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Archive for the ‘Japan in Seattle’ Category

Over the summer, I had the chance to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at the Seattle Art Museum. This was my first time seeing any of her work in person, and it was well worth getting a new membership for me and my partner.

These photos focus on the art that was not the Infinity Mirror Rooms, since you can’t really take a quick photo without getting yourself in it, too. Photos of the Infinity Mirror Rooms can be found on the SAM website, though.

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Chiho Aoshima. Moimoi and Kitty Leave for a Journey, 2009. Seattle Art Museum.

Chiho Aoshima. Moimoi and Kitty Leaving for a Journey, 2009. Seattle Asian Art Museum.

 

 
CHIHO AOSHIMA: REBIRTH OF THE WORLD
MAY 2 – OCT 4 2015
Seattle Asian Art Museum

http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/chiho

Here’s what I love about Chiho Aoshima’s show, in a nutshell: the repetition of the theme of the delicate sylph whose flatulence creates smoke clouds billowing from volcanos while Buddha and entourage look on.

Aoshima’s digital and hand drawns are in the superflat style, but whereas the tween-girl characters of Mr.’s show had cutesy moe details, like bandaids and pigtails, Aoshima’s figures reject that aesthetic. Her mural-size piece Rebirth and the video installation Takaamanohara have been compared to Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.

TO THE SEA, BEARING MOI MOI, 2009, CHIHO AOSHIMA, JAPANESE, B. 1974, COLOR ON JAPANESE RICE PAPER, 12 5/8 × 8 1/16 IN., ©2009 CHIHO AOSHIMA/KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

TO THE SEA, BEARING MOI MOI, 2009, CHIHO AOSHIMA, JAPANESE, B. 1974, COLOR ON JAPANESE RICE PAPER, 12 5/8 × 8 1/16 IN., ©2009 CHIHO AOSHIMA/KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Let’s all take a mental health break and look at some camellias.

Camellias Seattle | The Lobster Dance 8

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Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at the Seattle Asian Art Museum is, to use an old slang term, frantic. My friend and museum companion hadn’t been through the permanent collection yet, and after an hour or so of contemplating mainly contemporary ink pieces, delicate snuff bottles, and lavishly detailed Persian paintings set in the elegant art deco building, we arrived at the eye-popping, jarringly neon moé world of Mr.’s neo-pop art.

MAKING THINGS RIGHT, 2006, MR., JAPANESE, B.1969, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 118 X 177 IN., © 2006 MR./KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, PHOTO COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN.

MAKING THINGS RIGHT, 2006, MR., JAPANESE, B.1969, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 118 X 177 IN., © 2006 MR./KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, PHOTO COURTESY GALERIE PERROTIN. via Seattle Asian Art Museum

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Dear readers, my apologies: November has been a lousy month for writing. A lot of personal issues are eating up all my time, and I hope to get to some of that backlog of posting in December. That said, I headed out for my annual momiji-gari (紅葉狩り, “fall foliage hunting”) at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Nov. 9 (2013 post here). Getting “out” into nature, even just to the Arboretum and the Japanese Garden, is something I didn’t get to do often enough last year. But a new year is coming, and I am resolving to make nature part of my self-care regime again, like it was in the first few years in Japan.

Seattle Japanese Garden 2014 | I'll Make It Myself! 2

 

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Okiura Hiroyuki’s 2011 film A Letter to Momo (Momo e no tegami/ ももへの手紙) had a short run in Seattle, so I went to see the subtitled version this week. This review contains very minor spoilers established early in the plot.

In describing the plot of A Letter to Momo, I suppose the most obvious comparison I could make is to Miyazaki Hayao’s My Neighbor Totoro, with which the film shares a number of narrative elements, but at the same time, the comparison seems reductive and lazy. (more…)

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Part 1.

The Kubota Garden is a lovely wild-ish garden built by landscaper Fujitaro Kubota (see part 1 for more information).

Tiny ginko

Tiny ginko


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While the Seattle Japanese Garden is a gorgeous example of a manicured Japanese garden, Kubota Garden, located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, takes a different view of nature: it’s sprawling and almost wild.

Kubota Garden |The Lobster Dance 15

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Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945
Seattle Asian Art Museum
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/deco
May 10 – Oct. 19, 2014

Seattle Asian Art Museum | The Lobster Dance

 

I meant to review this show when I saw it in May, so we’re taking another quick break from the ongoing series so I can finish this review in a timely fashion.

Jazz. Gin. Short hair and short skirts. The modern girl. The rise of film, and the advent of skyscrapers and air travel. After World War I, the world was changing rapidly. With the machine age came an increased emphasis on speed.

 

The art world answered with Art Deco, which had a driving energy that found expression in its use of themes from cultures all over the world, wild appropriation of other art forms, and graphic designs with fast lines that could be adapted and used on everything from housewares to posters, and for everything from politics to advertising.

By World War II, Art Deco had left its mark on almost every medium of visual art.

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945, with nearly 200 works, reveals the widespread and particular impact of Art Deco on Japanese culture. Through a wide range of mediums—sculpture, painting, prints, ceramics, lacquerware, jewelry, textiles, furniture, and graphic ephemera—this exhibition introduces the spectacular craftsmanship and sophisticated designs of Japan’s contribution to the movement.

Shown in our gem-like 1933 Art Deco building, Deco Japan offers you the rare opportunity to experience the full range of Deco artistry in a period setting.

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All images mine unless otherwise noted.

 Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial  | The Lobster Dance

“This wall marks the path where, on March 30, 1942, two hundred and twenty-seven friends, neighbors, classmates, and coworkers left their homes, jobs, farms, businesses, and community [on Bainbridge Island]–their lives disrupted, their hopes and dreams torn apart.” – memorial plaque

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