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Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering short reviews of 20 exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout Japan over the past two or three months, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

1 May 2007
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Emi Shudo
Emi Shudo: Art Shows in Japan
6-11 March 2007
Gallery Haneusagi
(Kyoto)
Shudo draws her inspiration from art show flyers, making collages or layered, semi-3D reproductions of them. The artist says: "The full-color flyers that promote art shows in Japan feature not only ad copy but miniature images of famous works, and you can take as many as you want home with you. To me they contain many hidden possibilities."
Takamitsu Kido
Takamitsu Kido: Enduring Intent, Vol. 13
26 February - 10 March 2007
Gallery 21+Yo
(Tokyo)
Kido uses water and its ever-changing forms as a sculptural medium. In this exhibition, which invites viewer participation, the artist (or visitor) sits in a circular boat floating in a larger circular tank of inky, oily water, and creates patterns in the water with an oar.
Isaho Harada
Isaho Harada: "Burgeoning Malice and Bold Masturbation"
27 February - 4 March 2007
Galerie 16
(Kyoto)
Harada sews together clumps of stuffed dolls of popular characters like Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh to create monstrous objects that bring out something ugly and discomforting in these relentlessly "cute" images.
Issei Suda
Issei Suda: Okinawa
20 February - 16 March 2007
Big Stone Gallery
(Osaka)
A photographer since the 1960s, Suda created the prints in his recent Okinawa series, the subject of this show, by taking still photos of projected images from an 8-mm film he shot in Okinawa. The rough-textured images seem to evoke forgotten memories.
Gen Yamanaka
Gen Yamanaka: New Works
23 February - 17 March 2007
Galerie Miyawaki
(Kyoto)
One of Japan's most popular contemporary woodblock print artists, Yamanaka exhibits his work frequently throughout the country. His compositions are known for their gentle lines, geometric shapes, and subdued colors.
Wonder Seeds 2007
Wonder Seeds 2007
28 February - 18 March 2007
Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya
(Tokyo)
Wonder Seeds is a public subscription show that helps expose young artists to a wider audience. Visitors are encouraged to purchase the works on display, which are limited to small, two-dimensional pieces (paintings, prints, photographs) selected from submissions by artists throughout Japan.
Osaka Art Kaleidoscope 2007
Osaka Art Kaleidoscope 2007: Encountering Great Osaka
1-21 March 2007
Osaka Contemporary Art Center
(+15 other venues )
(Osaka)
Japan's second city, Osaka flourished especially during the 1920s, when it was nicknamed "Great Osaka." Spread throughout the city in neighborhoods and art-deco buildings representative of that era, this show of works by some 30 artists and architects attempts to rediscover that golden age.
Kaori Okano
Kaori Okano
5-24 March 2007
Cubic Gallery
(Osaka)
Okano fills her canvases with round, geometric motifs like grapes, grapefruits, and four-leaf clovers, backlighting them in a way that brings out subtle nuances in her work. The show achieves an attractive balance of large and small pieces, variation in color and spatial depth, and the coexistence of masculinity and femininity, solidity and softness.
Nobuhiko Utsumi
Nobuhiko Utsumi: Autopoietic multiverse series
5-24 March 2007
Gallery Natsuka
(Tokyo)
Utsumi says of his paintings: "Wind and heat combine with water and pigments to create shapes that trigger a universe inside me, transforming my consciousness. This universe, with its eternal cycle of birth and death, finds form in my work, reminding me of the vast cosmos whose evolution is recorded in the billions of cells in my body."
Titi Freak
Titi Freak
6-24 March 2007
Fukugan Gallery
(Osaka)
A solo exhibit by young Japanese-Brazilian graffiti artist Hamilton Yokota, a.k.a. Titi Freak, who began working for a comic strip studio when he was 13 in Sao Paolo and has been drawing graffiti since 1995. His work is inspired by the lives and behavior of his fellow city-dwellers.
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