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image image The Kan'ei Era: Cultivating an Aristocratic Splendor
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J.M. Hammond
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The refined cultural production associated with Japan's ruling elites during the early Edo period (1603-1867) is the theme of a new exhibition at the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo. As exhibition titles go, Kan'ei Elegance: Edo-Period Court Culture and Enshu, Ninsei, and Tan'yu is not the snappiest, so some unpacking of the ideas it touches on would be in order here. The show focuses on a slice of time early in the Edo period, when a new cycle in the Chinese zodiac established the start of the Kan'ei era (February 1624 to December 1644). The title places the imperial court at the center of developments, although the culture it promoted was not unconnected with the court of the shogun, who, at the time, wielded ultimate power in Japan. more...

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image image Forest Contemplations by Yoshihiko Ueda, and the Closing of an Iconic Gallery
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Susan Rogers Chikuba
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On the elevated track to my left, a driverless Yurikamome train moved soundlessly out of Takeshiba Station on its rubber wheels. The ground shook: a truck hauling a few tons of I-beams trundled past, its destination the massive construction site I saw in front of me, reflected in the wire-mesh glass of a warehouse door. An unassuming poster stuck in a worn metal stand assured me I had the place right -- there was the fern-covered floor of the Quinault Rain Forest, a photo taken by Yoshihiko Ueda last year. Train, truck, trees -- and a brain sifting this three-second riot of information. An instant slightly longer than the sun-dappled measure of time caught on film there in the exhibition announcement, and yet only the latter felt ageless. more...

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image image Starting from Zero: The Liberated Nihonga of Fumiko Hori
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Alan Gleason
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The retrospective of Nihonga artist Fumiko Hori, now at the Museum of Modern Art, Hayama until 25 March, celebrates the achievements of a uniquely unfettered mind -- one that continues to produce incisive art at age 100. Born in 1918, Hori boasts a resume that reads like an encapsulation of Japan's history of the past century. That she is still going strong testifies not only to her physical and mental fortitude but also to a steadfast commitment to her own vision of life and art. more...

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image image Denshoubi: New Frontiers in Art Reproduction
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Alan Gleason
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Some of Japan's finest pre-modern art was painted on byobu folding screens and fusuma sliding doors inside palaces, castles, temples and shrines. Though many of these treasures survive to this day, the risk of damage from sustained exposure to light or the elements often prevents them from being displayed in public. That's a shame when the works form an integral part of still-standing structures, many of them designated cultural properties. more...

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Recent Articles
FOCUS
The Kan'ei Era: Cultivating an Aristocratic Splendor
J.M. Hammond
1 March2018
FOCUS
Forest Contemplations by Yoshihiko Ueda, and the Closing of an Iconic Gallery
Susan Rogers Chikuba
1 March 2018
HERE/THERE
Starting from Zero: The Liberated Nihonga of Fumiko Hori
Alan Gleason
1 March 2018
HERE/THERE
Denshoubi: New Frontiers in Art Reproduction
Alan Gleason
16 February 2018
PICKS
Kumagai Morikazu: The Joy of Life
1 March 2018
FOCUS
Leandro Erlich: Illusionary Play
Lucy Birmingham
1 February 2018
FOCUS
Adventures in Sound: The Takehisa Kosugi Exhibition
Christopher Stephens
1 February 2018
HERE/THERE
Yasuhiro Suzuki's "Spontaneous Garden" of Earthly Delights
Alan Gleason
1 February 2018
PICKS
Miyako Ishiuchi: Grain and Image
1 February 2018
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THIS IS MECENAT 2017
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