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

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Tokujin Yoshioka: Spectrum
13 January - 26 March 2017
Shiseido Gallery
(Tokyo)
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Protean designer Yoshioka's projects cover everything from products and packages to structures and spaces. Here he offers an art installation about light. Several dozen units of three prisms each refract light projected from behind them, forming little rainbows across the walls and floor of the large gallery space. The rainbows shift around as the light source moves. It's an enchanting sight.

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Contemporary Art Experimental Exhibition: Perspectives (1)
24 January - 26 March 2017
JP Tower Museum Intermediatheque
(Tokyo)
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The museum happens to be furnished with redesigned prewar furniture that once belonged to the University of Tokyo. In this novel exhibition, seven contemporary artists are invited to display their work in massive steel cabinets originally installed in the Akamon Warehouse, a book repository built in 1916 next to the university's historic Akamon or Red Gate.
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The Great Ordinary

18 February - 20 March 2017

Borderless Art Museum NO-MA, Shiga
(Shiga)
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Attempting to address the fundamental question of why humans create, this show explores the origins of creative expression and its link to our relations with others. Curator Miyuki Tanaka has invited seven artists to participate, among them Aki Inomata, Atsushi Sugiura, and Yuji Dogane. The works span such diverse genres as Art Brut, BioArt utilizing insects, plants, and other organisms, and digital technology-generated media art.
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Painting and Weaving Opportunity

10 December 2016 - 12 March 2017

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
(Tokyo)

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Yohji Yamamoto has been on the cutting edge of creative fashion design for over four decades. His recent collections have showcased collaborations with painters. This fascinating exhibition features both collective and individual works by Yamamoto and Yuuka Asakura, an artist who has contributed her paintings to Yamamoto's designs for several years now.
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bird's eye
18 February - 5 March 2017
Kobe Art Village Center (KAVC)
(Hyogo)
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Since 2007, KAVC's Exhibition as Media series has presented shows distinguished by being joint venue-artist efforts from concept to implementation. This year, artist Nobuaki Date teams up with Mitsuhiro Sakakibara and Shinya Kimura -- members of RAD, a research project that surveys and issues proposals on architecture and urban spaces -- to produce an exhibition about Shinkaichi, Kobe's onetime shopping and entertainment center, whose heyday ended in the late fifties.
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The Collectors' Eye: Suntory Museum of Art Recent Acquisitions - Ceramics from Europe and Glass from Around the World

25 January - 12 March 2017

Suntory Museum of Art
(Tokyo)
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A dual offering of ceramic and glass works respectively acquired from two different collectors. Glass art dealer Toshiyuki Noyori has donated his collection of European ceramics to the museum, which has also obtained the extensive glass collection of potter Seimei Tsuji. It's an apt combination, since Noyori dealt in glass but loved ceramics, and Tsuji made ceramics but loved glass.
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Ceramics Japan: Tracing Japanese Modern through Ceramics
13 December 2016 - 29 January 2017
The Shoto Museum of Art
(Tokyo)
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A design-oriented retrospective of product development in Japanese ceramics during the seven decades from the early Meiji period (1868-1912) to World War II. Focusing on ceramics as an industry rather than on specific artists or works, the show traced the history of design trends as they evolved across a wide range of ceramic products, from lighting fixtures, washbasins, and tiles to dolls, hibachi braziers, and earthen teapots sold on trains.
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Printing and the Samurai
22 October 2016 - 15 January 2017
Printing Museum, Tokyo
(Tokyo)
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Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Edo shogunate founder Tokugawa Ieyasu, this show examined the history of printing by members of the samurai class from the 16th to 19th centuries. Political leaders of the day produced printed materials for various purposes -- everything from administrative manuals to books on topics of personal interest. The printing and publishing system that took root in Edo nurtured a nation of print-literate feudal lords, and its legacy lives on today in Tokyo, still the printing hub of the country.
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The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl: Transmitting a Secret Art across Generations of the Raku Family
17 December 2016 - 12 February 2017
The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
(Kyoto)
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The history of the Raku family, of Raku-ware fame, was traced through this exhibit of 15 generations of tea bowls spanning 450 years. Each successive generation of practitioners was not content to mimic the previous one; some moved in radical new directions while others found inspiration in earlier traditions. The fruits of this legacy of "discontinuous continuity," as the curators put it, were displayed under atmospheric lighting that imparted a pleasant tension to the viewing experience.
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Osaka Graphism
18 January 2017 - 11 February 2017

Enokojima Art, Culture and Creative Center (enoco)
(Osaka)

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Some 140 woodblock prints and appurtenant materials from the 20th century on were culled from the collections of Osaka City and Prefecture, all of the works either featuring views of the city or created by Osaka artists. It proved to be a highly edifying overview of Kansai-region woodcut art, extending from the early 20th century work of Kazuma Oda through the war years and beyond to a particularly generous helping of post-seventies artists.
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