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image image The Tezen Museum: Window on the Rich Culture of Izumo
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Alice Gordenker
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The Grand Shrine of Izumo is one of the oldest and most important Shinto shrines in Japan. It is also the top tourist destination in Shimane Prefecture, drawing as many as eight million visitors annually to the small town of Izumo, situated 34 kilometers west of Matsue, the prefectural capital. Yet most visitors move on after paying their respects at the shrine, missing out on the opportunity to learn about the surrounding city. This is a shame, as just a short walk from the shrine is a charming museum that offers a window on the rich traditional arts and culture of the Izumo region. more...

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image image Understanding the Timeless Art of Decoration
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James Lambiasi
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Normally when we refer to "decoration," we use the word in the ornamental sense, such as the decorating of a Christmas tree or a wedding cake. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines decoration as "something that adorns, enriches, or beautifies." The fact is, however, that decoration is so ubiquitous that we tend to forget it permeates our lives to such a degree that it is invisible. If we view decoration as any gesture that goes beyond pure functional necessity, we can understand that there is virtually nothing in our lives that has not been formed, crafted, or designed by an outside hand. Interestingly, when we honor a type of decoration we refer to it as an art, but the reality is that decoration transcends art by permeating and contextualizing our everyday lives. The act of decorating is timeless, and as such provides the theme of the current exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Decoration never dies, anyway. more...

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image image Born to Be Wild: The "Untamed Mind" at 21_21 Design Sight
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Alan Gleason
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21_21 Design Sight may be forgiven its daringly oxymoronic attempt to do a show about "wildness" within the confines of a museum -- and a design museum at that -- since it entertains and provokes on so many levels, some of them unintended. The keyword, yasei, translates as "wild" or "feral." The premise, that the human mind is most creative -- indeed, perhaps can only be creative -- when its primordially wild nature is set free, is a cliché that hardly bears repeating. Still, the examples of "wildness" gathered here make for an enjoyable jaunt through the galleries. more...

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Recent Articles
FOCUS
The Tezen Museum: Window on the Rich Culture of Izumo
Alice Gordenker
15 January 2018
FOCUS
Understanding the Timeless Art of Decoration
James Lambiasi
15 January 2018
HERE/THERE
Born to Be Wild: The "Untamed Mind" at 21_21 Design Sight
Alan Gleason
15 January 2018
PICKS
Station to Station
15 January 2018
FOCUS
Plenty of Nothing: The Michio Fukuoka Exhibition
Christopher Stephens
1 December 2017
FOCUS
Revelations: Wood Sculptor Takeki Fujito at the Sapporo Art Museum
Susan Rogers Chikuba
1 December 2017
HERE/THERE
Tekiya: Hitomi Watanabe's Study of a Subculture
Alan Gleason
1 December 2017
PICKS
Kuniyoshi Yasuo and Ishigaki Eitaro: Two Emigrants Painting America
1 December 2017
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