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Art Space Tokyo: An intimate guide to the Tokyo art world

Sayonara to the Art Space Tokyo Blog

After four years of running the Art Space Tokyo blog, it’s time to bring it to a quiet conclusion.

Activity on this blog has ebbed and flowed over the years. At the beginning we regularly posted reports and reviews, but after a year or two we became busier and busier. From 2009 onward, I usually only had time to post monthly round-ups of links to other people’s articles on Japanese art. Even though I only did them once a month, they were a completely tedious chore, but I was driven by hope that in the long term they would be a valuable resource: a centralized point of reference for what people were writing about Japanese art in the early 21st century. But nowadays I want to focus on other projects and not become bound to something merely for the sake of doing it.

Art Space Tokyo has been one of the most rewarding projects Craig and I have ever worked on. From mid to late 2007, we trekked the city in search of its most unusual galleries and museums and we came to know some of the curious characters who keep the Tokyo art world ticking along. In early 2008, we bound their stories into a book that we envisaged as a work of art in its own right, and we were unbelievably lucky to have it illustrated by one of our favorite artists—the gifted and prolific Nobumasa Takahashi.

Though the book bucked the trend of how the Tokyo art world prefers to present itself (something I wrote about in this essay), the reaction was overwhelmingly positive from the outset. We have met so many people for whom the book has been an invaluable gateway to the Tokyo art world, which can be so hard to figure out when you don’t know where to look.

We were stunned when the first (albeit small) print run was sold out within a year of publication. Without any great expectations, in May 2010 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 for a reprint and the development of a digital version. Back then, Kickstarter was a completely new model of fundraising, so you can imagine our disbelief as we watched a torrent of contributions push us well past our goal and bring in $24,000. Again, to our backers: thank you, thank you, thank you. We will never forget the buzz at the relaunch party we held at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art nor the rare spectacle of almost every major figure in the Tokyo art world gathered in one room at TODs Omotesando.

Our experience with Kickstarter prompted Craig to write Kickstartup, the first thorough examination of what makes a successful Kickstarter campaign. These days, you have to pull in a few-million-dollars’ worth of microfunding to catch anyone’s attention, but if you haven’t read Craig’s essay already, it’s worth it to remember what the climate was like back then—only two and a half years ago. From then on, Craig wrote more and more about the state of digital publishing. Books in the Age of the iPad (2010), Post-Artifact Books and Publishing (2011) and Subcompact Publishing (2012) are all essential reading. In only four years, the landscape of digital publishing has shifted so much, and I continue to be humbled by the clarity and reason that Craig brings to a still-nascent and contentious discourse.

Although it took us longer to bring it to you than we originally hoped, in the fall of 2012 we finally launched the promised digital versions of Art Space Tokyo. In keeping with the principle of “pointability” that Craig explains in his accompanying essay Platforming Books, the entire contents of Art Space Tokyo are available on read.artspacetokyo.com. Furthermore, this website offers a greatly expanded timeline of events in the Japanese art world since 1945, as well as extensive appendices of resources on the Japanese art world. Even if it’s only on an occasional basis, I will continue to update the timeline and appendices, and use @ArtSpaceTokyo as a simple way of drawing attention to things that are happening in the world of Japanese modern and contemporary art.

Looking back at the Japanese art world in the past four years, what has changed? In terms of Art Space Tokyo’s function as a guidebook, it is inevitable that its contents will gradually go out of date. Already, Nakaochiai Gallery shut its doors, Project Space Kandada closed and was reborn as 3331 Arts Chiyoda, 101Tokyo Contemporary Art Fair didn’t return after its second year, and Shinwa Art Auction no longer holds significant contemporary art sales in Japan. But I’m reassured by the thought that even if none of the institutions or individuals in Art Space Tokyo are active in 30 years from now, the book’s interviews and essays retain an enduring value as a historical record of the Japanese art world at the end of the 2000s.

In terms of the Japanese art world in general, it is hard to say what changes have taken place in the past four years. In the preface to the second edition I wrote, “…the recession, which caused hundreds of galleries to shut down in other countries, has not affected Tokyo’s art world to the same extent. There was no bubble in the Japanese art market in 2008, so nothing really burst.” While that remains true, now that more time has passed I do detect a more fundamental change than I had previously noticed. In the years before I left Tokyo for New York at the end of 2008, I remember there being a distinct sense of optimism that contemporary Japanese art might just be on the cusp of renewed recognition and that the tepid Japanese art market could only get stronger. However, having returned to Tokyo six months ago, there seems to be an underlying feeling of tired resignation to the status quo. It is understandable: after more than two decades of economic stagnation, the latest global recession is painfully familiar to the Japanese. Moreover, the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear contamination that ensued have all raised serious questions about the government’s competence and honesty, instilling genuine feelings of fear about this country’s future. It is still too early to say how the current climate is affecting Japanese artists, but it isn’t hard to imagine that in the coming years their work might become more cynical.

On a more positive note, there has been a global surge of interest in postwar Japanese art, particularly in the United States. In the past two years, there has been a slew of major museum exhibitions: most notably Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim, New York, opening on February 14. Commercial galleries have also been crucial to this renewed momentum. In New York, Hauser & Wirth recently held A Visual Essay on Gutai and for several years McCaffrey Fine Art has been putting on solid solo exhibitions of Hitoshi Nomura, Kazuo Shiraga, Sadamasa Motonaga, Jiro Takamatsu, and Noriyuki Haraguchi. In Los Angeles, Blum & Poe’s survey Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha last February was instrumental to putting Mono-ha back on the map, and later in the year it was followed by a solo exhibition of Kishio Suga. Susumu Koshimizu’s solo show will start on February 23.

Though this activity is mostly taking place in New York and LA, there have been some crucial shows in Japan: a retrospective of Atsuko Tanaka at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Gutai: The Spirit of an Era at the National Art Center, Tokyo; 1968–1982: The 70s in Japan at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama; and Jikken Kobo – Experimental Workshop at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura.

Frankly, the timing of all these developments is an incredible blessing for me, as my original field of specialization was postwar Japanese art, with particular emphasis on Mono-ha. I’m now working for Blum & Poe as the director of their forthcoming Tokyo space, details of which will be made public in the coming months. In the meantime, there is a huge amount of archival work that has to be done for the Mono-ha artists. This is what I am focused on these days. Likewise, Craig is cooking up all kinds of new things.

So, with a lot of nostalgia about the creation of Art Space Tokyo and pride about its life in the wild, Craig and I want to say once more how thankful we are to all our readers and supporters. We wish you a very happy 2013 and hope you make amazing books!

If you want to keep up with what Craig and I get up to, it’s all at craigmod.com and ashley.rawlings.com.

DECEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Tokyo Art Meeting III: Art and Music — Search for New Synesthesia” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [ArtAsiaPacific]

Kishio Suga at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles [Artforum]

“Pop-Up Mathaf” at the Mori Art Museum [ART iT]

“How Physical” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [ART iT]

Tadanori Yokoo at the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art [Artscape International]

Tadanori Yokoo at the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Hideki Nakazawa at the Kichijoji Art Museum [Japan Times]

Ben Shahn at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama [Japan Times]

Kishin Shinoyama at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Taiji Matsue at the Izu Photo Museum [Japan Times]

“Tokyo Designers Week” at Jingu-Gaien Kaigakukanmae [TAB]

“Tokyo Photo 2012” at Tokyo Midtown Hall [TAB]

Makoto Aida at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

FILMeX 2012 [TAB]

News

Japanese Architects lead M+ Shortlist [ART iT]

Shizuko Watari (1932–2012) [ART iT]

Yasumasa Morimura to direct Yokohama Triennale 2014 [ART iT]

Japan’s museums enjoy a makeover [Japan Times]

A Year of Art News in Japan [TAB]

2012: The Year in Review [TAB]

NOVEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“The Long Residence: At Home Again” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artscape International]

Ikko Tanaka at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

David Lynch at the LaForet Museum [Japan Times]

Interviews and Features

Naoshima [ArtAsiaPacific]

Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog of Tokyo [ArtAsiaPacific]

Koki Tanaka [ART iT]

Masato Nakamura [Japan Times]

OCTOBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Daido Moriyama at BLD Gallery [Artscape International]

Studio Mumbai at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Artscape International]

Chim↑Pom at the Parco Museum [TAB]

Features

Actuality and Art I [Realtokyo]

News

Takashi Azumaya (1968–2012) [ART iT]

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Takeshi Murata at Salon 94, New York [Art in America]

Peter Bellars at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Artscape International]

“Gutai: The Spirit of an Era at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Frieze]

Naoya Hatakeyama at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art [LA Times]

Tatzu Nishi at Columbus Circle, New York [NY Times]

Tatzu Nishi at Columbus Circle, New York [Spoon & Tamago]

Hiroshi Fuji at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Spoon & Tamago]

Interviews and Features

Observations on Japanese Cinema After 3/11 [film.culture.360]

Tatzu Nishi [NY Times]

Mr at Lehmann Maupin, New York [VernissageTV]

MoMAT Pavilion by Studio Mumbai at the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo [Vimeo]

News

Takashi Azumaya (1968–2012) [ART iT]

Japanese galleries open in the Gillman Barracks in Singapore [ART iT]

Japanese galleries open in the Gillman Barracks in Singapore [Japan Times]

Blum & Poe announces plans to open Tokyo Office [LA Times]

Blum & Poe announces plans to open Tokyo Office [The Art Newspaper]

Genron and Shisouchizu Beta — Japan 2.0

Sometimes a close friend more or less disappears off the map for a couple of years. Only sporadic email contact assures you they’re still breathing. This is how it has been with my very talented friend Naoki Matsuyama. Here are some samples from the relatively few emails Naoki has sent me in the past year:

It’s so busy right now that I haven’t got time to think about anything else.

Gmail is telling me that it took me 14 days to reply to your email. I’m mortified. I had a couple of big business trips and a transition to a new company structure and I really couldn’t think about anything else.

What Naoki has been thinking about so intensely is his work as an editor at Genron, a publishing company behind the annual, high-quality journal Shisouchizu Beta, which attempts to rethink what direction this country should take in the 21st century, especially in the aftermath of March 11, 2011.

Established in Tokyo in 2010 by critic and author Hiroki Azuma, Genron is an English-based web portal for critical discourse on Japan. Its editorial mission reflects on how, in the second half of the 20th century, Japanese society underwent major political and cultural shifts that propelled have made it a huge exporter of technology and pop culture, and yet its intellectual discourse remains little known abroad.

It also focuses on the significant turning point that Japan finds itself at today, faced with issues of decline and regeneration in the immediate future. Genron posits that “For the next 5 to 10 years, Japan will become a sort of testing ground for diverse political, social and cultural undertakings. We believe that persistently sending out messages from this “site for testing” to English speaking readers beyond the Japanese speaking world, will be of benefit not only to some researchers and fans, but also to the general public. “genron” starts as a website for presenting Japanese critical discourses, but it is not limited to that and is in fact potentially intended for anyone who thinks about the new societies and cultures of the 21st century.”

When Naoki and I finally sat down to dinner a couple of weeks ago and he handed me a copy of the latest issue of Shisouchizu Beta, entitled “Japan 2.0,” it was immediately evident to me why he had been so busy. It’s a thick publication, with 515 pages of Japanese articles and 113 pages of (excellent) English translations and abstracts. Great attention has been paid to the quality and diversity of design and paper stock, making this a very handsome book indeed.

With article titles ranging from “Plan 2.0 for Remodeling the Japanese Archipelago” to “The Disempowered Japanese Provinces – Is Consumer Society an Enemy of Democracy?” the current issue contains some hard-hitting words that are reminiscent of Japan’s 1960s and ‘70s leftwing radicalism. There is an interview with Takeshi Umehara, a Kyoto-based philosopher who believes that the Fukushima nuclear accident was nothing short of a “civilizational disaster.” There is also a transcript of Takashi Murakami’s speech at the opening of his “Murakami – Ego” exhibition at Mathaf in Doha earlier this year, in which he counters the criticisms people have made of his mass-produced approach to art-making and reasserts his long-held belief that Japanese people have to rid themselves of their “softness” if they are to fulfill their true potential.

Perhaps the most insightful article is a conversation on the future of journalism—mainly in the Chinese context—between China- and Japan-based journalists Michael Anti, Daisuke Tsuda and Hiroki Azuma. Among the various topics they discuss, Anti explains how, with no short-term political agenda to adhere to, Chinese reporters sent to cover the post-3/11 recovery for more protracted periods of time were fully able to see the humanity of their subjects. Impressed by the relief effort (especially in contrast to the Chinese government’s handling of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake), they left Japan with highly favorable impressions that they then relayed to their readers. This was heartening to read, yet at the same time, utterly depressing in light of the recent territorial dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, which has so quickly undone all of that bridge-building. It takes months, years, even decades to build trust between two mutually suspicious societies, but in only a matter of hours their politicians and other extremist elements can force everybody back to square one through nationalistic posturing and fear-mongering.

The issue also contains a pull-out supplement, Genron’s draft for a new Japanese constitution. Among various things, this proposal calls for recognition that “in the future, Japanese culture will not solely belong to Japan, and different cultures will in turn flow into Japan.”

AUGUST ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Ai Yamaguchi and Pip & Pop at Spiral Garden [ArtAsiaPacific]

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale at various venues in Niigata [Artforum]

“Gutai: The Spirit of an Era” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Artforum]

Masako Ando at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artforum]

Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery, London [Artforum]

“Gutai: The Spirit of an Era” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Artscape International]

“Tema Hima: The Art of Living in Tohoku” at 21_21 Design Sight [Artscape International]

Takayuki Yamamoto at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco & the Takamatsu City Museum of Art [Artscape International]

Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery, London [Artwrit]

Simon Fujiwara at Tate St Ives [Frieze]

Tomoyoshi Murayama at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto [Frieze]

Hideki Nakajima at the Daiwa Press Viewing Room, Hiroshima [Japan Times]

“The Cosmos as Metaphor” at Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto & Hotel Anteroom, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale at various venues in Niigata [Japan Times]

Andrew Burns and Brook Andrew at the Australia House in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale [Japan Times]

“Real Japanesque: The Unique World of Japanese Contemporary Art” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale at various venues in Niigata [Spoon & Tamago]

“Gutai: The Spirit of an Era” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Wall Street Journal]

Interviews

Yayoi Kusama [ART iT]

Yayoi Kusama [Huffington Post]

Naoya Hatakeyama [SF Gate]

Features

• Collector Daisuke Miyatsu [Artinfo]

• Daido Moriyama’s color photographs [ART iT]

Nobuyoshi Araki [Huffington Post]

Yoko Ono and Kenji Yanobe at the Contemporary Art Biennale of Fukushima [Japan Times]

“Tokyo 1955–1970” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York [Japan Times]

• Yukinori Yanagi’s Banzai Corner [Spoon & Tamago]

News

Nara as Businessman (Original blog post) [Adrian Favell’s blog on ART iT]

Yoshitomo Nara’s list of objections to Favell’s text (English) [ART iT]

Yoshitomo Nara’s list of objections to Favell’s text (Japanese) [ART iT]

• Tetsuya Ozaki’s commentary on Favell/Nara dispute (Japanese) [Realtokyo]

• Toyo Ito’s Japan Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale awarded best pavilion [Designboom]

Reconsidering the Historical Pantheon

A review of Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990–2011. By Adrian Favell, Blue Kingfisher Limited, 2012; 246 pages.

The boom in Japan’s pop culture during the 1990s and 2000s was a mixed blessing, both advancing and encumbering the country’s reputation abroad. With global enthusiasm for anime and manga carrying over into the art world, this Zeitgeist for all things kawaii (cute) and kowakawaii (creepy cute) was crucial to fueling the popularity of artists such as Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and Mariko Mori. Yet, manga and anime’s commercial success in the United States and Europe belies the drastic but little-known decline of these industries at home, and the enormous prominence of Murakami, Nara and Mori’s work on the international stage—while inspiring many—has also inevitably distracted from the wider range of ideas being explored by other artists in Japan.

In spite of the abundance of monographs on these three artists (and a handful of other globally recognized contemporary artists such as Hiroshi Sugimoto), there are very few publications in English that survey the broader context that surrounds them. With Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990–2011, Adrian Favell, then a Professor of Sociology at UCLA, aims to fill this gap. Invited to Tokyo as a Japan Foundation Abe Fellow in 2007, Favell spent that year and several subsequent visits spending time with dozens of artists, dealers, curators, collectors, critics, and other figures. Woven together from the multiplicity of their subjective perspectives as much as recourse to black-and-white documentable sources, the book is the product of his ethnographic/observational sense of the art scene—similar in approach to Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World (2008). Though limited to some extent by his reliance on art-world insiders as guides and translators, as a self-professed “outsider” he has more freedom to adopt the kind of candid criticality that most people in the Japanese art world would be too wary to express in public for fear of being perceived as unsupportive.

For the first third of the book, Favell reflects on how the birth of Murakami, Nara and Mori’s practices were the product of a pre-2008 mentality in which artists had to massively increase their production values in order to achieve international recognition. The author focuses particularly on Murakami and Nara as the most consequential of the three, and analyzes their business strategies. On the one hand, Murakami, who was dissatisfied with the “lame art education, the exploitative galleries, the parochial debates, the ineffective market, and the claustrophobic schools,” sought to rebuild the Japanese art world in his own image. Adopting a top-down corporate approach, he set up his own Warhol/Koons/Hirst-style production company Kaikai Kiki, collaborated with real-estate tycoon Minoru Mori on the branding for his Mori Art Museum and the luxury mixed-use complex that houses it, and established GEISAI, a large biannual festival-cum-talent show in which participants apply and pay for a booth to show their work.

On the other hand, though Nara eschews such a bombastic approach to business, Favell argues that his “slacker CEO” demeanor belies an equally calculating strategy of populist outreach in which he not only sells his paintings and sculptures to top collectors but also churns out a vast range of more affordable merchandise that has appealed to fad-obsessed hipsters the world over. Favell paints an unfavorable picture of Nara building his indie reputation off the back of “collaboration” with thousands of fans who helped construct the ramshackle, shed-like installations of his A to Z series of touring exhibitions.

While acknowledging the positive interest Murakami and Nara’s work stirred abroad, Favell concludes this section with a stark assessment of the resentment that their upending of the status quo stirred at home. In retrospect, GEISAI “undercut the efforts of galleries to build sustainable value on emerging artists’ works” and “distracted the attention of the global art media away from serious Japanese art.” Most damning of all, the author states that “GEISAI removed the need for serious art education and filled young heads full of illusionary dreams,” and posits that Nara’s “community” was little more than “a temporary refuge from reality, where costless volunteers were put to work for an artist’s brand . . . Now Cool Japan is over. Murakami and Nara’s children have nowhere to go.”

The chapter on Nara, which Favell published as an extract on his ART iT blog, recently triggered a backlash from the artist, who disputed the accuracy of numerous points. Though there are certainly factual and contextual inaccuracies (a full list of the disputed points and Nara’s responses can be found on ART iT in English and Japanese), a significant part of the controversy was fueled by the imperfect translation that Favell posted with the original text. Favell’s writing style is strewn with casual metaphors and, in an attempt to give some narrative vigor to his account of the art world, often reads as sarcastic. Writing of this kind is very difficult to translate into Japanese without sounding rude and aggressive, and some of his metaphors were rendered too literally, giving rise to further misunderstandings. Lastly, Favell’s decision not to use footnotes and rely instead on an index of the people he conversed with as his list of sources also leaves him open to attack when the facts come into question.

[Disclosure: As of August 2012, I am the director of the Tokyo Office of Blum & Poe, Murakami and Nara’s gallery in Los Angeles.]

The rest of the book shifts to a discussion of developments that have been overlooked during the past two decades. In particular, Favell examines the generation of artists who came of age during the mid-1980s, such as Makoto Aida, Parco Kinoshita, Hiroyuki Matsukage, Oscar Oiwa, Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Yutaka Sone (collectively known as the original members of the Showa 40 nen kai, or “Group 1965,” named after the year of their birth), as well as Kenji Yanobe, Miwa Yanagi, Yukinori Yanagi, Masato Nakamura and the commandN collective. Like Murakami, these artists were frustrated by the limitations of the Japanese scene—especially the dominance of the expensive rental gallery system—but rather than create new, slick brands of their own they responded with rough, neo-Dadaist absurdism, including guerilla interventions in public space.

Favell pays special attention to Makoto Aida, who after years of being a cult figure in Japan is only now receiving serious recognition with a retrospective at the Mori Art Museum in November. The author champions Aida as a true provocateur who is unafraid to broach historical and social taboos, on a par with Jake and Dinos Chapman and deserving of comparable recognition yet ignored by the art world outside of Asia. He attributes the slowness of Aida’s rise in part to his dealer Sueo Mitsuma’s decision to maintain exclusive representation of his artists rather than develop “quid pro quo international networks”—a strategy that has benefitted gallerists such as Tomio Koyama, Masami Shiraishi and Atsuko Koyanagi. Likewise, many of their most successful artists—among them Tatsuo Miyajima and Hiroshi Sugimoto—are international networkers in their own right. As Favell puts it, “Mitsuma was evidently betting on the long run. But it is still not clear that any Japanese artist can do without the gaisen kouen (triumphant return performance) if they want to make it to the historical pantheon.”

In this vein, much of Before and After Superflat is depressingly pessimistic, albeit not without reason. Favell dwells on several missed opportunities, such as the mismanagement of the second and third Yokohama Triennales in 2005 and 2008, which by failing to capitalize on the achievements of the first edition cost Japan a crucial chance to reassert itself in a regional scene now dominated by the biennales in China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Australia. Likewise, he laments the ill-fated mix of pork barrel spending and underfunding of museums, using the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa as a prime example of how smaller cities have been lumbered with institutions that are beautifully designed yet lack sufficient funding for top-quality acquisitions and exhibition planning. By contrast, the author does express hope for the future of rural events such as the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Setouchi International Art Festival. Though not without their flaws, these “slower,” more community-based endeavors, focused on the conservation and renovation of traditional buildings as sites for art display, are more inherently sustainable—the antithesis of the dystopian corporate approach to the arts that led to the Mori Art Museum and its surrounding complex being branded as an “artelligent city.”

For the most part, Favell’s survey of recent developments in Japanese art is successful. At times, however, the narrative is long-winded and repetitious, frustratingly vague about dates and locations, and the breeziness of its tone can irritate. The author is prone to making sweeping statements, and the four pages he allocates to comparing the Japanese and Chinese art scenes—two vastly different contexts—are the weakest part of the book. There is also a handful of bizarre omissions. Taka Ishii is as important a gallerist as Mitsuma, Koyama, Shiraishi and Koyanagi, but he is referred to only once in passing, and in a passage that describes the prominence of young female dealers in the “New Tokyo Contemporaries” association of seven emerging galleries, half of those women (Atsuko Ninagawa, Misako Rosen and Yuka Sasahara) go without mention. As with some of the issues Nara raises in his list of complaints on ART iT, lapses of this kind have the unfortunate effect of casting doubt over the thoroughness of the rest of the text. Lastly, the final chapter only touches on a small number of artists born after 1975, such as Tabaimo, Koki Tanaka, Teppei Kaneuji and the Chim↑Pom collective. After being given so much detail about their predecessors, one is left wanting more.

Regardless, the full range of contemporary Japanese art remains woefully underrepresented on the international stage, and Favell has taken an important step toward rectifying that discrepancy. He plans to follow it with a more academic publication on post-bubble festivals and innovations in art and architecture in relation to regional and urban development. In spite of the book’s flaws, for those who seek a critical reflection on Japan’s most prominent artists since 1990 as well as a primer on the work of their lesser-known peers and successors, Before and After Superflat is a worthwhile start.

Reflections on the Making of Art Space Tokyo

This week, Craig and I have been talking entirely about the creation of the digital editions of Art Space Tokyo. His essay, “Platforming Books,” is the go-to point of reference for how he envisioned adapting the book and what he thinks are the core principles that should shape digital publishing.

By coincidence, I was going through some archives and unearthed this essay that I wrote in 2010, “From Tokyo to New York: The Geographies and Narratives that Shape Two Art Scenes.” It was originally commissioned by the Tokyo Artpoint Project, an inititative run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. It feels like a good time to republish it here, as it goes into much more detail than our prefaces to the 2008, 2010 and 2012 editions about the editorial imperative I felt while making the book.

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From Tokyo to New York: The Geographies and Narratives that Shape Two Art Scenes

Mapping the Tokyo Art Scene

In early 2007, Craig Mod, a Tokyo-based web entrepreneur and publisher, approached me about making a guidebook to Tokyo’s art scene. From the outset, we wanted to avoid the typical, comprehensive A–Z format and create something more personal, so we decided to focus on 12 of the most architecturally and historically interesting museums and galleries. The idea was that the first-time visitor should feel rewarded by the space itself, even if they don’t enjoy the exhibition. We wanted to help people discover the best of Tokyo’s architecture, from stark and innovative concrete edifices to ramshackle wooden warehouses. And instead of documenting these with glossy photographs, we commissioned the extremely gifted artist Nobumasa Takahashi to illustrate the book with stunning black-and-white ink drawings.

The next key objective was to shine a light on the histories of these places. In addition to location maps and details about opening hours, we wanted to develop a narrative map of the Tokyo art scene. To do this, I interviewed each space’s director or curator, discussing topics that ranged from how their spaces came into being to what they look for in contemporary art and where they think the Japanese art scene stands in relation to other countries in Asia and the West.

Since we were eschewing the comprehensive A–Z format, it was also very important to present a fair cross-section of the art scene. The focus on architecturally and historically interesting spaces helped divert our search away from the most obvious, well-known venues, and led us to some lesser-known nonprofit initiatives and foreigner-run galleries. The book also includes institutions that focus on architecture, design and anime. Finally, to cover issues that are not contained within the realm of institutions, we commissioned essays from several Tokyo-based art world figures, who wrote about topics ranging from the syntax of Tokyo’s graffiti to the dearth of art criticism in Japan. Thus, Art Space Tokyo was born.

The Making of the Book

Craig and I began our research in May that year. At the time, I was working as a translator and editor for Tokyo Art Beat, a bilingual website that lists all the art and design spaces in the city, as well as all the exhibitions they hold. I knew that there were more than 500 art venues in the city―not only galleries and museums, but nonprofit initiatives, rental spaces, university museums, art cafés, art spaces within department stores, fashion boutiques and community centers. Even from the beginning, we had a good idea of most of the spaces we would feature in the book, but we wanted to visit as many potential alternatives as possible.

Over the following couple of months, once or twice a week, Craig and I made shortlists of galleries in each area of Tokyo and cycled the length and breadth of them in search of the 12 most inspiring spaces, visiting more than 200 in all. Given that Tokyo has very few street names and most addresses are found by a hermetic system of numbers, the navigation of the city’s art world is a particularly topographical experience. When you know Tokyo well and you have visited a gallery several times, its location becomes embedded in your physical memory. You turn corners instinctively, allowing yourself to be guided by low-key landmarks: a right-turn at the shuttered tobacco store, followed by a left at the red-and-white striped barricade, and then a short ride down a narrow alleyway of pristinely parked bicycles. Unlike New York’s Chelsea, Lower East Side and Williamsburg neighborhoods, or Beijing’s 798 and Caochangdi districts, there are very few places in Tokyo that could be considered “gallery areas.” Tokyo’s art scene, spread out in this infinite maze of streets, can be totally baffling to the first-time visitor.

Sometimes the first-time foreign visitor even baffles the gallery. I remember walking into one particularly old-school, conservative space in Nihombashi only to see the owner stagger back a few paces in open-mouthed astonishment at our arrival. Such overt reactions of surprise are certainly the exception rather than the rule in Japan’s most cosmopolitan city, but there is nevertheless a certain feeling of provincialism that one feels in Tokyo’s art scene. This is not to suggest that provincialism is a wholly negative characteristic, nor to imply that it is inherently better to be a highly commercial, international art hub like Los Angeles, New York, London, Sydney or Beijing. But it does raise questions about Japan’s place in the global art world.

As China, India and Southeast Asia’s art scenes have boomed in recent years, against a backdrop of a somewhat tepid domestic scene, Japanese artists and curators have begun to reconsider their role and relevance in Asia. Such reflection is constructive, but the sad thing was that I occasionally encountered hints of an inferiority complex among them, a sense of anxiety that Tokyo’s galleries should be more “on a par” with their more commercially vibrant counterparts elsewhere in the world. I noticed how Tokyo’s most powerful galleries paid close attention to the construction of Tokyo’s self-image, collectively taking pains to project coherence, confidence and credibility into the international market. In a slightly simplistic nutshell, the narrative is as follows: though Tokyo has had a commercial contemporary scene since the 1950s, galleries that are “on a par” with those in the West only emerged in the 1990s (coinciding with the global interest in Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami and his anime-derived Kaikai Kiki/Superflat aesthetic); by the mid-2000s, the staff of those galleries began open their own spaces, creating a new generation. Altogether, we’re talking about no more than 30 commercial venues.

Tokyo’s art scene is still small enough for many of these galleries to operate more as allies than rivals. The positive side of this was that there was refreshingly little politics to negotiate when Craig and I approached venues about taking part in AST. Most wanted to know which other galleries and museums would be featured, and many remarked on how unconventional the lineup was; the focus on architecturally and historically distinctive spaces excluded many of the key players in the aforementioned narrative. However, everyone recognized that AST was a much-needed English-language guide, and some even expressed regret that it had taken so long for anyone to come up with such an initiative.

And yet, while the book was very well received when it was published, one negative comment about it stuck in my mind. A young gallerist whose space was not featured in the lineup said she was uncomfortable about its juxtaposition of top-tier commercial galleries with lesser-known spaces; she felt it should have focused more on the linchpins of the 1990s and 2000s. I guess she was too wrapped up in those politics to see the point of AST. I believe that those galleries can take care of themselves; I certainly made sure to document their role within the book, but it is precisely their increasingly dominant narrative that I wanted to counterbalance before it becomes entrenched. There is more to Tokyo than what they do.

Tokyo as seen from New York

Nearly two years after AST was published, I find myself living and working in New York, observing Tokyo’s art world from the outside. In early 2009, I moved here to work as an editor at ArtAsiaPacific magazine. Though along with Australia, China and India, Japan is considered one of the contemporary art giants among the 67 countries and territories covered in AAP―ranging from Turkey to the Pacific Islands―it feels somewhat lost in the fray. While obtaining information on the Japanese art scene is certainly much easier than finding out what artists are doing in Turkmenistan, Bhutan and Niue, there is the strange feeling that Japan is disproportionately remote. I know exactly where to find the information about Japanese art online, but somehow it feels more like fulfilling a niche interest than it should. Many people I meet in New York are fascinated by Japanese contemporary art, and yet few know much about it. The more Tokyo can do to raise its profile and diversify its English-language self-representation―at home and abroad―the better.

It goes without saying that in contrast to Tokyo, the geography of the New York art scene is far more efficient. The simple logic of most of the city’s street numbering means there is little difficulty in finding any museum or gallery, especially when they are so densely concentrated in a handful of areas. But more importantly, information is provided in abundance: exhibitions are well publicized and documented, both in print and online. It is New York’s culture of informational openness that Tokyo should seek to emulate, not its social grandstanding. In that respect, New York is almost too efficient for its own good. The relentless competitiveness of social networking, particularly in Chelsea, is exhausting and for the most part uninteresting―it might advance some people’s careers, but does it advance the art and the surrounding discourse? The great thing about Tokyo’s art scene is that it’s not like anyone works in it to accumulate massive wealth and power, so it is largely driven by a sincerity and integrity that is not always easy to find over here.

With that in mind, it is an interesting time to be living here. Though overall the art market thunders on in spite of the recession, and sales continue to be made at prices far above Tokyo’s, New York’s global relevance is in gradual decline. No doubt it will continue to remain important and influential, but with the growth in prominence of contemporary artists from all other parts of the world, and a proliferation of art fairs, biennials and triennials across the globe―particularly in the Asia-Pacific region―there have never been so many inspiring, alternative opportunities to make one’s mark elsewhere, and on one’s own terms. 

Art Space Tokyo — Now Available on All Major Digital Platforms

( 日本語は下にあります)

Art Space Tokyo, your intimate guide to the Tokyo art world, is now available on all major digital publishing platforms. Buy it for iPad, Kindle, or Nook. Or start reading it online.

Originally published in 2008, Art Space Tokyo focuses on twelve of the city’s most architecturally and historically distinctive museums and galleries, revealing the stories that brought these spaces to life.

Among them are a warehouse built in 1868 that has survived a major earthquake and firebombing, a beautifully maintained early 20th-century Japanese estate-turned-museum, a renovated public bathhouse, a couple of sleek examples of postmodern architecture, and an anime-inspired castle in the woods. Some have longer histories than others, but each has a story worth reading about.

But AST is more than just an ordinary guidebook. It brings together the voices of key figures in the Tokyo art world—twenty interviews with curators, gallerists, collectors, art-fair directors and auction experts as well as six essays on topics ranging from Tokyo’s art scene in the 1990s to the vernacular of Tokyo’s graffiti.

Lovingly illustrated by Nobumasa Takahashi and bound with a silkscreen cover, the printed edition of AST is a celebration of the physical object.

Now able to expand beyond the limits of the page, the digital version of Art Space Tokyo is a growing online resource. We’ve divided AST’s massive collection of content into its constituent types: Spaces, Interviews, and Essays. We’d also like to draw your attention to the significantly expanded Timeline and Appendices.

You can read more about the process of making AST digital in Craig Mod’s essay Platforming Books.”

Our hope is for this to be a valuable and ever expanding resource for anyone—not only specialists, but those with even a passing interest in Japanese art or Tokyo.

CRAIG MOD & ASHLEY RAWLINGS, New York / Tokyo, August 2012

東京のコンテポラリーアート業界のガイドブックArt Space Tokyo のデジタル版を発表いたします。今日から、iPadKindleまたはNookでご購入いただけます。また、ウェブサイトでも本の内容をお読みいただけます。

2008年に出版されたArt Space Tokyoは、その歴史や建築の面白さから選ばれた東京の12軒の美術館とギャラリーを紹介するガイドです。本書はそれぞれのアートスペースの原点を感じさせてくれるものです。

掲載されている12軒の中には、大震災と大空襲を生き抜いた1868年建ての倉や、昭和初期の邸宅を改築した美術館、200年の歴史を持つリノベーションされた銭湯、ポストモダンの新築美術館、森に潜むアニメのようなお城など多くの魅力的なスペースがあり、それぞれ歴史の長さは違いますが、どこにも魅力的な物語が散りばめられています。

ただ、Art Space Tokyoは典型的なガイドブックだけにはとどまらず、東京のアート界の様々な方の声を紹介する本でもあります。キュレーターや、ギャラリーオーナー、コレクター、アートフェアのディレクター、オークションの専門家との20のインタビューと共に、90年代の東京アートシーンや東京のグラフィティなどについての6つのエッセイも一緒に掲載しています。

高橋信雅の素晴らしいイラスト、シルクスクリーン印刷の美しい表紙など、印刷版のArt Space Tokyoは、手にとっていただいた時にはじめて分かる本としてのモノの良さを追求したつくりになっています。

一方、ページの枠を飛び出すことができるデジタル版のArt Space Tokyoはこれからますます拡大していくオンライン上のリソースとなっていきます。Art Space Tokyoの膨大な内容をカテゴリー(スペースインタビューエッセイ)に分けました。また大きく更新された年譜アペンディクスにもご注目下さい。

Art Space Tokyoをデジタル化する課程について詳しくは、クレイグ・モッドが執筆したエッセイ「Platforming Books」をお読み下さい。

私たちは、Art Space Tokyoが美術専門家に限らず、アートや東京にちょっとでも興味がある多くの皆様にも役立つリソースになることを望んでおります。

CRAIG MOD & ASHLEY RAWLINGS、ニューヨーク/東京、2012年8月

JULY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Masako Ando at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artforum]

“Open Space 2012” at the NTT Intercommunication Center [Artscape International]

“Real Japanesque: The Unique World of Japanese Contemporary Art” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

“Gutai – The Spirit of an Era” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Osamu Wataya at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film [Japan Times]

Kaoru Hirano at SCAI The Bathhouse [Japan Times]

“Gutai – The Spirit of an Era” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [TAB]

Features

Women’s Style: Yayoi Kusama [AnOther Magazine]

The Yappeshi Festival in Tohoku [ArtAsiaPacific]

• The opening of Yayoi Kusama’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art [Artforum]

The Dog House, a house for art patron Joni Waka, by Joseph Kosuth [Artscape International]

The Tokoro Museum of Art, Omishima, and the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari [Artscape International]

Kenji Yanobe at the Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Jikken Kobo [Japanese Contemporary Art ]

Yayoi Kusama [New York Magazine]

News

Ahn Sehong’s “Layer by Layer” exhibition of photographs depicting “comfort women” survivors shut down [ArtAsiaPacific]

Mind the Mirror – Reflections on Yayoi Kusama

In the past few years Yayoi Kusama has achieved a stratospheric rise in global recognition, with solo exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery in London, 2010; Ota Fine Arts in Tokyo, 2010; Gagosian Gallery in New York, 2010, and Rome, 2011; Victoria Miro in London, 2010 and 2011; the National Museum of Art, Osaka, in 2011; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, 2011; the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, 2011; and the Tate Modern in London earlier this year. That show is now at the Whitney in New York, where one of the main draws is Fireflies on the Water (2002), a dark room with a shallow pool of water and mirrored walls, filled with dozens of hanging fiber optic threads that glow gently in different colors. This cosmos-like installation is one of Kusama’s most intimate and moving works.

Looking back, one could argue that the renewal of her career began with her solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London in January 2000. It was my first encounter with her work and I loved that show so much I went back three times. It centered on Dots Obsession, a yellow room that was covered in black polka dots, as were the large, suggestively shaped balloons that bobbed around. In the next room, Kusama’s phallic “proliferation” sculptures created a palpable air of psychosexual anxiety. For a nineteen year old who was only just becoming familiar with contemporary Japanese art, Kusama’s obsessive, hallucinogenic worldview felt radically different and alluring. I admire artists who are adept at drawing you into their world, regardless of whether you actually like or identify with what they see. Though in principle the medium shouldn’t matter, immersive installations are often the most direct and compelling way to achieve that kind of blanketing intensity.

But the majority of such all-encompassing installations are tainted with some trace of the outside world. Standing in the corner of the Serpentine installation, I remember looking at the red emergency Exit sign hanging from the ceiling, half hidden by the balloons, and thinking that it was an unfortunate intrusion into the artwork, but that the exhibition organizers had clearly done their best to minimize its impact.

It was curious, then, to visit Kusama’s solo exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in 2004 and experience her installations there. They were so badly compromised by didactic institutional interference that the Serpentine’s little red Exit sign seem artful by comparison. On display was a similar balloon room—red with white polka dots—which had a mirrored wall designed to create an aura of infinity. Yet, affixed to that mirrored wall was a sign warning you not to walk into it. And what remaining suspension of disbelief in the artwork one might have maintained was obliterated by the cleaners who were obsessively sweeping the floor on both the days I visited.

The idea of using mirrors to achieve a sense of limitlessness was better employed in the next piece, You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies (2004), which was essentially the same as the version of Fireflies on the Water currently on show at the Whitney but without the pool of water. But again, preoccupations with health and safety regulations trivialized the whole experience. There was security guard was on hand to warn you about the shallow ramp that led you up into the room, and once in there barely a minute would go by without an attendant shining a flashlight toward the exit—just to be on the safe side, you know? The exhibition really jumped the shark a couple of rooms later, where one of the galleries had been filled with hay. “Visitors with olfactory sensitivities should be aware that the following room contains hay,” read the sign at the door. You know there’s a problem when the exhibition display is more obsessive-compulsive than Kusama’s own artwork.

For all the admiration I had for Kusama, the rampant commodification of her work has inevitably detracted from its quality and emotional impact. I have nothing against spin-off merchandise as a subsidiary or derivative element of an artist’s practice—and I’m respectful of artists who clearly use it as a tool of critique in its own right—but the ubiquitous, all-too-easily identifiable motif of Kusama’s polka dots have ended up eclipsing all that is actually interesting and historically significant about her earlier work. The radical, rebellious, messy flower-power aesthetics of the 1960s has been sanitized into poorly made keychains and other paraphernalia for the regular consumer and luxury clothes for the wealthy. Kusama was included in Akasaka Art Flower in 2008, for which artists’ works were installed in various locations in this high-end commercial and residential district of Tokyo. Her Dots Obsession (Day) and Dots Obsession (Night) installations were so badly executed—limp, wrinkled balloons and mounds that weren’t flush with the floor—that it seemed like the artist had simply phoned them in. It was so disappointing that I dedicated a paragraph to ranting about it in the 2008 end-of-year review I wrote for Tokyo Art Beat.

Kusama’s exhibition at the Whitney does a lot to redress this imbalance of spectacle versus artistic integrity. There are no polka-dot balloon installations. Rather, the museum goes out of its way to show the public what it rarely has the chance to see: early works in which you can see the germination of Kusama’s obsessions—dark, absorbing paintings of suns and prickly cell-like organisms. It’s astonishing to think that she was painting these things in the 1950s. These, and the many newspaper and magazine articles from the 1960s that are laid out in display cases are the most compelling aspects of the exhibition. The era in which Kusama asserted herself on the New York art scene comes to life.

I’ve been lucky enough to see beautifully executed versions of Fireflies on the Water twice―once at Gagosian in New York and once at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark―so I didn’t feel too bad about not having time to preorder a timed ticket for the installation at the Whitney. While the rest of the show is open to general admission, visitors are only being allowed into Fireflies on the Water one at a time. You’ll only be allowed one minute in there, but from experience I can tell you that it is absolutely worth it. 

Lieko Shiga’s Solo Exhibition at the Sendai Mediatheque


Just the other day, I was talking with Lieko Shiga on Skype about how to translate the titles of her new photographs and her upcoming exhibition at the Sendai Mediatheque in November.

Lieko is an old friend of mine who I met while at London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2000. It has been amazing to see the growing recognition her work has received since then, particularly in the past five years.

She had been producing consistently good work throughout her time in London and Berlin, but it was after doing residencies in Sendai and Brisbane in 2006 that it gained real momentum.

In 2008, she won the 33rd Ihei Kimura photography award for her photobooks Lilly and Canary, and she has been included in numerous important group shows since—among them Trace Elements at Performance Space in Sydney and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2008–09), On Your Body at the Tokyo Metropolitan Photography Museum (2008), Roppongi Crossing: Can There Be Art? at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2010), and Double Vision: Contemporary Art from Japan at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2012).

Following her shows in 2008, I interviewed her for Tokyo Art Beat. A few months ago, the organizers of Krakow Photomonth, an annual photography festival in Poland, told me that Lieko’s work would be included in their program and asked me if they could reprint this interview in their tenth anniversary catalogue. The book does a great job of presenting her work.

The Sendai Mediatheque exhibition will be her first solo show at a major institution. The location is fitting, as Lieko has been based in the Tohoku region for the past five years. When the earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011, it wiped out the coastal village of Kitakama that she was living in. She was lucky to survive. Aveek Sen wrote a very poignant essay about this period in her life for ART iT magazine.

I’ve had a preview of her new photographs, and they’re darker and more psychologically disorienting than ever. I can’t wait to make my way to Sendai in November.

JUNE ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Hiroshi Sugimoto at Pace Beijing [Artforum]

Kishio Suga at Tomio Koyama Gallery [ArtReview]

“The Allure of the Collection” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Artscape International]

Jun Itami at Gallery Ma [Artscape International]

“Function Dysfunction” at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Japan Times]

Thomas Demand at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Makito Okada at Imura Art Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Rinko Kawauchi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

Max Ernst at the Yokohama Museum of Art [Japan Times]

Shoichi Ida at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Natsumi Hayashi at MEM [TAB]

“Hors Pistes Tokyo 2012” at Uplink Factory [TAB]

Thomas Demand at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Daido Moriyama at Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film [TAB]

Features

Tomoko Konoike [Artscape International]

Rikuzentaka Disaster Document Digitalization Project [Japan Times]

Hitting the Street

It always puts a smile on my face when a reader gets back to Craig and me with details of the unexpected encounters they had during their Art Space Tokyo travels.

John Pull and his partner Harry recently told us about meeting Ginji, the resident cat at Gallery éf who apparently has his own blog. And who doesn’t love cat videos?

John also sent us this awesome photo of Art Space Tokyo on the streets of Ginza, home to two of the book’s art spaces. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Tokyo Gallery + BTAP and Gallery Koyanagi, two of the best galleries among dozens in the area.

Do you have any Art Space Tokyo stories to tell? Any images of the book in the Tokyo cityscape? Send them to !

Chiharu Shiota at Haunch of Venison, New York

Vernissage TV has done a short video on Chiharu Shiota’s solo exhibition at Haunch of Venison in New York. The show is centered around a towering installation of found window frames from East Berlin, as well as some of the artist’s small box-like sculptures in which personal found objects are tangled up in webs of black thread.

Article on “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” in Art & Australia

Back in February, I went to Los Angeles to see Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha,” a landmark exhibition of the late-1960s conceptual movement held at Blum & Poe.

The gallery is well-known for having represented Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara since the 1990s, but in recent years they signed on Lee Ufan, the Mono-ha group’s Korean-Japanese theoretician. Thus, it was a natural progression for Blum & Poe to hold a survey of Mono-ha as a whole—something that has never been attempted in the United States.

“Requiem for the Sun” was, quite frankly, astonishing. Anyone who has studied the movement will mostly have seen only photographic documentation of ephemeral works that have long vanished since their original presentation in the 1960s and ‘70s. Mono-ha is all about the “encounter” with raw materiality, so this exhibition was an invaluable opportunity for viewers to have that essential first-hand experience. The brute presence of installations such as Kishio Suga’s Soft concrete (1970/2012) spoke for itself.

The current issue of the quarterly journal Art & Australia features an article I wrote on “Requiem for the Sun.” In it, I frame the exhibition in terms of a recent surge of international interest in Mono-ha and the postwar Japanese avant-garde. Given that the artists do not “create” their works so much as “present” them, I ask how did the latest “re-presentations” at Blum & Poe compare with past iterations.

Particularly exciting for me was the re-presentation of Nobuo Sekine’s Phase – Mother Earth. Originally made in Kobe in 1968, this piece—a 2.7-meter-deep by 2.2-meter-wide cylindrical hole in the ground with an adjacent monolith of the same proportions—has only been re-presented four times since. The last time was in Tokyo in October 2008, a three-day process that I documented for Tokyo Art Beat. It was intriguing to see Phase – Mother Earth in Blum & Poe’s back yard, surrounded by palm trees. The piece is inherently characterized by the soil from which it is made, so the great majority of us have only seen its dark, earthen character in photos from 1968. In LA, the earth was much grittier and grayer—it felt inherently more “urban.”

You can read reviews of “Requiem for the Sun” on Artforum, Artnet, and the LA Times.

ART iT’s deputy editor Andrew Maerkle has also published Between Potentiality and Fatality, a three-part in-depth interview with Kishio Suga.

MAY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Sculpture by Other Means” at One and J. Gallery, Seoul [ArtAsiaPacific]

Kunie Sugiura at Leslie Tonkonow, New York [Art in America]

Noriyuki Haraguchi at McCaffrey Fine Art, New York [Art in America]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artscape International]

Mika Ninagawa and Nana Funo at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Artscape International]

Hirofumi Isoya (Photo Report) at Aoyama | Meguro [ART iT]

Daido Moriyama at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Huffington Post]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Otomo Katsuhiro at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Japan Times]

Makoto Morimura at Tokio Out of Place [Japan Times]

Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe at Ginza Graphic Gallery [Japan Times]

Beat Takeshi Kitano at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Oliver Payne at Nanzuka [TAB]

Features

Tabaimo [Art 21]

Japanese artists in Berlin [Adrian Favell on the ART iT Blog]

Luxury Brands and the Arts [Realtokyo]

Koki Tanaka [Spoon & Tamago]

Chiharu Shiota at Haunch of Venison, New York [Vernissage TV]

News

Takeshi Miyakawa arrested in New York after his guerrilla artworks were mistaken for bombs [Artinfo]

Koki Tanaka to represent Japan at Venice Biennale 2013 [ART iT]

Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower, opens [The Guardian]

Nobumasa Takahashi Illustrates “Tokyo: Portraits and Fictions”

Takahashi Nobumasa, the artist who illustrated Art Space Tokyo, has provided some astounding work for a new book on Tokyo.

French architect Manuel Tardits’ Tokyo: Portraits and Fictions is a meditation on the urban planning and spatial culture of the Japanese capital. Reminiscent of Roland Barthes’ Empire of Signs (1970), the publication spans the genres of history book, travelogue, and architectural critique. Its 85 chapters are short, eulogistic streams of consciousness that cover concepts and narratives ranging from “Steps” to “Urashima Taro,” “Shadow,” “Ubiquity,” “Enclosures,” “Heroism,” and “Superflat.”

Architects are prone to flowery and overwrought writing, and the text in this book is no exception. What might be a bit of a rushed translation into English also seems to add to the awkwardness in some places. So while one could read the book from start to finish, it may be more pleasant to dip in to it at random intervals and digest it in morsels, one idea at a time.

Takahashi’s pen-and-ink illustrations are as always a playful array of crisp lines, wobbly protrusions, and dense compositions. In his hands, Tokyo is a web of silhouetted telephone lines, a cascade of neon shop signs, and a tangle of elevated expressways and railroads cradling the head of the Giant Buddha of Kamakura.

I was also pleased to discover the work of the book’s other illustrator, Stéphane Lagré, a French architect based in Nantes. His grainy photo-collages are an unnerving take on the city. One stands out in particular: a panorama of Tokyo in which Mount Fuji looms large on the horizon and nine white rings ominously encircle different areas of the city. They recall one of the early scenes in Katsuhiro Ohtomo’s Akira (1988), in which the nuclear explosion that destroys Tokyo is depicted as a rapidly expanding dome of light that consumes the metropolis.

APRIL ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Breathing Atolls: Japanese Art in the Maldives at the National Art Gallery, Male’ [ArtAsiaPacific]

Lee Bul at the Mori Art Museum [Artforum]

Ken Nakazawa at Ando Gallery [Artscape International]

“How Physical” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Frieze]

Lee Bul at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Jackson Pollock at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Roppongi Art Night [Japan Times]

Turning Around” at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

“Turning Around” at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Katsuhiro Otomo at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [TAB]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Interviews

Shingo Francis [ArtAsiaPacific]

Kishio Suga [ART iT]

Features

Erina Matsui [Adrian Favell’s blog on ART iT]

The Adachi Museum of Art [Artscape International]

Caochangdi PhotoSpring, Sueo Mitsuma and Japanese art in Beijing [Japan Times]

Lee Bul [Realtokyo]

News

• Architect Ryue Nishizawa recognized with AIJ Prize 2012 [ART iT]

MARCH ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” [Artforum]

Chim↑Pom at Project Fulfill Art Space [Artforum]

“Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” [Artnet]

Yayoi Kusama at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Artscape International]

“Cosmic Travelers – Toward the Unknown” at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo [Artscape International]

Akinori Matsumoto at BankART Studio NYK [Artscape International]

G-tokyo Contemporary Art Fair at the Mori Arts Center [Japan Times]

“March 11 seen through the eyes of comic artists from all over the world: Magnitude Zero” at the Kyoto International Manga Museum [Japan Times]

Kota Takeuchi at XYZ Collective [Japan Times]

“Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” [LA Times]

“Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture” at Japan Society [NY Times]

Misaki Kawai at the Children’s Museum of the Arts [NY Times]

Misaki Kawai at the Children’s Museum of the Arts [NY Times]

Aleksandr Rodchenko at Ginza Graphic Gallery [TAB]

Ken Okiishi at Take Ninagawa [TAB]

Art Fair Tokyo at the Tokyo International Forum [TAB]

Interviews

Paramodel [Art Radar Asia]

• How the nuclear disaster roused Chim↑Pom [The Economist]

Makoto Nomura [TAB]

Roppongi Art Night [TAB]

Yusuke Asai at Yoyogi Park [TAB]

Tadashi Kawamata [TAB]

News

• ICP to honor Daido Moriyama for lifetime achievement [ART iT]

• Curator Sayoko Nakahara awarded 2012 H+F curatorial grant [Art Radar Asia]

Minoru Mori (1934–2012) [NY Times]

Hermès taps Hiroshi Sugimoto [Spoon & Tamago]

FEBRUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” [Adrian Favell’s blog on ART iT]

Noriyuki Haraguchi at McCaffrey Fine Art [Artforum]

Yasumasa Morimura at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art [Artscape International]

“Global Ends: Towards the Beginning” at Gallery Ma [Artscape International]

Fumio Nambata at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Yayoi Kusama at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japapn Times]

“Mental Map Studies” at the Meguro Museum of Art [Japan Times]

Mirei Shigemori at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Hiroji Noda at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Ryudai Takano at Yumiko Chiba Associates and NADiff a/p/a/r/t [TAB]

Ami Clarke at The Container [TAB]

Naoyuki Hata at Guardian Garden [TAB]

Mao Ishikawa at Zen Foto Gallery [TAB]

Lee Bul” at the Mori Art Museum [Tokyo Weekender]

Interviews

Tomoko Yoneda (Part 1) [ART iT]

Tomoko Yoneda (Part 2) [ART iT]

Tomoko Yoneda (Part 3) [ART iT]

Features

ARCUS Residency Project [ArtAsiaPacific]

Miwako Tezuka in conversation with Doryun Chong [Art Journal]

Koki Tanaka shares his web inspirations [ArtAsiaPacific]

• Ten of the best contemporary art galleries in Tokyo [The Guardian]

• Ten of the best works of architecture in Tokyo [The Guardian]

Tadaaki Kuwayama [NY Art Beat]

Miwa Yanagi [Realtokyo]

Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2012 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

JANUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

The Louvre DNP Museum Lab at the DNP Gotanda Building [Artscape International]

Mirei Shigemori at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [Artscape International]

Takashi Homma at Blind Gallery [Artscape International]

Fuyuko Matsui at Yokohama Museum of Art [Japan Times]

On Kawara at David Zwirner Gallery [Spoon & Tamago]

“Department of Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduation Exhibition 2012” at BankArt Studio NYK [TAB]

Features

Mono-ha Moment [Art in America]

Takashi Murakami rips into “Cool Japan” [Artinfo]

Ryo Yamada’s Kumamoto Artopolis Kahoku Project [Designboom]

Ten Shows to mark on the 2012 calendar [Japan Times]

• A rough guide to museums and galleries that are fun for kids [TAB]

News

Kiyonori Kikutake (1928–2011) [ART iT]

Ten Best Galleries and Works of Architecture on The Guardian

The Guardian has just launched its Tokyo City Guide, a fantastic interactive look at the city that includes recommendations for the best restaurants, hotels, bars, and clubs. Their summary of typical salaryman hangouts is a great alternative look at life in Tokyo.

I was asked to contribute my ten favorite galleries and museums, and my ten favorite architectural highlights. All of these locations are marked on a Google map of the city that you can play with here. The top ten galleries and works of architecture also have their own separate pages if you want to read them without having to click between from one to the other.

DECEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Tomoko Yoneda at Shugoarts [ArtAsiaPacific]

Yokohama Triennale at the Yokohama Museum of Art [Art Radar Asia]

“Art Scope 2009–2011: invisible Memories” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artscape International]

“Architectural Environments for Tomorrow – New Spatial Practices in Architecture and Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Artscape International]

Jikken Kobo at Bétonsalon, Paris [Frieze]

Kaori Watanabe at Imura Art Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Makoto Aida at Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo [Japan Times]

Rika Noguchi at the Izu Photo Museum [Japan Times]

“311 Lost Homes” at Gallery Ma [Japan Times]

POPCORART at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Japan Times]

Yoko Ono at Gallery 360˚ and Tomio Koyama Gallery [TAB]

Tokyo FILMeX 2011 at Yurakucho Asahi Hall [TAB]

Features

Things Worth Remembering in 2011 by Erimi Fujihara [ART iT]

Things Worth Remembering in 2011 by the editors [ART iT]

Lieko Shiga [ART iT]

Simon Starling / Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) [ART iT]

Mariko Mori at the Adobe Museum of Digital Media [Designboom]

Kazuyo Sejima [Domus]

“Architectural Environments for Tomorrow” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Domus]

Sou Fujimoto [Domus]

Rue Nishizawa [Domus]

Seeking solace in artistic responses to March 11 [Japan Times]

2011 – The Year in Review [TAB]

“Architectural Environments for Tomorrow” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

News

Kiyonori Kikutake (1928–2011) [ART iT]

Sori Yanagi (1915–2011) [ART iT]

NOVEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Chu Enoki at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art [Artscape International]

Motoi Yamamoto at the Hakone Open-Air Museum [Artscape International]

Kenji Yanobe at the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum [Japan Times]

Alyson Shotz at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo [Japan Times]

Irving Penn and Issey Miyake at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

“Feel and Think: A New Era of Tokyo Fashion” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Villa Tokyo in the Kyobashi, Nihombashi & Kudanshita area [TAB]

Interviews

Sputniko! [TAB]

Shozo Ichiyama, program director of Tokyo FILMeX [TAB]

Features

Tadashi Kawamata [ART iT]

Florian Busch [Japan Times]

The Teratotera Festival in Kichijoji [TAB]

Christan Marclay’s “The Clock” at the Yokohama Triennale [Realtokyo]

OCTOBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Metabolism, The City of the Future” at the Mori Art Museum [Artforum]

“Shin Minatomura: A Small City for the Future” at BankART [Artscape International]

Chim↑Pom at The Container [Japan Times]

“Berlin 2000–2011: Playing Among the Ruins” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Tadao Ando at Gallery GA [Japan Times]

“Artgig Tokyo: Mummy Im Scarrred!” at Tamai Hospital [Japan Times]

“Metabolism, The City of the Future” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Leo Rubinfien at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Alyson Shotz at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo [TAB]

Interviews

Rem Koolhaas and Fumio Nanjo on Metabolism [TAB]

Features

Art Center Ongoing [Artscape International]

Japanese arts course opens door to foreigners [Japan Times]

Project Fukushima [Realtokyo]

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“House Inside City Outside House: Tokyo Metabolizing” at Tokyo Opera City Art Museum [Artforum]

Yokohama Triennale at the Yokohama Museum of Art [Artforum]

Seiichi Furuya at Galerie Thomas Fischer, Berlin [Artscape International]

Art Fair Tokyo at the Tokyo International Forum [Artscape International]

“House Inside City Outside House – Tokyo Metabolizing” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Artscape International]

Hiroh Kikai at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Artscape International]

ChimPom at Mujin-to Production [Japan Times]

Arata Isozaki at Misa Shin Gallery [Japan Times]

“Metabolism: The City of the Future” at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Interviews

Miwa Yanagi [ART iT]

Features

• The relationship between Japan’s corporate sector and the art world [TAB]

AUGUST ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Kohei Nawa at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Artforum]

Tadaaki Kuwayama at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Artscape International]

Yukihiro Taguchi at the Mori Art Museum [Artscape International]

Chim↑Pom at Mujin-to Production [Artscape International]

Art Fair Tokyo at the Tokyo International Forum [Art Newspaper]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Scottish National Museum of Art [Culture 24]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Scottish National Museum of Art [Guardian]

“Café in Mito” at Art Tower Mito [Japan Times]

Yayoi Kusama at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Tsubasa Kato at SNAC and Kiba Park [TAB]

The Yokohama Triennale at the Yokohama Museum of Art [TAB]

Yoko Ono talk at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Koki Tanaka at Aoyama | Meguro [TAB]

The Dojima River Biennale [TAB]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim Museum [VOA]


Interviews

Yoko Ono [Boing Boing]

Kohei Nawa [Japan Times]

Tsuneo Enari at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

Motoi Yamamoto [Japan Times]

Features

Postcard from Japan [Frieze]

• Video on Chim↑Pom [Frontline / PBS]

• Video of photographs washed away by tsunami being restored and returned to their owners [Guardian]

Quakes and Arts IV [Realtokyo]

• Molten glass pyrographs by Etsuko Ichikawa [Spoon & Tamago]

Manga, sex and censorship [Yomiuri]

JULY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

“War Through the Eyes of Children: With the Help of Barefoot Gen” at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum [Artscape International]

“Making of the Tokyo Sky Tree” at Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation) [Artscape International]

“Art of Photographing the Child” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

Rong Rong and Inri at Shiseido Gallery [Japan Times]

“On the Road” at the National Museum of Modern Art [Japan Times]

Ryoko Takahashi at Gallery Momo Ryogoku [TAB]

Photo report on Art Fair Tokyo [TAB]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim [AM New York]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim [Art in America]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim [The Financial Times]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim [The Ranunculus]

Lee Ufan at the Guggenheim [NY Times]

Features

• Recent exhibitions and publications about postwar Japanese art: Whose Modernism is it Anyway? [The Brooklyn Rail]

Art Fair Tokyo [Huffington Post]

Art Fair Tokyo [Japan Times]

Spotlight on artists at Art Fair Tokyo [Japan Times]

• The reconstruction of Australia House in Echigo-Tsumari [Japan Times]

Quakes and Arts III on Chim↑Pom and their reaction to the nuclear crisis [Realtokyo]

Chim↑Pom and guerrilla/graffiti art [Realtokyo]

A Summer Night “Delusion” Tour with the Moso Café [TAB]

News

Public to benefit from new art indemnity system [Japan Times]

JUNE ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Xavier Veilhan at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo [Artforum]

“NOART” at Taka Ishii Gallery [Artscape International]

Masatsune Matsumura at Gallery A4 [Artscape International]

Yukihiro Taguchi at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

LG Williams at the Container [Japan Times]

Takashi Hinoda at Imura Art Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

LG Williams at the Container [TAB]

Kohei Nawa at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

“French Window” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Chim↑Pom at SNAC [TAB]

Interviews

Jun Igarashi [Japan Times]

Kim Sooja [ART iT]

Feature

Tsuyoshi Ozawa & Relational Art [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Yukihiro Taguchi [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Tabaimo [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

“Inside Out” project [Japan Times]

“Quakes and Arts II” [Realtokyo]

News

Chim↑Pom inserts their own panel about nuclear disaster into Taro Okamoto’s mural in Shibuya Station [Asahi]

MAY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Jack McLean at the Container [Artforum]

Yasuo Higa at the Izu Photo Museum [Artscape International]

Firoz Mahmud at Ota Fine Arts [TAB]

Features

Yuken Teruya [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Quakes and Arts [Realtokyo]

APRIL ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

“Happy Mind – My Pleasure” at Misako & Rosen [ART iT]

“Kaza Ana / Air Hole: Another Form of Conceptualism from Asia” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [ART iT]

Takehiko Higuchi at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art [Artscape International]

“Kaza Ana / Air Hole: Another Form of Conceptualism from Asia” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

“Kuramata Shiro, Ettore Sottsass” at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

Sakae Ozawa at Mori Yu Gallery [TAB]

Iichiro Tanaka at Yuka Sasahara Gallery [TAB]

Tomoko Konoike at Mizuma Art Gallery [TAB]

Features

Art Charities for the Tohoku Disaster [Artscape International]

Tadashi Kawamata [TAB]

Third Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions [TAB]

News

Koji Taki (1928–2011) [ART iT]

MARCH ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Articles Relating to the March 11 Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake

Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake Hits Japanese Art Community [ArtAsiaPacific]

Japan Relief Efforts [ArtAsiaPacific]

Ways to Contribute to Earthquake Relief [ART iT]

Tokyo’s art scene struggles to resume” [Japan Times]

Place Your Bid to Help Japan [Japan Times]

Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake and Tokyo Art World [TAB]

Reviews

“Too Far To See” at the Yokohama Museum of Art [ArtAsiaPacific]

Xavier Veilhan” at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo [Artforum]

“The New Snapshot: Contemporary Japanese Photography, vol.9: Radiant Moments” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Artscape International]

“Quiet Attentions: Departure from Women” atArt Tower Mito [ART iT]

Jack McLean at The Container [Japan Times]

Jack McLean at The Container [TAB]

“Surrealism: An Exhibition Organized With Artworks From The Centre Pompidou Collection” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Tokyo Weekender]

Interviews

Toyo Ito [ART iT]

Kozo Miyoshi [TAB]

Obits

Yusuke Nakahara (1931–2011)

FEBRUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Yasumasa Morimura at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art [Artscape International]

“Global Ends: Towards the Beginning” at Gallery Ma [Artscape International]

Reikisai Kobayashi at the Tobacco & Salt Museum [Artscape International]

Tadasu Takamine at the Yokohama Museum of Art [Japan Times]

Torawo Nakagawa at Kodama Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

“Creative Fantasista” at Vacant [Japan Times]

“How is the World Engaging with Contemporary Asian Art?” Symposium at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Paule Saviano at Gallery éf [Japan Times]

Shindo Tsuji at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

“Be Alive! – Selections from the Hara Museum Collection” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Lee Ufan at SCAI the Bathhouse [Tokyo Weekender]

Interviews

Yutaka Sone [ART iT]

Motohiko Odani [TAB]

Features

Tomoo Gokita Studio Visit [ArtAsiaPacific]

Additional Photos from Tomoo Gokita Studio Visit [ArtAsiaPacific]

Outsider Calligraphy [ART iT]

Taiji Matsue (Part II) [ART iT]

G-tokyo Contemporary Art Fair [Japan Times]

Shigeo Goto and the Tokyo Frontline Art Fair at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Japan Times]

Art and Theater [Realtokyo]

The Nagoya commercial gallery scene [TAB]

Festival/Tokyo [TAB]

News

New Gallery Building Opens in Roppongi [ArtAsiaPacific]

New Gallery Building Opens in Roppongi [TAB]

ArtAsiaPacific Magazine relaunches its website

ArtAsiaPacific, the leading publication on contemporary art in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East, relaunched its website this week.

The new site—designed by LinkedBy Air, the team behind the Whitney Museum site’s relaunch last year—makes dozens of past articles available for free, including many on contemporary Japanese art.

The bimonthly magazine will continue to release selected articles with each issue, and there will be regular uploads of web-exclusive reviews, video interviews, news reports and blog posts. Meanwhile, the archives, which currently go back to 2007, will grow over time.

Here is a compilation of links to the articles on contemporary Japanese art currently available on the site. As the 2011–2007 span of the archives happens to coincide with when I started contributing to the magazine from Tokyo and then moved to New York to become a full-time editor, you’ll notice that a chunk of them are my own!

Features

• Daido Moriyama: “Out of the Darkness” by Ashley Rawlings [AAP 70, Sept/Oct 2010]

• Taboos in Postwar Japanese Art: Mutually Assured Decorum by Ashley Rawlings [AAP 65, Sept/Oct 2009]

• Lee Ufan: Illusions and Interrelationships by Ashley Rawlings [AAP 62, Mar/Apr 2009]

• Makoto Aida: No More War; Save Water; Don’t Pollute the Sea by Andrew Maerkle [AAP 59, Jul/Aug 2008]

• Yoko Ono: The Artist in Her Unfinished Avant-Garden by HG Masters [AAP 58, May/Jun 2008]

Essays

• Institutional growth and diversification in the Tokyo art scene: “Living in A Beautiful Japan” by Roger McDonald [AAP 53, May/Jun 2007]

Reviews

• Ryoji Ikeda: “+/- [The Inifinite Between 0 and 1]” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, by Kenichi Kondo [AAP 64, Jul/Aug 2009]

“Into the Atomic Sunshine” at Daikanyama Hillside Forum by Ashley Rawlings [AAP 61, Nov/Dec 2008]

• Daido Moriyama: “Retrospective 1965–2005 / Hawaii” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography by Ashley Rawlings [AAP 60, Sept/Oct 2008]

News

Controversy over Takashi Murakami’s exhibition at the Château de Versailles by Jina Valentine [AAP 71, Nov/Dec 2010]

Controversy over Seattle Art Museum guard altering a Yoko Ono work by Rebecca Close [AAP 66, Nov/Dec 2009]

Yoshitomo Nara’s arrest for writing graffiti in the NYC subway by Hanae Ko [AAP 63, May/Jun 2009]

JANUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Aki Sasamoto at Take Ninagawa [Artforum]

Tadasu Takamine at the Yokohama Museum of Art [ART iT]

DanDans at Bulgari Ginza Tower [Artscape International]

“GA Japan 2010: Contemporary Japanese Architects” at GA Gallery [Artscape International]

Mizuki Shigeru at the Hachijoji Yume Art Museum [Artscape International]

Masatoshi Sakaegi at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Saburo Aso at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Aki Sasamoto at Take Ninagawa [Japan Times]

Lee Ufan at SCAI The Bathhouse [TAB]

Motohiko Odani at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Oscar Tuazon and Gardar Eide Einarsson at Rat Hole Gallery [Tokyo Weekender]

Ai Weiwei at Misa Shin Gallery [Tokyo Weekender]

Motohiko Odani at the Mori Art Museum [Tokyo Weekender]

“Transformation” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Tokyo Weekender]

Interviews

Yutaka Sone [ART iT]

Misa Shin [TAB]

Sou Fujimoto [Tokyo Weekender]

Features

Taiji Matsue (Part I) [ART iT]

Art Space Tokyo Reviewed In LEAP Magazine

Happy New Year!  We hope you’re as excited about 2011 as we are.

The year has already got off to a good start for us. We just received a copy of the December issue of LEAP, a bilingual Chinese-English periodical on contemporary art in China. In it, its editorial director, Philip Tinari, wrote a brief but glowing review of AST—one that appreciates our enthusiasm for the Tokyo art world, the city and the art of bookmaking.

This immaculately written, edited, and designed pocket archive of the Tokyo art world offers a printed vision of its co-authors’ mental, nodal picture of a scene they know from the inside. Its topical interviews with key dealers and collectors, inky illustrations, and articulate maps don’t so much as portray a city through its art world as they capture an art world through the meticulous voice of its city. Less ironic than gleeful in its embrace of authoritatively bookish conventions—copious endmatter, empirical footnotes, self-conscious copyright page—the compact volume revels in being a monument at a moment when permanence can seem but a stylistic choice.

Thank you, Philip!

DECEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Katsuhiko Hibino at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [Artscape International]

Tomoki Kurokawa at Nanzuka Underground [Artscape International]

“Snapshots Cast Their Spell” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

“Primary Field II” at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama [Japan Times]

“Reality Lab” at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

“Ichiro Fukuzawa and His Disciples” at the Itabashi Art Museum [Japan Times]

“Collection 3: Japanese Art 1950–2010” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

Dominique Perrault at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Shinya Aota at Aoyama | Meguro [TAB]

“Global Ends: Towards the Beginning” at Gallery Ma [TAB]

Features

0000 Collective [Japan Times]

Tokyo Art Meeting at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Katsuhiro Yamaguchi [ART iT]

Things Worth Remembering 2010” [ART iT]

NOVEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Koga Harue at the Museum of Modern Art, Hayama [Artscape International]

“U-30: Under 30 Architects exhibition” at ODP Design Gallery, Kyoto [Artscape International]

Junya Ishigami at Shiseido Gallery [Realtokyo]

Kenji Yanobe at Yamamoto Gendai [TAB]

“Tokyo Art Meeting: Transformation” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Kiyoshi Suzuki at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Features

Print exhibitions at Kichijoji Art Museum [Artscape International]

Fram Kitagawa and the Setouchi International Art Festival [The Internetwork]

Three architecture exhibitions: Sou Fujimoto, Junya Ishigami and “City 2.0” [Realtokyo]

Tokyo FILMeX [TAB]

“Bokutomachimise 2010” community project [TAB]

Nakaochiai Gallery Closing

I’m sorry to report that after six years of exhibitions, Nakaochiai Gallery is holding its closing party on November 27.

Having long been involved in art projects all over Tokyo, the owners, Julia Barnes and Clint Taniguchi, have decided to move their home to Mejiro and continue their art activities without a permanent gallery space.

The only other featured gallery to have closed in the two and a half years since Art Space Tokyo was first published is Project Space Kandada, run by the nonprofit artist collective commandN. However, like Nakaochiai they were not shutting down their operations but were relocating and expanding them elsewhere, at their new initiative, the 3331 Arts Chiyoda center.

When Craig and I chose the 12 spaces to feature in the book, we did try to choose those with longevity. After all, we were looking for some of the most architecturally and historically distinctive galleries and museums, so the fact that most of them are located in striking, often purpose-built buildings makes them less likely to relocate.

But it was inevitable that some would, and Project Space Kandada and Nakaochiai were the two that we suspected would be most likely to do so. But it’s important to remember that we also chose these spaces because of the fascinating neighborhoods they are in. We want our readers to continue to explore the secondhand bookstores of Kanda and the old-world residential backstreets of Nakaochiai. Keep wandering!

OCTOBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Taiji Matsue at Taro Nasu [Artforum]

Ryota Aoki at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Jae-Eun Choi at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Jae-Eun Choi at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

“Love’s Body: Art in the Age of AIDS” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

Masahiko Sato at 21_21 Design Sight [TAB]

Roni Horn” at Rat Hole Gallery [TAB]

Interviews

Naoya Hatakeyama (Part One) [ART iT]

Naoya Hatakeyama (Part Two) [ART iT]

Naoya Hatakeyama (Part Three) [ART iT]

Peter Fischli and David Weiss [Japan Times]

Features

The Future of Setouchi and Aichi” [Realtokyo]

A Moment With Craig Mod

Art Space Tokyo publisher Craig Mod talks to Graham CopeKoga about his philosophy of bookmaking while in London for the DO lectures, held in Wales, where he spoke on September 19th.

The video contains previously unseen footage of the second edition of Art Space Tokyo in mid-production at the printers in Tokyo. 

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites. For up-to-the-minute info on Japanese contemporary art, follow us on Twitter.

Reviews

Yurie Nagashima at SCAI The Bathhouse [ART iT]

The Aichi Triennale in Nagoya [Artscape International]

“Sensing Nature: Rethinking the Japanese Perception of Nature” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

“Anpo: Art x War” at Uplink Factory [TAB]

Interviews

Kazuyo Sejima [ART iT]

Ryue Nishizawa [ART iT]

Junya Ishigami [ART iT]

Sou Fujimoto [ART iT]

Mika Tajima [ART iT]

Takashi Murakami [New York – Tokyo]

Takashi Murakami [Vernissage TV]

Features

Tatsumi Orimoto [art.es]

Tsuneko Sasamoto [Japan Times]

Shoen Uemura [Japan Times]

The Aichi Triennale 2010 [Artscape International]

Shinro Ohtake [Designboom]

Art Space Tokyo on Twitter

Sometimes the obvious hits you waaaaay later than it should have.

Until today, Art Space Tokyo had no Twitter account.

But now we do! So please follow us!

We’ll continue to use the AST blog to post monthly round-ups of links to articles on Japanese contemporary art as well as other news items, but through Twitter we will definitely offer more up-to-the-minute updates about the Japanese art scene.

AUGUST ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Yuichi Higashionna at NADiff Gallery 2F [Artscape International]

Man Ray at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

“Innocence – Art Towards Life” at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts [Japan Times]

Paramodel at Mori Yu Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Christian Boltanski at the Setouchi International Art Festival [Japan Times]

Robert Waters at Mizuma Art Gallery [TAB]

Mamoru at Yuka Contemporary [TAB]

Isao Sugiyama at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP [TAB]

The Tokyo Art Book Fair at 3331 Arts Chiyoda [TAB]

Interviews

Takashi Murakami [Interview Magazine]

Lee Ufan [Japan Times]

Features

Yuuki Matsumura [ART iT]

Setouchi International Art Festival [Japan Times]

3331 Arts Chiyoda [Japan Times]

The Aichi Triennale [Japan Times]

Shinro Ohtake’s Indexical Survey of Tokyo in the Age of Cinema [ART iT]

---

And when an interview with the Maestro himself isn’t enough, here’s your Murakami Moment of the Month:

Murakami’s planned show at Versailles riles right-wing critics
[Art Info]

Art Space Tokyo’s July Party at the TODs Flagship Store

Following our party at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, we celebrated the relaunch of Art Space Tokyo in style at TODs.

The party was full of people featured in AST, but given the book’s focus on a specific set of venues, it was fantastic to see so many artists, gallerists, curators, collectors and editors from the broader Tokyo art scene in attendance.

You can check out the full photo report on the Pre-Post website.

JULY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

William Eggleston at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artforum]

“What is Architecture?” at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Artscape]

Naoya Hatakeyama at Taka Ishii Gallery [Japan Times]

Robert Waters at Mizuma Art Gallery [Japan Times]

William Eggleston at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

“Wind Speed 0” at Radi-um [TAB]

Osamu Mori at Yamamoto Gendai [TAB]

Tam Ochiai at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

“Meaningful Stain” at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]

“Darkness for Light – Czech Photography Today” at Shiseido Gallery [TAB]

Yuki Matsumura at Take Ninagawa [TAB]

Yukihiro Taguchi at Gallery aM [TAB]

Shinjuko at Parabolica-bis [TAB]

Interviews

Adrian Favell [TAB]

Features

An Indexical Survey of Tokyo in the Age of Cinema [ART iT]

Japan as Galapagos [ART iT]

The Mitsubishi Ichigokan [Artscape]

3331 Arts Chiyoda [Realtokyo]

Obits

Yoshitaka Azuma (1977–2010) [ART iT]

AST’s July Party at the On Sundays Bookstore in the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

On July 3, Craig and I held the first of two events to celebrate the printing of the second edition of Art Space Tokyo.

Kisato Kusano, the owner of the renowned On Sundays bookstore in the basement of the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (one of the 12 spaces featured in the book) generously offered us the chance to use the space so we could bring in a big bad crowd of book lovers for an evening of free beer, wine and sake.

Thank you to everyone who came! It was great to see you out in force!

Photos by Xin Tahara and Ashley Rawlings.


Left: The stunning exterior of the Watari Museum.
Right: Kusano-san laying out copies of Art Space Tokyo.


The On Sundays bookstore quickly filled up with supporters.


AST editor Ashley Rawlings talking to Megumi Matsubara from the Tokyo-based architectural office “Assistant.”


Kisato Kusano, the owner of On Sundays book store.


AST co-author, designer and publisher Craig Mod gives a speech about the Kickstarter fundraising that made this second edition a reality.


Naoki Matsuyama and Lena Oishi, who helped with the translation of Art Space Tokyo.

JUNE ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?” [Artforum]

Makoto Aida at Mizuma Art Gallery [ART iT]

Shusaku Arakawa at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Artscape International]

Toyoshige Watanabe at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura [Japan Times]

William Eggleston at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Fergus Freehily at Misako & Rosen [Japan Times]

“From the 11th Chinese National Art Exhibition 2009: Contemporary Fine Art from China” at the Nara Prefectural Museum of Art [Japan Times]

Yoshitomo Nara at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Japan Times]

Aleksandr Rodchenko & Varvara Stepanova at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum [Japan Times]

“Open Space 2010” at the NTT Inter Communication Center [TAB]

Genichiro Inokuma at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [TAB]

Ritsuko Yamashita at hpgrp Gallery Tokyo [TAB]

Seiichi Furuya at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

Pawel Jaszczuk at Zen Foto Gallery [TAB]

“Where Is Architecture? Seven Installations by Japanese Architects” at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]



Interviews

Aki Sasamoto [ART iT]

William Eggleston [Japan Times]

David Elliott [Japan Times]

Features

Wilhelm Sasnal [ART iT]

Jean Fabre [ART iT]

3331 Arts Chiyoda [Artscape International]

Teratotera Art Project [TAB]

Obits

Kazuo Ohno (1906–2010) [ART iT]

Remembering Shusaku Arakawa (1936–2010) [ART iT]

Kazuo Ohno (1906–2010) [The Guardian]

Craig Mod and Art Space Tokyo in the Japan Times

The Japan Times recently ran an article on none other than Art Space Tokyo’s designer and publisher Craig Mod.

Craig’s essays, “Books in the Age of the iPad” and “Embracing the Digital Book” have won him attention from people across the publishing and IT industries, including the New York Times tech blog.

For Craig, Art Space Tokyo, and in particular the Kickstarter-funded reprint, are important milestones in developing his ideas about how we can maximize the potential inherent in digital publishing.

The second edition of Art Space Tokyo is now printed and copies will be shipped out to our loyal customers shortly.

Next week, I will be meeting with Craig in Tokyo to hold some AST events, discuss the AST iPad version and think about where we will take this project next. More on this soon!

It’s Almost Ready

Those of you who followed our Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign in April saw that we ended up climbing to a sum much higher than our original goal of $15,000.

To our amazement, we hit the $15,000 mark after only two weeks, and pledges continued to pour in over the remaining three weeks of the fundraising period.

On May 1, we reached an astonishing total of $23,790, which is allowing us to go ahead with a full second print-run, as well as develop the iPad version.

We are profoundly grateful the 265 backers who made this possible.

Over the past month, Craig and I have been mailing each other back and forth, fixing up a few missteps in the original, and polishing the book’s editorial and design.

The 2010 edition of Art Space Tokyo is at the printers right now and will be with you soon…

MAY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?” at the Mori Art Museum [Artforum]

Yoshiji Takehara at Gallery MA [Artscape]

“Plastic Memories – To Illuminate ‘Now’” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

“Jan Fabre x Katsura Funakoshi: Alternative Humanities” [Japan Times]

Ryoichi Yamazaki at Nakaochiai Gallery [Japan Times]

“Akihisa Hirata x SHIMABUROS.” at Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto [Japan Times]

“Post Fossil: Excavating 21st Century Creation” at 21_21 Design Sight [TAB]

Mika Ninagawa at G/P Gallery [TAB]

“Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

“Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

“Aleksandr Rodchenko + Varvara Stepanova: Visions of Contructivism” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum [TAB]

Interviews

Henk Visch and Ryue Nishizawa (Part 1) [ART iT]

Henk Visch and Ryue Nishizawa (Part 2) [ART iT]

Nobuyoshi Araki [Japan Times]

Kohei Nawa [Studio Banana TV]

Noriyuki Haraguchi [TAB]

Features

3331 Arts Chiyoda [Artscape]

Toshiki Okada [Realtokyo]

Obits

Ichiro Haryu (1925–2010) [ART iT]

Shusaku Arakawa (1936–2010) [ART iT]

APRIL ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Design-Conscious Apartments Then and Now”at Misawa Homes Seminar Hall [Artscape]

John Lurie at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Art Fair Tokyo [TAB]

Ryoko Kimura at Kido Press [TAB]

Interviews

Yasumasa Morimura (Part 1) [ART iT]

Yasumasa Morimura (Part 2) [ART iT]

Features

Yoshinari Nishio in Nairobi [Artscape]

Boat People Association and Tokyo Artpoint Project [Artscape]

The Galapagosi-isation of the Japanese art scene [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Masato Nakamura and Takashi Murakami [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Teppei Kaneuji, Koki Tanaka and Tatzu Nishi [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Fram Kitagawa and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale [Adrian Favell on ART iT]

Shinji Kohmoto [Japan Times]

Johnny Walker and the Bacon Prize [Japan Times]

Art Fair Tokyo [Japan Times]

Fundraising For Art Space Tokyo Reaches its Goal!

Wow! We have reached our goal of $15,000 in only 16 days!

Craig and I are bowled over by the enthusiasm that people have shown for the Kickstarter project since the page went live on March 29.

We want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have pledged. Your enthusiasm and backing mean a great deal to us.

The project doesn’t close until May 1, so there’s still a chance to join us!

All additional funding we receive will be invested in expanding the second print run, developing an iPad version of the book with supplementary content, and potentially starting work on guides to art scenes in other cities around the world.

If you haven’t already, please join us!

Art Space Tokyo Reprint, Update and iPad!

Art Space Tokyo will be back on the shelves, in your hands, and on your iPad soon!

The book’s original print-run of 1,500 copies has been sold out for more than a year. If you’re one of our loyal followers who is frustrated not to have gotten hold of a copy, then this is your chance.

Demand has remained very high, so we bought back the copyright and are reprinting it ourselves, also with plans to develop an iPad version.

We have set up an Art Space Tokyo Kickstarter page, where you can pre-order your copy of the new edition.

Even though this page has only been up for less than a week, and Craig and I haven’t even sent out a mass e-mail about it yet, the response has been incredible.

Just by posting news of the reprint on Facebook and Twitter, as well as some coverage on a couple of popular blogs, we have already raised over $5,000!

This is an experiment in community-funded publishing. If we cannot secure $15,000 in pre-orders by May 1st, printing will not go ahead and you will not be charged. You’re only charged if we raise enough interest and reach our minimum goal.

We hope you’re as excited about this as we are, and that you will continue to give your support to Art Space Tokyo.

MARCH ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Garden of Painting: Japanese Art of the 00s” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Artscape]

Hisashi Hojin at Prismic Gallery [Artscape]

Taiji Kiyokawa at Kiyokawa Taiji Memorial Gallery [Japan Times]

Takuya Tsukahara at Syadai Gallery [Japan Times]

“Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Life=Works=Projects” at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

“Chronicle 1945, 1951, 1957: A Revision of Postwar Japanese Art” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

“MAM Project: Jules de Balincourt” at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

• Book Review: “Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and 70s” [NYAB]

Yasumasa Morimura at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

“Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Life=Works=Projects” at 21_21 Design Sight [TAB]

MOT Annual 2010 - Neo-ornamentalism at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Interviews

Nara Yoshitomo [ART iT]

Dan Graham [Japan Times]

Yasumasa Morimura [Japan Times]

• TABuzz #12:Tony

FEBRUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Teppei Kaneuji at ShugoArts [Artforum]

Miwa Yanagi at Rat Hole Gallery [Artforum]

“Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love” at the Mori Art Museum [ART iT]

Teppei Kaneuji at ShugoArts [Frieze]

Tsuyoshi Tane and Teppei Kaneuji at Taka Ishii Gallery and ShugoArts [Japan Times]

G-tokyo art fair [Japan Times]

“Garden of Painting” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

Jack McLean, Patrick Tomlinson and Natasha Rees at RBR Gallery [Japan Times]

Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

Chise Shimomura at Musée F [TAB]

Yukihiro Taguchi at Mujin-to Production [TAB]

Tomoaki Suzuki at SCAI The Bathhouse [TAB]

Features

A tour of Tokyo’s galleries [The Guardian]

Art and social change in Japan [Tactical Museum]

“Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love” (Part 1) at the Mori Art Museum [We Make Money Not Art]

“Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love” (Part 2) at the Mori Art Museum [We Make Money Not Art]

Interviews

Miyake Saori [ART iT]

Toshiki Okada [TAB]

Go Walkies!

The tireless philanthropists at Art Beat have just launched their iPhone apps for Tokyo and New York, which means you will never get lost on your way to an exhibition again!

As with the main sites themselves, you can browse hundreds of events by area, media, opening nights and user-rated popularity, but all with the added benefit of GPS.

The NY app is going for a discounted rate of $0.99 until the end of February, while the Tokyo app is priced at $1.99.

As a sign of how in-demand this service is, for the past week the Tokyo app has been in the top five of all paid apps on the Japan iTunes store!

Meanwhile, TAB continues its donation campaign. They’re nearly at the 500,000 yen mark, but that’s only one-third of the way to their target amount. If you haven’t already, please show your support to this essential goldmine of information.

Aki Sasamoto

Aki Sasamoto is a young New York-based performance artist whose work is a surreal cycle of tragicomic vignettes that combine distorted everyday objects (elongated forks and wooden clogs with knives built into the soles, for example) with lectures on pseudo-mathematics and reminiscences on childhood memories.

In this video she is performing Love is the End of Art (2009) in collaboration with British artist, writer and musician Momus at Zach Feuer Gallery. While Sasamoto performed her own sequences of actions, Momus stalked her, playing both the roles of the art critic and the unrequited lover.

Sasamoto will be performing in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (February 25 – March 30).

In the following video, produced for the Biennial, she muses about the formal and physical relationship between chikuwa (a type of cylindrical fish cake), donuts and the body—ideas that may inform her work-in-progress for the exhibition.

Update (February 25)

The New York Times has uploaded a video of Sasamoto in her studio, talking about and performing part of Strange Attractors, her piece for the Whitney Biennial.

Yukihiro Taguchi

In an endeavor to find low-maintenance ways of keeping this blog active and of interest to our readers, from now on I will regularly post videos about Japanese contemporary artists found on YouTube.

Let’s start with some quirky explorations of space by Berlin-based video/installation artist Yukihiro Taguchi.

Moment (2007)

Nest (2008)

Nest No.2 (2009)

JANUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Kosuke Ichikawa at Foil Gallery [Artforum]

Rei Naito at the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura [ART iT]

“8 Days – Beuys in Japan” at Art Tower Mito [ART iT]

Tabaimo at the Yokohama Museum of Art [ART iT]

“Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love” at the Mori Art Museum [Artscape]

“Architecture of the Future” at Mistubishi-Jisho Artium [Artscape]

“No Man’s Land” at the former French Embassy [Artscape]

“No Man’s Land” at the former French Embassy [Japan Times]

“The Outline: The Unseen Outline of Things” at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

Cecil Balmond at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Ihei Kimura and Henri Cartier Bresson at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Japan Times]

“Paintings by Four Artists” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto [Japan Times]

Nagisa Oshima at the National Film Center [TAB]

Ihei Kimura and Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

Haruo Mitsuta at Radi-um [TAB]

Motohiko Odani at Maison Hermès’ Le Forum Gallery [TAB]

G-tokyo 2010 art fair at the Mori Arts Center [TAB]

Interviews

Nobuyoshi Araki [ART iT]

Yang Fudong [Japan Times]

Cheungvogi architectural practice [TAB]

Fumiko Imano [TAB]

And your Murakami Moment of the month…

Keep the Information Flowing

Tokyo Art Beat recently launched an appeal for donations to help it stay afloat in 2010.

TAB is a nonprofit organization, so much of its activities are realized only through the generosity of dozens of volunteers. But the site simply cannot exist without revenue to support its core team of five paid staff. These are the people who keep TAB up to date, adding and translating information about the hundreds of art, design, architecture and fashion events taking place every week.

This cause hits close to home for me, because I know how much work these people put into keeping TAB running—I was a translator and editor there for nearly three years. On top of the event listings TAB’s staff works on commissioning and distributing limited-edition artist T-shirts, organizing events, and publishing a bi-monthly art map that you can pick up all over the city. These people live and breathe the Tokyo art scene and they want nothing more than to make it easier for you to find your way in.

I just made a donation and it was encouraging to see the donation bar jump up a decent amount within 24 hours, showing that there are other people out there who care. If you’re passionate about contemporary art in Japan, please, please keep the information flowing and give these brilliant people a boost.

Snow Magazine Launches

Following weeks of dropping hints and teasers on his blog, long-time Tokyo-based design writer and editor Jean Snow has finally launched his new online magazine.

Snow magazine offers news and guest-columns covering the cultural landscape of Tokyo and Japan, as well as some syndicated content from the Néojaponisme web journal and Paper Sky magazine.  And it’s a joy to look at!

It’s a much-needed successor to PingMag, the popular online design magazine that ceased publication with the recession.

Art Space Tokyo in 2010

This is running a little late maybe, but Happy New Year!

Where to in 2010?

The Art Space Tokyo blog was less dynamic in 2009 than I would have liked. My move from Tokyo to New York in January last year meant that I’ve had to run it as a bit of a skeleton service since then. I haven’t had the time to post weekly updates on art in Tokyo, so the best I could do was to keep compiling the monthly round-ups of links to exhibition reviews, artist interviews and feature articles.

These long lists of links may not be the most exciting things to receive on your RSS feed, but I think that in the long term this archiving of the main sources of information on the Tokyo art scene is a useful project, and one that isn’t being undertaken anywhere else.

In any case, Craig and I are working on new developments for AST in 2010, details of which we will bring to you over the next couple of months.

Until then, thank you for keeping your eye on AST, and please stay tuned for more!

DECEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Sandro Chia at the Italian Cultural Institute [TAB]

“Luxury in Fashion Reconsidered” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Taku Obata + Rei Aruga + Ken Hayashida at Tokyo Wonder Site, Hongo [TAB]

Christopher Bucklow at Emon Photo Gallery [Japan Times]

“Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love” at the Mori Art Museum” [Japan Times]

Jean-Claude Wouters at Marunouchi Gallery [Japan Times]

Kengo Kuma at Gallery Ma [Artscape]

“CREAM – International Festival for Arts and Media Yokohama” [ART iT]

The 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale” at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum [ART iT]

Interviews

• TABuzz #11: Shai Ohayon

SymbioticA [TAB]

Rei Naito [TAB]

Rei Naito [ART iT]

Tabaimo [ART iT]

Pipilotti Rist [ART iT]

Thomas Ruff [ART iT]

Olafur Eliasson [Japan Times]

Features

Year in Review 2009 [TAB]

Japanese artists at the Asia-Pacific Triennial [Japan Times]

Changes in the financial landscape of Tokyo’s art scene during the 2000s [Japan Times]

Lieko Shiga at the International Festival for Arts and Media Yokohama [Artscape]

Zenpukuji Park and Yokobo Art Space [Artscape]

... And your Murakami Moment of the month.

NOVEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Rebecca Horn at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

“Workshop Party” at Yuka Contemporary [TAB]

“The Far Fog” at Vacant [TAB]

“Tenth Tokyo Filmex” at Yurakucho Asahi Hall [TAB]

Cao Fei at Shiseido Gallery [TAB]

Rebecca Horn at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Jeon Joonho” at SCAI The Bathhouse [Artforum]

Shinro Ohtake at Take Ninagawa [Artforum]

Nakaya Fujiko + doubleNegatives Architecture at L’Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo [ART iT]

Cao Fei at Shiseido Gallery [ART iT]

4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum [ART iT]

CREAM – International Festival for Arts and Media Yokohama [Tactical Museum]

Interviews

• TABuzz #09: Antonin Gaultier (Digiki) and Stanley Lieber

• TABuzz #10: DadaD

Yuki Kimura [ART iT]

Shinro Ohtake [ART iT]

ShimaBros [ART iT]

Yuki Kimura [ART iT]

Pipilotti Rist [Japan Times]

Features

Dispute at Yokohama CREAM Festival [Japan Times]

The 21st-Century Kanazawa Museum [Artscape]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Izu Photo Museum [Artscape]

OCTOBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Contemporary Japanese Architecture Seen from Abroad” at GA Gallery [Artscape]

“In the Little Playground: Nobuyuki Hitsuda and His Students” at the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art and Nagoya City Art Museum [Artscape]

Misaki Kawai at Take Ninagawa [TAB]

Tokyo Graphic Passport symposium [TAB]

“Why Are Artists Poor?” lecture at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music [TAB]

Chiharu Shiota at the Nizayama Forest Art Museum [ART iT]

Tomoko Konoike at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [ART iT]

Seiji Aruga at Radi-um [Artforum]

“Light Streams” at Center for Cosmic Wonder” [Artforum]

“Shadow – Exhibition Obsura” at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art [Japan Times]

“Hisho Art Award” at the Setagaya Art Museum [Japan Times]

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Izu Photo Museum [Japan Times]

Vernon Panton at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Interviews

Mark Pearson, director of the newly opened Zen Photo Gallery [TAB]

Cao Fei [Japan Times]

Features

• A profile of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

• Kengo Kuma’s Nezu Museum [Japan Times]

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Jun Aoki at Taro Nasu Gallery [TAB]

Noritake at Rocket [TAB]

Chikako Hasegawa at Radi-um [TAB]

“Travel” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

“The Light: Yoko Matsumoto / Rika Noguchi” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Tsuyoshi Ozawa at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Miwa Yanagi at the National Museum of Art, Osaka [Japan Times]

Tokyo Photo” art fair [Japan Times]

Jun Aoki at Taro Nasu Gallery [ART iT]

Aiko Tezuka at Kenji Taki Gallery [ART iT]

Martin Creed at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art [ART iT]

Kosho Ito at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Artscape]

“Before Architecture, After Architecture” at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Artscape]

Echigo-Tsumari Triennale [Artscape]

Meiro Koizumi at the Mori Art Museum [Artforum]

Jonathan Meese at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Artforum]

Interviews

Shinro Ohtake [Japan Times]

Lieko Shiga [ART iT]

Kazuhiko Hachiya [ART iT]

Tomoko Konoike [ART iT]

Sara Dolatabadi [TAB]

TABuzz #07: Akihito Inui

TABuzz #08: Roger McDonald

Features

Shinro Ohtake in Naoshima [Japan Times]

Tokyo Photo” art fair [Art Info]

... And your Murakami Moment of the month.

AUGUST ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

Ai Weiwei at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Kohei Nawa at Maison Hermès’ Le Forum Gallery [TAB]

“Terrifying Girls School” film series at Laputa Cinema [TAB]

“Stitch by Stitch” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Museum [TAB]

“Musashino Art University 80th Anniversary exhibition” at Gallery αM [TAB]

“Camino a la Modernidad: Masterpieces of Modern Mexican Painting” at the Setagaya Art Museum [Japan Times]

Kosho Ito at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Koizumi Meiro at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Timothy Saccenti at Deisel Denim Gallery [Japan Times]

Tomoko Konoike at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [Japan Times]

DanDans at Chinzan-so Garden [Japan Times]

Interviews

Jonathan Chandler [TAB]

Andrea Hope [TAB]

Mami Kataoka [ART iT]

Ai Weiwei (Part 1) [ART iT]

Ai Weiwei (Part 2) [ART iT]

Features

Megumi Matsubara [TAB]

Anthony Gormley at the Echigo-Tsumari Triennale< [Japan Times]

Echigo-Tsumari Triennale [Japan Times]

Ai Weiwei [Artforum Scene and Herd]

The demise of Studio Voice magazine [RealTokyo]

JULY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Reviews

“Press Photographers’ Story” and “World Press Photo ‘09” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

“Winter Garden: The Exploration of Micropop Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Art” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Gutai Art Association at the Venice Biennale [Japan Times]

Yoko Ono awarded Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale [Japan Times]

Satoshi Hashimoto & Kanako Hatashi at CAMP / Otto Mainzheim Gallery [Artscape]

Ai Weiwei at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

“GA International 2009” at GA Gallery [TAB]

“Bones” at 21_21 Design Sight [TAB]

Miwa Yanagi at the Venice Biennale [ART iT]

Interviews

Takahiro Yamaguchi [TAB]

Minam Apang [TAB]

Keisuke Narita [TAB]

Sayaka Akiyama [TAB]

Adam Pasion [TAB]

• TABuzz # 05: Oliver Watson

Features

Cambodian artists in residence at Tokyo Wonder Site [Japan Times]

Naoko Jin [Japan Times]

Contemporary transportation in manga [TAB]

Mail Art [TAB]

Sound Gardening [TAB]

A tour of the Bakurocho gallery neighborhood [TAB]

JUNE ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

“Neoteny Japan” and Yayoi Kusama at the Ueno Royal Museum and Takahashi Collection Hibiya [TAB]

“Winter Garden: The Micropop Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Art” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Chim↑Pom at NADiff [TAB]

Keizo Kitajima at Rat Hole Gallery [TAB]

“The Kaleidoscopic Eye” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Kosuke Ichikawa at PLSMIS [ART iT]

Venice Biennale report [ART iT]

“Hundred Stories about Love” at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa [ART iT]

“Vision of Contemporary Art 2009” at the Ueno Royal Museum
[ART iT]

Tadasu Takamine at the Sendai Mediatheque [ART iT]





More Exhibition Reviews...

Hitoshi Nomura at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Venice Biennale report [Japan Times]

ArtBasel report [Japan Times]

“Tadao Ando Exhibition 2009: The City of Water/Osaka vs. Venice” at Suntory Museum Tempozan [Japan Times]

Aloise Corbaz at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Hitomi Watanabe at the Phillia Museum [Artscape]

“Neoteny Japan” at the Ueno Royal Museum [Artscape]

Ryoji Ikeda at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [White Rabbit]

Tatzu Nishi at Arataniurano [Artforum]

“Neoteny Japan” and “Winter Garden” at the Ueno Royal Museum and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Metropolis]

Interviews

Tatzu Nishi at Arataniurano (Part 1) [TAB]

Tatzu Nishi at Arataniurano (Part 2) [TAB]

• TABuzz #03: Satoru Aoyama [TAB]

• TABuzz #04: Yosuke Kurita

Miwa Yanagi at the Venice Biennale [Japan Times]

Tadao Ando and Hiroshi Sugimoto in conversation [ART iT]

Miwa Yanagi at the Venice Biennale [ART iT]

• Interview with Satoru Aoyama [ART iT]

• Interview with Teppei Kaneuji [ART iT]

Features

Ryutaro Takahashi and “Neoteny Japan” [Artscape]

Architectural Institute of Japan [Artscape]

Chim↑Pom’s “Gallery Vagina” [RealTokyo]

ART iT magazine’s transfer to the web [Japan Times]

... And your Murakami Moment of the month

Half a Century of Nuclear Explosions

Recently I came across this video artwork by Isao Hashimoto,
1945–1998.

It is a haunting visualization of the 2053 atomic explosions that occurred on this planet, from the “Trinity” test at Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1945, to the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of 1998.

Using different sounds and colors to denote explosions—by the United States, the USSR, Britain, China, France, India and Pakistan—over 53 years, it is a haunting piece of minimal music that also visualizes the half-century of the nuclear arms race.

It is well worth watching the entire 14 minutes. As it says on the host site, it sounds eerily like a conversation.

Another video by Hashimoto, Overkilled, shows a hand dropping a single ball bearing to represent the Hiroshima bombing, which killed more than 140,000 people. A second ball bearing represents the death of 70,000 people from the Nagasaki bombing.

The remaining minute of the video shows a cascade of 20,590 ball bearings, representing total global nuclear weapons stockpiles (in June 2004).

ART iT Relaunches Online

Back in April, Japan’s bilingual quarterly art magazine ART iT announced that it was suspending its print publication to move entirely online, and with a revamped website.

The new site isn’t yet complete, but it has launched with reports on the Venice Biennale. In addition to magazine-style coverage it has section of blogs by numerous artists and art figures in Japan, and a Facebook/Mixi-style social networking service.

One thing to note is that the URL has changed from www.art-it.jp to www.art-it.asia and unfortunately it seems the former site’s archives of exhibition reviews, interviews and features have not been transferred to the new site. Whatever happens, I hope all this material doesn’t get lost.

Setouchi International Art Festival – Call For Submissions


Since the early 1990s, a cluster of islands in the Seto Inland Sea have been developing into one of Japan’s major sites of contemporary art. Naoshima was the first, starting with its world-class, iconic museums Bennesse House and Chichu Art Museum, both designed by Tadao Ando.

The Art House Project has renovated old houses into site-specific installations by renowned artists including Rei Naito, James Turrell, Tatsuo Miyajima and Hiroshi Sugimoto. In recent years, nearby islands of Inushima and Teshima have become homes to a variety of art installations.

In 2010, the region will host the inaugural Seto International Art Festival, taking place from July 19 to October 31. The festival’s organizers are currently calling submissions, open until August 31.

Details are available on their homepage.

MAY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

Ryoji Ikeda at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at Maison Hermès’ Le Forum gallery [TAB]

“Waiting for Video: Works from the 1960s to Today”
at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]

Yishay Garbasz at Wako Works of Art [TAB]

Aiko Miyanaga at Mizuma Art Gallery [TAB]

Hiroshi Yoshida at Waitingroom [TAB]

Natsuyuki Nakanishi at SCAI the Bathhouse [TAB]

More Exhibition Reviews...

Yishay Garbasz at Wako Works of Art [Japan Times]

“U-Tsu-Wa” at 21_21 Design Sight [Japan Times]

“The Kaleidoscopic Eye: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection” at the Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Tetsuya Umeda at Ota Fine Arts [Japan Times]

Mark Rothko at the Kawamura Memorial Museum [Japan Times]

“20: Klein Dytham Architecture” at Gallery Ma [Japan Times]

Yet More Exhibition Reviews...

Tadasu Takamine at the Sendai Mediatheque [ART iT]

Yishay Garbasz at Wako Works of Art [Artforum]

“Waiting for Video: Works from the 1960s to Today”
at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [Artscape]

“20: Klein Dytham Architecture” at Gallery Ma [Artscape]

Osamu Tezuka at Edo-Tokyo Museum [Metropolis]

“Matisse and His Circles – France Wild, France Refined” at Bridgestone Museum [Metropolis]

And Some Interviews and Features...

• The first in the TABuzz series of interviews: curator Haruka Ito [TAB]

• The second in the TABuzz series of interviews: artist Teppei Kaneuji [TAB]

• A video interview with artist Shantell Martin [TAB]

• An interview with David Pollard and Tomonari Waku, of organic architecture collective Natural House Project [TAB]

• A profile of one of Japan’s leading collectors of contemporary art, Ryutaro Takahashi [Japan Times]

• A profile of artists Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry, who are on an artist-in-residence program at Tokyo Wonder Site [Japan Times]

• Tetsuya Ozaki on Aiko Miyanaga at Mizuma Art Gallery [RealTokyo]

APRIL ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

Roppongi Art Night in and around Roppongi Hills [TAB]

Miwa Yanagi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

Teppei Kaneuji at the Yokohama Museum of Art [TAB]

Akiyoshi Mishima and Motohiko Odani at Nanzuka Underground and Yamamoto Gendai [TAB]

“20: Klein Dytham Architecture” at Gallery Ma [TAB]

“20: Klein Dytham Architecture” at Gallery Ma [Japan Times]

Ryoji Ikeda at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Sophy Rickett at Nichido Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Miwa Yanagi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [Artscape]

Norio Hosaka at Coexist Gallery [Artscape]

“Artists’ File” at the National Art Center Tokyo [Metropolis]




Features

Taro Okamoto’s mural “Myth of Tomorrow” at Shibuya Station




Interviews

Hiroshi Eguchi of publishing house UTRECHT [TAB]

MARCH ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

Shimabuku at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Jim Lambie at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Tse Su-Mei at Art Tower Mito [TAB]

“GA Houses Project” at GA Gallery [TAB]

Interviews

Paule Saviano at Gallery éf [TAB]

Tekko Itoh on the Kawaguchi i-mono iron cookware brand [TAB]

Koo Fu jewelry [TAB]

Hiroyuki Saito on Ikazaki Shachu washi paper [TAB]

Satoshi Yamashita on Hokubo blade-producing [TAB]

Naoki Ishibashi on Soejima igusa grass for tatami mats [TAB]

Shutaro Nomura on Nomura Orimono textiles [TAB]

Toshihisa Yoshizawa on Nigara Uchihamono Tanzono bladesmithing [TAB]

Tsuneo Goto on Naruko lacquerware [TAB]

Japan Knit Brand [TAB]

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec on visiting sites of craft production in rural Japan [TAB]

Features

On Realtokyo, Tetsuya Ozaki discusses Kiyoshi Awazu’s retrospective at the Kawasaki City Museum and announces that ART iT and RealTokyo will be downscaling their activities.

FEBRUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

“Chalo! India — A New Era in Indian Contemporary Art” at the Mori Art Museum [TAB]

Diener & Diener at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [TAB]

“Light Insight” at the NTT ICC [TAB]

Vik Muniz at Tokyo Wonder Site, Shibuya [TAB]

Toshio Matsumoto at Theatre Image Forum [TAB]

Yutaka Takanashi at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo [TAB]

“57th Tokyo University of the Arts Graduation Works” at Tokyo University of the Arts [TAB]

Regional Code Asia + Richard Streitmatter-Tran at Project Space Kandada [TAB]

Aram Dikiciyan at Clear Gallery [Japan Times]

Aiko Miyanaga at Shiseido Gallery [Japan Times]

Jim Lambie at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Mark Ryden at Tomio Koyama Gallery [Japan Times]

Peter McDonald at Gallery Side 2 [Artscape]

Interviews

Yoshinobu Watanabe of Kikuyu on Mizuhiki knot tying [TAB]

Nissin Furniture Crafters [TAB]

Motoyuki Tamagawa of Gyokusendo on tsuikidoki coppersmith techniques in Niigata prefecture [TAB]

Tsutomu Deshimaru talks about Satuma Kuro Kiriko glass from Kagoshima [TAB]

Features

• Tetsuya Ozaki discusses War and Art [RealTokyo]

JANUARY ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Every month, Art Space Tokyo offers you a round-up of exhibition reviews, interviews, feature articles and news items published on other websites.

Exhibition Reviews

Manabu Ikeda at Mizuma Art Gallery [TAB]

Tabaimo at Gallery Koyanagi [TAB]

Yasuzo Masumura at Kadokawa Cinema Shinjuku [TAB]

Vik Muniz at Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya [Japan Times]

Jim Lambie at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Ryo Sehata at the Nerima Art Museum [Japan Times]

Donna Ong at Wada Fine Arts [Japan Times]

Peter McDonald at Gallery Side 2 [Japan Times]

Takashi Yasumura and Satoru Eguchi at Misako & Rosen [Artscape]

Atushi Nogimura at Living Design Center Ozone Gallery [Artscape]

Miyako Ishiuchi at the Meguro Museum of Art [Artscape]

The Fuchu Biennial [Metropolis]

Features

• The second part of “Year in Art 2008,” covering July to December [TAB]

Interviews

Michael Borremans at Gallery Koyanagi [ART iT]

Rug weaving in Yamagata prefecture [TAB]

Cast iron manufacturing in Yamagata prefecture [TAB]

Tansu woodcraft in Niigata prefecture [TAB]

And in Other News....

• Yoshitomo Nara arrested for Graffiti in New York [Art in America]

DECEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Tokyo Art Beat’s of the month was “Towards an Open Source Urbanism”, Dominick Chen’s examination of how the virtual urban environment relates to the physical city in Tokyo.

On Tokyo Art Beat, I published the first part of “The Year in Art 2008”, my round up of the key exhibitions and events that shaped the Tokyo art scene this year.

Similarly, RealTokyo offers its highlights of 2008.

In December, the Japan Times published an article questioning whether or not the Chinese art bubble has burst and how this may be shifting more attention onto Japanese contemporary art.

Unfortunately, one bubble that burst in December was PingMag, which fell victim to the global economic downturn and has suspended its activities for the forseeable future. Its last article was an interview
with artist Ryu Itadani.

Exhibition reviews for this month included:

Bruce Conner at Miyake Fine Art [TAB]

Michael Borremans at Gallery Koyanagi [TAB]

Mika Ninagawa at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery [TAB]

“Chalo! India — A New Era in Indian Contemporary Art” at Mori Art Museum [Japan Times]

Andrew Wyeth at the Bunkamura Museum of Art [Metropolis]

Leonard Foujita at the Ueno Royal Museum [Metropolis]

And your Murakami Moment of the Month: A little bundle of Superflat let loose at Art Basel Miami Beach.

NOVEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

With the Yokohama Triennale having come to a close on November 30, Tokyo Art Beat concluded its coverage with a review of Pedro Reyes’ Baby Marx on display at the shinko pier, and Artscape reported on the nearby Koganecho Bazaar.

November was a big month for Tokyo’s design community, with Design Week Tokyo 2008 dominating the Aoyama area and other locations around Tokyo. PingMag picked out its highlights; Tokyo Art Beat reviewed the week’s two major events “100% Tokyo” and “Design Tide”, as well as the Good Design Exhibition held at Tokyo Midtown Design Hub.

A low key, but historically significant event that took place this month was the recreation of Nobuo Sekine’s Phase — Mother Earth, last seen in Kobe in 1968; its 2008 reincarnation was documented in a TAB photo report.

In his monthly “Out of Tokyo” column at Realtokyo, Tetsuya Ozaki covered the fallout surrounding artist group Chim↑Pom’s atom bomb-inspired “Pika” performance in Hiroshima last month.

Similarly headline-grabbing was world-famous animator Hayao Miyazaki’s criticism of Prime Minister Taro Aso, who he derided as “an embarrassment.”

Also in animation-related news was Takashi Murakami’s decision to open an animation studio in Los Angeles.

Other reviews this month:

Hisashi Tenmyoya at Mizuma Art Gallery [Japan Times]

Tomotaka Yasui at Megumi Ogita Gallery [Japan Times]

Hideaki Shibata and Kazuya Matsunaga at Yukari Art Contemporary [Japan Times]

Chikako Ikeguchi at the Shibuya Shoto Museum of Art [Japan Times]

“Art of our Time” at the Ueno Royal Museum [TAB]

Tomoko Yoneda at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [TAB]

Tadao Ando at Gallery Ma [TAB]

“On Your Body” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography [TAB]

Kazunari Sakamoto at the Tokyo Institute of Technology [Artscape]

Sachigusa Yasuda at Base Gallery [ART iT]

Art Between Tokyo and New York

I just want to direct readers’ attention towards Johnny Strategy’s Spoon & Tamago (Spoon and Egg) blog. Ostensibly it covers “art, somewhere between New York and Tokyo” but over the last six months, since I’ve started following it, the emphasis seems to be firmly planted on Japanese soil.

Mr. Strategy’s special editions sections, including Contemporary Japanese Architects and Japanese Industrial Designers 101, provide great jumping points for deeper exploration into these fields.

Spoon & Tamago offers a keen observational eye into a wide range of Japanese art, design and architecture — in other words, it’s a blog you should be reading. 

Art Fair Tokyo announces its 2009 line up.

Known for its mixture of galleries that handle antique, modern and contemporary art, Art Fair Tokyo has announced that in 2009 it will feature more contemporary galleries.

Of the 113 participants, 105 are from Japan (mostly Tokyo), while 8 are international. 24 are classified as antique-dealing galleries, 49 as modern art galleries, and 40 as contemporary art galleries.

In a new development, next year will be the first time AFT features a secondary venue dedicated to young contemporary galleries that have been established in the last 5 years. Called Marunouchi Tokia (@TOKIA) there will be 29 participants, 19 of which are from Japan (mostly Tokyo) and 10 of which are international.

Although the complete list of participants has been announced in an email press release, at present the Art Fair Tokyo homepage does not show this information. Presumably it will be updated in due course.

Due to the previous uncertainty over the future of 101Tokyo, most of the Japanese galleries that participated in 101Tokyo 2008 have already joined Art Fair Tokyo’s Tokia annex. There are few commercial galleries of substance left in Tokyo, so it is likely that 101Tokyo will take on a different character next year.

Although 101Tokyo 2008 had a 50-50 balance of Japanese and international galleries, it is fair to assume at this stage that in 2009 it will reappear as a more internationally oriented fair.

101Tokyo 2009 Due to go Ahead

After a period of uncertainty hanging over its future, it appears that 101Tokyo Contemporary Art Fair, which made a promising debut in 2008, is due to take place for the second time in April 2009.

The new team has as its Director, art consultant and writer Jason Jenkins, and as its Creative Director, Haruka Ito, independent curator and director of Magical Artroom. Show management is being conducted by the event production company Loufas Co. Ltd.

For more details of this initial announcement, visit the 101Tokyo homepage.

Tokyo and Osaka Galleries Open in Kyoto

Taka Ishii Gallery and Tomio Koyama Gallery are opening spaces in Kyoto. Located within walking distance of Kyoto Station, the new gallery building will open on November 20.

The second floor will be occupied by Taka Ishii Gallery, whose inaugural exhibition will be a solo show by Nobuya Hoki” (running until December 23) and Tomio Koyama Gallery, which will be holding a solo exhibition by Masahiko Kuwahara until December 27. On the first floor there will be a branch of Tomio Koyama’s TKG Editions, which sells limited edition artist multiples and prints, and from the new year, art editor Goto Shigeo (who is behind Tokyo’s G/P Gallery) will also run the Hanayacho Portfolio Room.

Opening reception for both galleries:
November 20 (Thursday) 18:00 - 20:00

Address: 483 Nishigawa-cho Shimogyo-ku Kyoto 600-8325
Tel: 03-5646-6050

Kyoto is reported to be home to an increasingly vibrant contemporary art scene with an aesthetic that differs notably from the work of Tokyo artists. As a common second stop for visitors to Tokyo, expanding into Kyoto makes sense for Tokyo galleries.

The Osaka-born Kodama Gallery, which also has a space in Tokyo, has relocated to the riverside area south of Kyoto Station, where they are currently holding an exhibition by Tomoki Kakitani.

Address: 67-2 Higashikujo Yanaginoshitacho, Minami-ku, Kyoto 601-8025
Tel: 075-693-4075

The Daiwa Foundation Art Prize

The Daiwa Foundation has announced a new art prize introducing British artists to Japan and offering one British artist a first solo show in Tokyo (in 2009). In addition to an exhibition, the winning artist will be given a period of support and introductions to key individuals and organisations in the Japanese contemporary art world.

Electric Stimulus Face Test

A random discovery on YouTube… Daito Manabe’s channel which documents an unusual experiment in performance, kinetic art and sound design.

OCTOBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

Coverage of the Yokohama Triennale appears to have peaked this month, with a slew of reviews and interviews. Roger McDonald gives a fascinating critique from a curatorial point of view on his Tactical Museum blog.

PingMag offered a mini guide to the triennale, while Tokyo Art Beat published reviews of a number of works featured in the show, including Cao Fei’s Play with your Triennale, Matthew Barney’s Guardian of the Veil, and Cerith Wyn Evans and Throbbing Gristle’s A=P=A=R=I=T=I=O=N. The Japan Times also reported on Terence Koh’s White Bunny Parade.

For interviews with artists taking part in the triennale, see TAB’s video series that focused on Joan Jonas, Aki Sasamoto, and Andreas Stasta, an assistant to Hermann Nitsch.

Other reviews this month:

Aida Makoto at Mizuma Art Gallery [Artscape]

Tomoko Shioyasu at SCAI The Bathhouse [Artscape]

Seiichi Yamashita at Gallery Bauhaus [Artscape]

“Diorama of the City: Between Site and Space” at Tokyo Wonder Site, Shibuya [Japan Times]

Noritoshi Hirakawa at Wako Works of Art and Nanzuka Underground [Japan Times]

Joan Jonas at Wako Works of Art [Japan Times]

“Avant-Garde China: Twenty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art” at the National Art Center, Tokyo [Japan Times]

Tomoko Yoneda at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Japan Times]

Tomoko Yoneda at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art [Artforum.com]

Yasuyuki Nishio at NADiff [TAB]

GEISAI #11 [Art Newspaper]

More general articles that have appeared this month have included Tokyo Art Beat’s exploration of the Koganecho Bazaar in Yokohama, and its interview with Lieko Shiga, who was in last month’s “Trace Elements” exhibition at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, and is currently showing at in the “On Your Body” exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

Meanwhile, the Japan Times looks at the Venice Architecture Biennale and touches on Junya Ishigami’s work there. They have also reported on the Mitsubishi Corporation Art Gate Auction; the Kunst Oktoberfest, a bus tour of several galleries in the Ginza and Nihonbashi areas; and the controversy that artist group Chim↑Pom recently caused in Hiroshima, which is then discussed in relation to Cai Guo Quiang’s work in Hiroshima at the art life blog.

ART iT takes a look at art works installed in the Tokachi Plain in central Hokkaido, while in his “Out of Tokyo” column at Realtokyo, Tetsuya Ozaki comments on Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Paramodel’s participation in the “Akasaka Art Flower” exhibition held at various sites in Akasaka, as well as the “Extended Senses: Present of Japanese / Korean Media Art” exhibition at the NTT ICC.

Shiftblog has interviewed Megumi Matsubara of the architectural unit “assistant”, while PingMag interviews Reno Camerota about Japan’s graffiti and street art. As October draws to a close, Tokyo Design Week begins, so as with their Yokohama Triennale coverage last month, PingMag have come up with an introductory guide followed by a more exhaustive list of what’s going on.

Lastly, because no month of Japanese art news would be complete without something from Mr Murakami, I leave you with Nylonmag’s report on the artist’s new series of limited edition Levi’s.

Nobuo Sekine’s “Phase — Mother Earth” Under Reconstruction

As of yesterday, Nobuo Sekine has been recreating his Phase — Mother Earth (1968) at Den’en Chofu Seseragi Park in West Tokyo.

Created in October 1968 in the Suma Rikyu Park in Kobe, and consisting of a 2.2 x 2.7m cylindrical hole in the ground and an adjacent cylinder of earth of the same dimensions, this piece is one of the signature works of the Mono-ha movement of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. This is the first time Sekine is recreating the work, to commemorate 40 years since it marked a turning point in Japanese postwar art history.

However, unlike in 1968 when the work was made by Sekine and other artists of the Mono-ha group such as Koshimizu Susumu, who dug the earth out of the ground themselves, this time the earth will be excavated by a mechanical digger and coordinated by specialist engineers and only part of it will be made by hand. Sekine will, however, be present throughout to oversee the project.

The reasons for not doing it by hand this time are that there are water mains buried in the earth, and that part of the earth on site is suitable for excavation, meaning that specialist techniques are required to ensure the work is successfully recreated. In his autobiography Fukei no Yubiwa (Ring of Nature), Sekine wrote of how unexpectedly difficult it was to dig up the earth in 1968, and understandably now that he is in his sixties, he cannot work on the creation of the piece alone.

A few years ago at Wako University, students spent a month attempting to recreate Phase — Mother Earth, but when they removed the mold it turned out that the earth was not of the right consistency and the cylindrical form disintegrated immediately. At the Suma Rikyu Park, the earth had the consistency of pit sand, which mixed together with some concrete, made the work hold together.

Looking back, Sekine says that the realization of Phase Mother Earth in 1968 had a lot to do with unpredictably favourable circumstances, particularly the quality of the earth. They had received no permission from the park authorities as they dug up the ground and were lucky not to have been stopped before they had finished. Sekine suspects that had he applied to make Phase — Mother Earth beforehand, it may well have been turned down for concerns about quality of the earth, the potential risk to underground pipelines, or for health and safety regulations.

It’s interesting to think that had one of these favourable conditions not been present in 1968, one of the pivotal artworks in the early development of the Mono-ha movement, and one of the most iconic developments in postwar Japanese art history might not have come into being.

Construction work on Phase — Mother Earth will continue until October 31, and will be on display from November 1 to 9, from 9am to 5pm. Den’en Chofu Seseragi Park is directly opposite Tamagawa Station on the Tokyu Toyoko line.

For more information on the Mono-ha movement, you can read this article that I wrote for Tokyo Art Beat that introduces the main artists and their ideas.

Bubbles!

A couple of months ago, Tokyo Art Beat and its sister site New York Art Beat made their event data available to all in the form of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Anyone with any programming skills is free to build on in all manner of inventive ways.

A number of sites that make use of the TAB API have emerged but one of the most striking and enjoyable is The Bubble Machine. Events drop down in bubbles that move around and strum chords when you run the cursor over them, offering you a more playful way to plan your art-going than the regular list experience. And for those of you in Tokyo’s favourite other city, New York Art Beat has its own bubbles too.

The Tokyo Art Scene in ArtReview

A feature article I wrote on the Tokyo art scene has been published in the October issue of ArtReview.

In it I talk about the next generation of artists who are defining Japanese art, such as Lieko Shiga, Miwa Yanagi, Kohei Nawa and Izumi Kato, as well as cross-genre exhibitions like last year’s “Space For Your Future”. I also explain how gallery owners like Taka Ishii and Tomio Koyama have cultivated a new generation of dealers out of the former staff of their galleries, such as Jeffrey and Misako Rosen, who set up their own gallery Misako & Rosen in 2006, which is reflective of a broader trend over the past four years.

ArtReview asked the Tokyo-based Swedish photographer Anders Edström to shoot some of the galleries, artists and dealers mentioned in my article, and I was pleasantly surprised by the images when I opened the magazine for the first time. Edström has captured some delightful, informal moments: among them, Jeffrey and Misako Rosen at their gallery between exhibitions, getting paintings ready to hang on the wall, and artist Tomoo Gokita in his studio and out in the street with his mother in the Koenji neighbourhood.

You can read this issue of ArtReview, as well as all of its past issues, by registering for free on its website.

Art Space Tokyo in Art & Antiques Magazine

The October issue of Art & Antiques, a California-based magazine aimed at collectors of all kinds of art, including contemporary art, has a feature on the Tokyo art scene written by Edward M. Gomez.

Covering all kinds of art spaces that art enthusiasts should seek out on a visit to Tokyo, the article also mentions several that are featured in Art Space Tokyo, which Gomez calls “the best insider’s guide in English to the most interesting outposts for cutting-edge art in the Japanese capital”.

Quotes from AST crop up a couple of times in the article, including Tetsuya Ozaki’s views on the instability of the Chinese art market and Masami Shiraishi’s thoughts on how the Tokyo art scene is at its most vibrant in fifteen to twenty years.

Read the article online here.

Thank you Edward!

GEISAI Miami Calls for Applicants

Takashi Murakami’s art fair GEISAI Miami, hosted by PULSE of Art Basel Miami Beach, is calling for applicants. Deadline October 15.

Kaikai Kiki is calling for entries for GEISAI Miami, the second U.S. edition of the art fair conceived by Takashi Murakami. GEISAI is an art fair model that allows artists to represent themselves in a professional art fair setting and present their work directly to an audience of collectors, art professionals and art enthusiasts. Artists of all nationalities without gallery representation are invited to apply, with no restrictions on the medium, at http://www.geisai.us. A jury of art professionals will review all applications and select a limited number of artists to receive free booths. Applicants must be able to present original artworks on-site in Miami during all five days of the fair. GEISAI Miami will be held Wednesday, December 3 through Sunday, December 7, 2008

Japanese Photographers at Paris Photo

From November 13 to 16, 2008, Paris Photo, the world’s leading fair for 19th century, modern and contemporary photography, will bring together 107 exhibitors (86 galleries + 21 publishers) from 19 countries at the Carrousel du Louvre.

This year, “to coincide with growing international interest in Japanese photography” Japan has been invited as guest of honour. 14 Japanese galleries will be taking part, bringing with them the following artists:

Nobuhiro Fukui (Tomio Koyama Gallery), Miyako Ishiuchi (Zeit-Foto Salon, Tokyo), Syoin Kajii (Foil Gallery), Ken Kitano (MEM Gallery), Akira Mitamura (The Third Gallery Aya), Keisuke Shirota (Base Gallery), Yuki Tawada, (Taro Nasu), and Nao Tsuda (Hiromi Yoshii).

AIGA/NY Apple Store talk this Wednesday (Oct. 8th)

Apple Store, SOHO, Manhattan: Wednesday, October 8th, 6:30 - 8:00pm

(Facebook Event Page)

Just a quick note to let you know I’ll be speaking about the design and production (among other things) of Art Space Tokyo at the Apple Store in SOHO this coming Wednesday (Oct. 8th, 2008) evening.

I’ll be talking about books, design, the creative process, finding time to work on passion projects and other topics, all within the context of living in Tokyo.

It’s a free event and should be quite interesting—pop by if you’re in the ‘hood!

NY Launch Wrapup

A big thank you to all who attended our event last week at Kinokuniya in NYC! It’s hard to believe a week has already passed since our official US launch of Art Space Tokyo. Turnout was better than expected. All seats were full and people were snaking around the back of the room and into the adjacent cafe. A large contingency of the New York art world, designers, artists and others interested in Japanese culture were in attendance.

It wouldn’t have been a success without the great panel we had that night: comprised of Roland Kelts (Japanamerica), Reiko Tomii and Kosuke Fujitaka (NY/Tokyo Art Beat). I’ve been to many a talk with panels than grossly ran over on time, had little focus or just sounded like a bunch of people talking over one another. In stark contrast to that, I think we were able to achieve a focused and concise look at the Tokyo art world. And Reiko even managed to plunge historical contexts in reference to the contemporary. Thanks to the diversity of the panelists, those in attendance got to hear three very different, but equally informed voices. Truly a special event that wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness of John Fuller at Kinokuniya for lending the space and equipment.

So this marks a somewhat sad moment for us here — with this event we officially complete the conception, production and launching of Art Space Tokyo. It’s strange, after working on something for so long and so hard, having planned these events months in advance, to finally arrive at the ‘finish line’ (so to speak) feels very much like having completed a mental (and very much physical) marathon. And as anyone who has trained for an finished a marathon knows, there’s a tinge of sadness in the triumph of achieving your goal.

Of course we’ll still be blogging about the Tokyo art world here, and we’ll be putting on more events and speaking at more bookshops. But the ‘official’ timetable, the schedule we had been working off for the past year or so, is done. Thank you all who helped make this book a success thus far! We look forward to seeing where this project leads us next.

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE ROUND-UP

This month has been dominated by coverage of the Yokohama Triennale, which started on September 13 and runs until the end of November.

At ARTINFO, Lucy Birmingham explains how this year’s triennale outperforms its predecessor in 2005. In the Japan Times, James Hadfield pointed out some of the key performances to look out for. Andrew Maerkle also picks out some of the highlights but brings up the overall consensus in the Japanese art industry that the triennale is “boring”. Meanwhile, Edan Corkill interviewed the triennale’s director Tsutomu Mizusawa.

Tokyo Art Beat has commenced its coverage of the triennale with a series of photo reports on the multiple venues in Yokohama: the Shinko Pier, the Red Brick Warehouse, BankART Studio NYK, and the “Echo” exhibition being held at ZAIM, which has in turn been reviewed by the Japan Times. In connection with this exhibition, sociologist Adrian Favell gave a talk about the post-Murakami generation of Japanese contemporary artists, and he has published a PDF of the transcript in English and Japanese. Meanwhile, TAB’s first review of the triennale focusses on the video installation by Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss.

Artforum.com’s “Scene and Herd” has faithfully clocked the art world bigwigs at both the Yokohama Triennale and Takashi Murakami’s GEISAI art fair, and in a similar vein, V Magazine has produced a photo report on these two events and others taking place in China.

Back in Tokyo, Annette Messager’s retrospective is on show at the Mori Art Museum, and has been reviewed on Tokyo Art Beat here and the Japan Times here. “Trace Elements: Sprit and Memory in Japanese and Australian Photomedia” at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery has been covered on TAB both as a review and as an interview with the curator.

Other exhibition reviews include:

Nobuko Watabiki at Megumi Ogita Gallery and Gallery Shiraishi [Japan Times]

Masaki Ogihara at Gallery Hashimoto [Japan Times]

“12 Architectural Visions” at the Setagaya Art Museum [Artscape]

Alphabet Soup at 21_21 Design Sight [Artscape]

ART iT has published a feature on the growing number of art sites in and around Naoshima and the Seto Inland Sea, and an interview with Roni Horn, following her recent solo exhibition “This is me, this is you” at Rat Hole Gallery. In his Realtokyo column, ART iT editor Tetsuya Ozaki has commented on the Art Taipei fair.

For those of you who still haven’t bought Art Space Tokyo and are interested in a further peek inside, my interview with Atsuko Koyanagi has been published as an extract on Saatchi Online.

In other news, distributor Yohan’s bankruptcy has left Tokyo starved of foreign magazines, including art magazines — the Japan Times looks at how stores are coping.

Lastly, following part one and part two of their Omotesando architecture walk in March, the irrepressible cultural omnivores at PingMag have documented the glassy glitz of Ginza. They conclude the month with an interview with Hajime Ichikawa, a self-titled “map evangelist” who explores every possible facet of Tokyo’s topography.

Art Map #7 - SCAI The Bathhouse - Yanaka

SCAI is located in one of my personal favorite areas of Tokyo. Yanaka is in all the guidebooks but it’s often overlooked in favor of the glitz of Shibuya or the moral dubiosity of Shinjuku.

Yanaka is a romantic’s Tokyo: low lying, temple filled, spiritual, wooden, old, textured, musty, comfortable, friendly, slow, delicious ... these are some words you could use to describe the area. Mainly, I love the excellent Japanese food (100+ year old senbei shops and superb soba) and the easy going mood. Visiting for a few hours is like a tonic to the rat race of the rest of the city. Many a great day can be had in the Yanaka area if you’re simply looking to whittle away a sunny afternoon. And SCAI, sitting in the middle of it all, is a great stop along the way.

Don’t forget to grab the PDF map.

Takahashi Vs. Kinokuniya NYC

From September 15th until October 1st, Kinokuniya at Bryant Park, Manhattan, will be hosting a small exhibition of Art Space Tokyo illustrator Takahashi Nobumasa’s work.

Above is an image of the preparations in the secret back offices of Kinokuniya, which, despite being located in the heart of New York City, instantly transports you into a Japanese Office Space—otsukaresamadeshita and all.

Of course, this is in preparation for our big launch event / contemporary art symposium being held next Tuesday, the 23rd from 6:00pm. If you’re in the city, be sure to stop by—it should be a blast. We’ll have some of Takahashi’s prints and tenugui on sale. We’ll also have a healthy supply of books, so those looking to pick up their copy and get it signed shall be satiated.

Details:
Location: Kinokuniya Bryant Park (40th Street and 6th Ave, Manhattan. Closest station: 42nd street Bryant Park)
Dates: From September 15th to October 1st

About & Community

A place to keep abreast of Art Space Tokyo related news, reviews, events and updates.

Art Space Tokyo is a 272 page guide to the Tokyo art world produced and published by Craig Mod & PRE/POST.

It was originally published in 2008 by Chin Music Press.

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