Posts Tagged ‘art’

Moving portraiture by Julian Opie

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Julian Opie's "Clare with Landscape"

Julian Opie's "Clare with Landscape"

Last week SCAI the Bathhouse opened a new showing of recent works by Julian Opie (until Nov. 14). Unlike last year’s solo exhibition at Art Tower Mito, this show focuses on portraiture work, which can be just as engaging as the  walking and dancing LED figures that many people now associate him with.

Opie collects Japanese art, both old (ukiyo-e masters Kitagawa Utamaro and Utagawa Hiroshige) and new (hand-painted anime cels). You’ll see similarly flat and vivid color schemes in these portraits, but they are far from static.  Take “Clare with Landscape” (right), for example. Depicted on a vertical LCD screen, at first glance the subject stands as regal and motionless as a Rembrandt or Rubens. But then she blinks. Her bracelet then twinkles in the light and her earring sways slightly, as if to her own pulse. The landscape behind her is alive as well, with clouds lazily crossing the sky and the sound of crows and passing cars.

Opie has also recently utilized Lenticular printing to give 18th-century portraiture styles a modern spin. Many of his subjects are larger-than-life.  Seen here, wavering slightly as you walk from one side to the other, their faces stare down on you with a depth that is both intriguing and somewhat unnerving.

SCAI the Bathhouse is a beautiful 5-10 minute walk from Nippori Station, past the Yanaka Cemetary.

Julian Opie’s site and wiki

A small interview on Youtube from the “This is Shanoza” series

The fruits of sharing a love of art

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Tokyo Art Beat iPhone appIf you love art and design, then chances are you’ve spent some time perusing the listings and reviews found on Tokyo Art Beat (TAB), or if you get around, perhaps the Kansai (KAB)* and New York (NYAB) sites as well. About a year ago, the clever guys that run Art Beat released their API for all to see, which basically means that they made all of the site’s relevant data available for any programmer to use as he/she sees fit:

“In other words, this time we are setting our data free, free for people to share and broadcast to more places and in more ways than we could imagine.”

One of the fruits of such generosity is the new Tokyo Art iPhone application, which I am growing to love quite quickly. Not only can you search the TAB listings for a particular genre of art you’d like to see (photography, sculpture, etc.), you can also choose a specific area of town you’d like to explore.

The app goes a step further by using the iPhone’s maps and geolocation capability to find the closest Tokyo art and design events to wherever you’re standing. Just open the app and touch the “nearby” button after you choose a radius you want to work with (500 meters to 3,000 meters). A few seconds later, you’ll have gallery choices and directions. You can read TAB’s info on the gallery and exhibit, or go straight to a map.

Sort galleries by distance or popularity, or use the “free” filter to only see events with no entrance charge. There are hundreds of art events every month in Tokyo. TAB made them much easier to discover, and now the the Art Tokyo app practically walks you to their doorstep.

Just one more reason to get out there and see some art.

*KAB is currently on hiatus. They aren’t updating the calendar, but the site is still a great resource for art-related venue information such as maps, descriptions and directions. Just go to the Venues tab.

Fancy pants climb the walls in Ginza

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Visitors to the Sony Building in Ginza on Oct. 19 might be a bit bemused to witness an intrepid climber abseiling down the face of the building and plucking colorful pairs of pants from its wall. Sony’s innovative Recycle Project JEANS is a limited edition sale with a difference: All the jeans are made from the fabric of colorful billboard adverts and to emphasize this point they’re all displayed on the buidling’s exterior.

Out of 120 pairs produced, there are only 20 left, so you’ll have to get to the 3rd floor of the building early with your ¥15,000 if you’re keen to buy a pair. Some of the profits are going to a charity that helps with the restoration of World Heritage sites. While billboard material has been recycled into bags before, we think using it for funky-looking garments is a rather new concept.

Continue reading about Sony's makeovers →

Showa Boys a go go

Friday, September 18th, 2009

"Tokyo 2016" by Tenan Ito, "Tanoshii Yonensei" (Happy 4th Year Student),  1961

“The Tokyo of 2061″ by Tenan Ito, “Tanoshii Yonensei” (Happy 4th Year Student), 1961

We generally are obsessed by the next shiny, shiny thing on the horizon, but “Showa Boys SF Guide,” a collection of 1950-1970 memorabilia, had us transfixed from the get-go. The modestly sized Yayoi Museum, nestled in the back streets of Nezu, has put together a terrific trip back to the future as imagined in Japan’s Show Era.

Need more proof of its brilliance? Click the thumbnails below or read the review of “Showa Boys SF Guide” on Japan Times Online.

The show closes soon, so hop in your personal air car, or strap on your jet pack, and whiz over to Nezu to see how we really are supposed to be living.

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