cultural displacement

Jun 27, 2017

The scope of cultural displacement

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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 ...