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Picks :

Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering short reviews of exhibitions at museums and galleries in recent weeks, with an emphasis on contemporary art by young artists.

1 October 2008
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picks
Naho Yokoya: Quiet Ending, Shared Secret
25 - 27 July 2008
Hotel T'POINT Room 214
(Osaka)
Tokyo-born installation artist Yokoya took two years to transform a guest room at a Osaka hotel into a work of art. Upon entering you are first plunged into haunted house-like darkness, then into a world of white light. The transformation Yokoya has wrought makes it easy to forget that you can actually reserve this room for an overnight stay.
picks
Miyou Suzuki / Mayumi Ueda
2 - 11 August 2008
ZAIM Annex
(Kanagawa)
Two young artists currently enrolled at Tokyo Zokei University display their paintings in the annex of downtown Yokohama's ZAIM art project. Suzuki's main motifs are plants and people, while Ueda focuses on her room and memories of events occurring around her.
picks
Japanese Traditional Games
28 June - 31 August 2008
Kokura Garden, Kitakyushu City
(Fukuoka)
From sugoroku to kodo, the centuries-old incense-smelling game, this exhibition provides illuminating details on a vast array of traditional Japanese pastimes. Not only are the components of the games attractive to look at, but their rules and configurations attest to the love for such activities embedded in Japanese culture.
picks
Gems from the Shimadzu Family Documents and the Age of Atsuhime
12 July - 24 August 2008
Kyushu National Museum
(Fukuoka)
Featuring 100 items (most of them National Treasures or Important Cultural Assets) selected from the massive collection of historical Japanese materials of the Tokyo University Compilation Centre, this exhibit highlights the Shimadzu clan, feudal-era rulers of Southern Kyushu. The items displayed range from the erudite to the humorous.
picks
"Your Documents Please"
11 - 16 August 2008
Galerie Paris
(Kanagawa)
New York artists Daniel Georges and Rumi Tsuda asked over 250 artists around the world to create their own "passports" and other proofs of identity for this traveling exhibition. The contributions, all passport-size or smaller, include some brilliantly rendered parodies, like the Chased, City Bang, and American Depress credit cards.
picks
Junko Maruyama
24 June - 24 August 2008
Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art
(Yamanashi)
Yamanashi-born sculptor Maruyama creates her works from plastic products that have been twisted, stretched or deformed by heat. Her concept and use of space work well enough, but it strikes this viewer that if you're going to make art with junk, you have to either make it unrecognizably beautiful or really, really ugly.
picks
Katsura Funakoshi: Summer Villa
19 July - 23 September 2008
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
(Tokyo)
Featuring sculptures, drawings and prints by Funakoshi, particularly his recent, acclaimed Sphinx series of enigmatic human figures, this show utilizes the art-deco ambience of the Teien Art Museum (housed in a former imperial prince's mansion) to highlight Funakoshi's androgynous camphor wood sculptures.
picks
neoteny japan
18 July - 15 September 2008
Kirishima Open-Air Museum
(Kagoshima)
Offering 80 works from the contemporary collection of Ryutaro Takahashi, this show focuses on 33 Japanese artists active from the 1990s onwards. As the title suggests ("neoteny" is the retention of juvenile characterstics in adult animals), the emphasis is on the childlike, "kawaii," anime-otaku imagery popularized by Yoshitomo Nara and others of his generation.
picks
All About Goseda
9 - 31 August, 6 - 28 September 2008
Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History
(Kanagawa)
Horyu Goseda (1827-92) pioneered the modern genre of ukiyo-e known as Yokohama-e, or Yokohama pictures. His son Yoshimatsu, daughter Yuko, and adopted son Horyu II all followed in his footsteps, forming the Goseda School of Western-style art. This show demonstrates how the various Gosedas pursued an alternative path to the prevailing modernism of the Meiji Era.
picks
Ai Shinohara
25 August - 6 September 2008
Gallery Q
(Tokyo)
Kagoshima-born Shinohara paints pictures at once exquisite and grotesque: several in this show depict a goldfish devouring the viscera of a young girl. Her debut exhibition at this same gallery a year ago, when she was fresh out of art school, caused an immediate sensation and her star continues its rapid ascent, with her work quickly selling out at group shows and art fairs.
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