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Leiji Matsumoto surfs the floating world

Apr 2, 2017

Leiji Matsumoto surfs the floating world

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The work of manga artist Leiji Matsumoto mixes historical periods, themes and technologies, often in a science-fiction setting: His signature comics involve steam locomotives and reborn World War II battleships sailing among the stars. These grand flights of fancy, which have found fans around ...

Then and now: time ripples in photography

Mar 28, 2017

Then and now: time ripples in photography

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There are two photography exhibitions currently showing at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum that are thematically and chronologically unrelated, but together make a strong testimony of the extent to which Japan embraced photography from its earliest beginnings, and how the medium is a strong ...

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

Mar 28, 2017

The tortured artist is not just a cliche

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Sai Hashizume’s latest exhibition of precision realist painting, “This Isn’t Happiness,” is about updating some of the masters of Western art history. In her five new works, she deals prominently with the surrealist Rene Magritte and Vincent Van Gogh. She also adopts the ominous ...

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

Mar 14, 2017

Masaaki Yamada: A painter of all stripes and colors

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Masaaki Yamada (1929-2010) is like a mystery man of modernism. He apparently had no specialist art training of note and is known only by a skeleton biography that is mostly blank before 1943, and patchy thereafter. Said to have begun painting from the so-called ...

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

Mar 14, 2017

Borders in question for Chim↑Pom's new art show

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Ballsy art collective Chim↑Pom have taken on Donald Trump’s America in their solo exhibition “The other side.” One of the most well-known contemporary iconoclasts in Japan, Chim↑Pom have previously caught rats before dyeing them yellow and red to resemble Pikachu and installing them on ...

A gently explosive 'Blossom Blast'

Mar 7, 2017

A gently explosive 'Blossom Blast'

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Beware the loan word “feminizumu.” If you ask accomplished, educated and gainfully employed Japanese women whether they are feminists, the adverse reaction can be confusing. I first came up against this in a seminar of women art-history students, who unanimously, and vehemently rejected the ...

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

Mar 7, 2017

'Physicatopia': Boys being boys

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Being only a part-time art historian, but full-time gossip, I spend more time commiserating with my single female friends on the problem of “Why are there no great men?” than I ponder the rhetorical “Why have there been no great women artists?”, as feminist ...

New digital exhibit on Japanese cuisine filling visitors' senses

Mar 1, 2017

New digital exhibit on Japanese cuisine filling visitors' senses

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An exhibition in downtown Tokyo is offering unique opportunities to experience washoku (Japanese cuisine) using the five senses in interactive digital displays that allow visitors to follow the scent of soup stock and actually taste traditional dishes. “The Mysterious Restaurant of the Food God” ...

Big impressions live in the details

Feb 28, 2017

Big impressions live in the details

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Distracted by the frenzy of today’s hyper-connected world, many of us can easily overlook the everyday incidents that encourage smiles or offer simple affirmations of life being lived. The India-born artist N.S. Harsha, however, thrives on such observations. As his solo exhibition at the ...

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

Feb 28, 2017

Coutelas: Outside the outsiders

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Robert Coutelas (1930-85) was born into a poor French family who lived in a single room, and he died in a similar, pathetically impoverished, way. Nearly every opportunity life afforded he either abandoned or would broker no compromise for the sake of art. Now, ...

Sharpen your knowledge of Japanese swords

Feb 14, 2017

Sharpen your knowledge of Japanese swords

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If you’ve ever wanted to learn about Japanese swords, now’s the time, as an unusually large number of top-quality blades are currently on view at two Tokyo museums. Either exhibition is well worth a visit but together they’re dynamite. “Perfect Guide to Japanese Sword” ...