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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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image image 1 October 2018
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Reincarnation of Media Art
21 July - 28 October 2018
Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media
(Yamaguchi)
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Works of media art are often vulnerable to changes in the technological environment that cause them to malfunction or make them difficult to preserve and repair. For this show the museum asked over 100 artists about their views on the "death" and "lifespan" of art, and hung the replies on banners in the exhibition space. Inside the "media art mausoleum" that occupies the center of the space, one finds a collection of "corpses" of works the artists themselves deem to have expired.

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Foujita: A Retrospective - Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of His Death
31 July - 8 October 2018
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
(Tokyo)
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Yet another large-scale retrospective of the iconic expat artist Tsuguharu (Leonard) Foujita (1886-1968). This one boasts some 120 works assembled from over 50 sources (not counting personal collections) in France, Switzerland, the US, and elsewhere. Recent years have seen a surge of interest in Foujita's war paintings, but this show curiously includes only two such works.

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Design Ah! Exhibition in Tokyo

19 July - 18 October 2018

Miraikan - The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
(Tokyo)
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The show's objective as articulated by its general director, graphic designer Taku Sato, is to encourage us to "LOOK" around us, "THINK" about the problems we find, and "CREATE" solutions. Accordingly the exhibits are divided into Observation, Immersion, and Imagination Rooms that examine the relationship between design and pictograms, typography, images, sounds, space, time, and structure.

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A gaze into architecture

4 August - 8 October 2018

Archi-Depot
(Tokyo)

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Subtitled "Phases of Contemporary Photography and Architecture," this exhibition treats architectural photography not as documentation but as art, displaying models of the structures shown in the photos on display. The 13 featured photographers include Hiroshi Sugimoto, Risaku Suzuki, Naoya Hatakeyama, Ryuji Miyamoto, Tomoko Yoneda, Thomas Demand, Candida Hテカfer, and James Welling. Among the 13 architectural works depicted are Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Villa Tugendhat, and Herzog & de Meuron's Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.
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Japonismes 2018
13 July 2018 - 14 January 2019
Louvre Museum
(France)
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As part of Japonismes 2018: les テ「mes en rテゥsonance (souls in harmony), a series of events in Paris introducing Japanese art, the Louvre unveiled Kohei Nawa's Throne under its glass pyramid, where the ornate gold-leaf sculpture will hold court until next January. Other festival highlights include a number of highly abstract installations by such artists as Lee Ufan and Shinji Ohmaki at the historic Hテエtel Salomon de Rothschild.
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Kyoto Experiment 2018: Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival

6 - 28 October 2018

Kyoto Art Center
(Kyoto)
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This month the ninth edition of Kyoto Experiment (KEX) offers 15 performances and exhibitions by 12 artists and groups. A hallmark of this year's festival is that it focuses on "female artists or artists and groups that identify as female" -- a timely response to the wave of sexual discrimination incidents currently making news in Japan.
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Kunie Sugiura: Aspiring Experiments / New York in 50 Years
24 July - 24 September 2018
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
(Tokyo)
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In 1963, when she was 20, Sugiura dropped out of college, traveled to the US, and began studying experimental photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the half century she has spent in New York since leaving Chicago, she has produced a body of work in which can be seen influences ranging from the Chicago School of photography to pop art. Yet one also senses in it the profound curiosity about the surrounding world that spurred her as a young Japanese artist to set out for an unknown land.
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Hitomi Watanabe: Tokyo University 1968-1969 Behind the Blockade Part 2
13 July - 4 August 2018
Nap Gallery
(Tokyo)
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Watanabe's solo show took place in tandem with the republication of Tokyo University 1968-1969 (Shinchosha, 2007), her celebrated collection of photographs shot behind the barricades at Tokyo University's Yasuda Hall at the height of Japan's student movement. Included are prints not published in the previous edition. Watanabe snapped not only portraits of the striking students but also such objects as helmets, banners, and rubble, making palpable an awareness that the activists were rebelling against not only the political establishment but the very order of the material world.
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Toshiki Kato: Aphasia
10 - 26 August 2018
Tamagawa Hospital
(Tokyo)
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Kato (b. 1965) had been an editor at a photography magazine and was working for a camera maker when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2012. Stricken with aphasia, he could not speak his own name or read simple Japanese text. But in the course of a long recovery period he began snapping pictures on his trips to and from the hospital, which recently displayed his work on the walls of its restaurant. The objects that caught his eye -- sofas, mirrors, windows, plants -- reflect a concern with light as substance, suggesting that Kato's condition compelled him to return to his point of origin as a photographer.
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Yuki Harada: Ghost Pictures / Matsudo
1 July - 5 August 2018

Yamashita Bldg. Institute of Art / Gallery
(Aichi)

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Harada's show consists of four elements: (1) discarded photos of everyday images, (2) partially enlarged, negative-positive inverted photos, (3) framed photos, and (4) mundane suburban scenes which Harada has subjected to distressed effects. Utilizing the "found photo" approach, he plays the roles of anonymous photographer, artist, and curator, blurring the boundaries between these identities.
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