Edo Art Revealed: Ukiyoe in Boston

(this article first appeared in the october 23, 2006 issue of newsweek international)

Works Long Stored in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Reach Tokyo

Though it happened a decade ago, Masato Naito vividly remembers the moment of discovery. He and fellow art scholars were studying old Japanese paintings in a research room at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Unfolding a piece of old fabric, they glimpsed a rare cotton banner bearing the portrait of Zhong Kui, the Demon Queller, the legendary Chinese figure believed to ward off evil. The piece was quickly confirmed to be the only existing banner handpainted by the renowned Edo artist Katsushika Hokusai. "We were so excited," recalls Naito, the chief curator of Tokyo's Idemitsu Museum of Arts. That wasn't the only surprise they found while studying more than 700 ukiyo-e paintings collected by a 19th-century Boston surgeon named William Bigelow, which had never been thoroughly examined before. "We didn't know of the existence of 90 percent of them," says Naito. "Those were the happiest days of my career."

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Regional Roundup Tokyo is up at ARTINFO


"A. 2005" (2005)
Futo Akiyoshi Courtesy of Taro Nasu Tokyo

Regional Roundup - Tokyo is up at ARTINFO. Go to http://www.artinfo.com/News/Article.aspx?a=22611.

Shows mentioned are: Miyako Ishiuchi's "mother's" at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Leiko Ikemura's "Pacific" at Shugoarts; Yosuke Amemiya at Yuka Sasahara and Futo Akiyoshi at Taro Nasu.

Report from Osaka


"Wild Rose Crown" (2006) by Takeharu Ogai
Taro Nasu Osaka "White Hole Gift Shop"

Report from Osaka is up on ArtNet magazine.

Fresh from its success in Basel -- selling out the booth at VOLTashow 02 in June -- the Tokyo gallery Taro Nasu (which changed its name from Taro Nasu Gallery to Taro Nasu this month) opened a branch in Osaka in western Japan on June 30. With an interior designed by the hot architect Jun Aoki, the new Taro Nasu Osaka is a tiny but ambitious space.

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Report from Tokyo

Report from Tokyo is up on ArtNet magazine.

Tokyo art lovers are suffering from deja vu all over again, with the city's leading contemporary art galleries changing their addresses and moving into a new neighborhood, just like they did several years ago [see "Report from Tokyo," Feb. 10, 2003]. All these relocations can be an annoyance, but it does provide an excuse to throw a huge party.... to continue reading, go to http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/reviews/itoi/itoi1-6-06.asp.

The Discomforts of Home: Reversible-Destiny Lofts by Arakawa and Gins


an exterior of reversible-destiny lofts (2005)
arakawa + gins
photo by masataka nakano

(this article first appeared in the december 19, 2005 issue of newsweek international)

An innovative new housing project in Tokyo aims to keep residents sharp by throwing them off balance. Duck!

Most people, in choosing a new home, look for comfort: a serene atmosphere, smooth walls and floors, a logical layout. Nonsense, says Shusaku Arakawa, a Japanese artist based in New York. He and his creative partner, poet Madeline Gins, recently unveiled a small apartment complex in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka that is anything but comfortable and calming. "People, particularly old people, shouldn't relax and sit back to help them decline," he insists. "They should be in an environment that stimulates their senses and invigorates their lives."

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