Of Tempests in Teacups and Brushstrokes in Bento Boxes: Makoto Aida at Mizuma Art Gallery
Susan Rogers Chikuba
The announcement for Makoto Aida's solo show at Mizuma Art Gallery was alluring enough -- the always provocative conceptual artist, now 50, would take on "a completely new set of techniques, forms and materials," he didn't mind if the result prompted fans and detractors to swap places, and there would be a media blackout on all images until the exhibition opened. The one photo provided, of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was superimposed with a literary quote: "Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things." more..
DOBOKU: An Artful View into the World of Civil Engineering
Civil engineering as the subject of an exhibition is both rare and intriguing. DOBOKU: Civil Engineering, the current show at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in downtown Tokyo, provides an artful and even poetic look at the world of civil engineering in order to uncover its true importance. As Exhibition Director Hiroshi Nishimura points out, civil engineering plays an "unseen supporting role" in our lives that is rarely discussed despite providing the basis of our built environment. He further explains that, in fact, the times that civil engineering projects receive the most attention is when they fail in a disaster, and only then do we understand the intrinsic role that they have in our lives. more...
You Can't Go Home Again: Masatake Kozaki at Art Front Gallery
Masatake Kozaki gleefully wields an impressive arsenal of materials and techniques old and new, all with the confidence of a master. His influences are equally protean, ranging from the curious Nanban depictions of European culture by 16th-century artists and the Edo-period (1603-1867) scroll paintings of the Hyakki yagyo (Night Parade of 100 Demons) to Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. He paints on traditional hemp paper with mineral pigments, but mixes them with acrylics. He favors the roiling gold- and silver-foil cloud motifs that dominate screen paintings like the glorious 17th-century Rakuchu rakugai zu panoramas of Kyoto -- but his subject matter is anything but orthodox. more...