NEWSWORTHY

Ike no Taiga: The 'true view' travel painter

Apr 24, 2018

Ike no Taiga: The 'true view' travel painter

by Matthew Larking

"The Genius of Ike no Taiga: Carefree Traveler, Legendary Painter," at Kyoto National Museum, is magisterial. Edo Period (1603-1868) Kyoto teemed with big name painters, but Taiga (1723-1776) was superlative. Taiga began the practice of calligraphy when a child, and was pseudo-certified in 1729 as ...

Koga: A pithy affair with the avant-garde

Mar 20, 2018

Koga: A pithy affair with the avant-garde

by John L. Tran

There are two good reasons to see the exhibition on the short-lived photography magazine Koga, now on at the Tokyo Photographic Art (TOP) Museum. One is that it is full of powerful images that will linger in the memory despite their relative simplicity. The ...

The cosmic talents of Noriyoshi Ohrai

Jan 16, 2018

The cosmic talents of Noriyoshi Ohrai

by John L. Tran

It must have been nonstop monsters, warships, hunks and epic boobage for much of Noriyoshi Ohrai's life. The retrospective exhibition, at the Ueno Royal Museum, of this incredibly prolific illustrator's work is a frenzied and spectacularly schlocky cosmos of sci-fi and action movie posters, magazines, ...

Mural painter can't relax in bathhouses

| Jan 13, 2018

Mural painter can't relax in bathhouses

by Ayako Nakano

Name: Mizuki Tanaka Age: 35 Nationality: Japanese Occupation: Sento (public bathhouse) mural painter Likes: Reading, art, movies Dislikes: Headaches 1. When did you first go to a public bathhouse and how did you like it? I went in my second year of university when I started to consider writing a ...

The zero hour of Kobe's avant-garde

Jan 2, 2018

The zero hour of Kobe's avant-garde

by Matthew Larking

Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art's present draw card is the Saint Petersburg collection, "Old Masters from the State Hermitage Museum." But on a lower level, at the far end of a long corridor gallery, are photos and grainy videos — the small-scale documentation of ...

Asia in the wings of Japan's art scene

Dec 12, 2017

Asia in the wings of Japan's art scene

by John L. Tran

"Tis the season to be jolly ... circumspect. As regards art, despite suggestions from some art professionals that biennials and other recurring art festivals are an exhausted format, 2017 offered up an embarrassment of riches, some more embarrassing than others as it turned out. The ...

Dec 12, 2017

Bohemia along the Sumida: In search of cultural capital

by John L. Tran

On paper, the Japanese government supports the arts, which are considered important vehicles for promoting Japanese culture globally, enhancing the country's image as a tourist destination and stimulating declining regional economies. But, where does the content for Japan's increasing number of art festivals actually ...

Hokusai's great wave that swept Europe

Dec 5, 2017

Hokusai's great wave that swept Europe

by Jeff Michael Hammond

Innovative, creative, and immensely prolific, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was celebrated during his lifetime in his native Japan. His works were among the first major examples of Japanese art to be widely appreciated overseas in the second half of the 19th century. "Hokusai and Japonisme" at ...

The beginning, end and rebirth of sculpture

Nov 28, 2017

The beginning, end and rebirth of sculpture

by Matthew Larking

The subtitle given to the retrospective of the 60-year career of Osaka-based Michio Fukuoka is oxymoronic: "A Sculptor Who No Longer Sculpts." He used to, but became frustrated and filled with doubt about creativity and so he made sculpture anyway, often about "doing nothing." Fukuoka's ...

Sachiko Kodama's laws of attraction

Nov 14, 2017

Sachiko Kodama's laws of attraction

by Matthew Larking

Entering the tatami-mat tearoom-style exhibition spaces at the back of Kyoto's specialist pewter art craft gallery, Seikado, spectators are apprised that the magnetism of the pieces on display might interfere with the strips on their credit cards. Those fitted with pacemakers are also asked ...

What makes a National Treasure?

Oct 31, 2017

What makes a National Treasure?

by Matthew Larking

Together, Japan's National Treasures provide a cacophonous ode to the nation and its heritage for its historical, cultural, geographical and stylistic dissonances. Yet, this is the first time in 41 years that 210 such works (or sets) have been displayed en masse. On their own, ...

Motonobu: The father of Kano styles

Oct 24, 2017

Motonobu: The father of Kano styles

by Jeff Michael Hammond

A family-run enterprise, the Kano school of painting was a consistent force in Japan's art world for more than 300 years, from the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) up until its fortune waned in the 19th century. "Celebrating a Decade in Roppongi, Kano Motonobu: All Under ...