Last week I saw in The Japan Times that there was an exhibition on the buildings designed by Kenzo Tange, one of my favorite Japanese architects, near Nogizaka station. Overall it was interesting, however, I would liked to have seen more pictures blown up like these in an outdoor exhibition. The exhibition at Gallery Ma is on until March 28th.
Over the weekend I attended California Design, 1930 - 1965: "Living in a Modern Way" at the National Art Center, Tokyo in Nogizaka. There were a variety of artifacts on display from jewelry and clothes to cars and surf boards. I was glad to see exhibition space for graphic artist Saul Bass known for inventive movie posters for movies like Anatomy of a Murder. It was also my first time to see an Avanti Studebaker.
A friend told me about the Musashi Miyamoto exhibiiton at the Eisie Bunko Museum in Bunkyo-ku near Meijiro station. So I decided to check it out on a pleasant spring day. This is the shrine outside the museum.
The stone gate in front of the sutra archives of the Hosokawa family
temple, in Kumamoto Prefecture. Built in Chinese-style, which is apparently rare in
Japan. Behind the stoen gate is another gate that leads to the lovely Shin Edogawa Park.
I was first introduced to the magnificent Maus books when I was doing my student teaching at Shorewood High School in 1994-1995. The faculty had selected it to use as a text in an English course there. I was fascinated by the story and the painstaking attention to detail that Art Spiegelman had infused in his masterpiece. It was such a strange text that included the meta-narrative of Spiegelman's relationship with his mother and father, an interlude, "Prisoner of Hell Planet" that noted and investigated the effect of his mother's suicide on the author, as well as self-denigrating insights about himself. It is a powerful book and I followed Spiegelman's career since discovering him as he became a presence at The New Yorker. So when I saw that MetaMaus (2011) had been published I knew that I would need to read it. It is a fascinating look at the production of the book, its reception, his family, and Spiegelman as the author/artist. It is a comprehensive look at the writing of a classic. The book itself is an artifact with high quality production design and dozens of high quality drawings, pictures, print reproductions, letters, and other various documents illustrating points that Spielgeman relates to his interviewer Hillary Chute, a professor in the English Department at the University of Chicago. There is an additional hyperlinked DVD with The Complete Maus and an in-depth archive of audio interviews with Spiegelman's father, photos, notebooks, drawings, essays, and other material. I found this useful while reading the book I could search out essays that Spiegelman referred to in his interview, like Larwence Whelscher's essay "Art's Father, Vladek's Son" that was originally published in Rolling Stone and Spiegelman's essay "Looney Tunes, Zionism, and the Jewish Question" from The Village Voice. This is a fascinating and informative companion to Spielgelman's classic Maus.
These tiny ceramic skulls were created by artist Nino Sarabutra for her exhibition at Ardell's Third Place Gallery on Thong Lor Soi 10. I read about the exhibition in Bangkok 101 (a must have resource when visiting Bangkok).
The recent exhibit at the Yokohoma Museum of Art is by Yoshitomo Nara whose sculpture ""Big White Ghost" is pictured above. My first exposure to his art was through album covers he made for artists like Shonen Knife and The Ramones (there was homage to them in one of his paintings "Hey Ho, Let's Go"). Not long after that he wa one of the featured artists in the collaborative "Super Flat" exhibition I saw at the Henry Art Gallery on the UW campus in 2000. Then in 2004 I saw his exhibition entitles "From the Depth of My Drawer" at the Hara Art Museum in Shinagawa. This time he added large metal sculptures to his repertoire and had many interesting paintings as well. Some of the drawings looked like they were dashed off in no time though. I liked most of his large scale paintings and those that were painted on wood surfaces. One of the more interesting ones was called "Can't Wait 'till Night Comes" which featured one of his child-like characters revealing a single vampire fang. I don't think the paintings/drawings on cardboard were as effective-they looked tossed off as well. However, Nara reveals humor with pieces like the room that had a shelf of Jesus statues with miniature bags over the heads with eyes drawn in. Another painting of a decapitated Hitler read "He's Bad, I'm Good." There were some odd blank spaces on the walls, which makes me wonder if he was supposed to have created more for the exhibition. The accompanying exhibition had several of his earlier works among classic and contemporary paintings from all over the world and with quite a few famous names like Picasso, Bacon, and others.
Sausage and beer cart in front of the museum-inspired by one of Nara's paintings.
This is a view from the 28th floor of the Shinjuku L Tower where the photo exhibit for Ahn Sehong "Comfort Women in China" was being held in the Nikon Plaza. No photographs were allowed and there was a strong security presence due to the the fear of protest or sabotage by right wingers. It is a sad story of women taken from Korea to China to be used as sex slaves in WWII, and then left there to fend for themselves. The fact many young Japanese are totally unaware of these war crimes is a point of contention since it is rarely mentioned in textbooks.
The Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum Of Art is having an interesting exhibition until the end of the month, April 26th, Harunobu・Kiyonaga・Utamaro and Their Ages. Utamaro is one of my favorite ukiyo-e artists and the subjects are mainly "bijin" (beautiful women). Only ¥700 for adults.