TABuzz #8 with Roger McDonald

Our Guest Blogger gives their recommendations on what’s hot in our new regular column.

poster for Jonathan Meese

Jonathan Meese "Mishima is Back"

at Tomio Koyama Gallery
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2009-09-05 - 2009-10-03)

poster for Keizo Kitajima

Keizo Kitajima "1975-1991"

at Tokyo Photographic Art Musem
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2009-08-29 - 2009-10-18)

poster for Tokyo Art School:

Tokyo Art School: "Tokyo Resolution"

at Daikanyama Hillside Forum
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2009-08-23)

poster for

"A Bright World" Exhibition

at A.I.T. Room
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2009-08-29 - 2009-09-06)

In Interviews by TABuzz 2009-09-30

This edition of TABuzz is Roger McDonald, who runs the NPO Arts Initiative Tokyo, an organization that fosters new curators and artists.

I WANT TO VISIT…

Jonathan Meese “Mishima is Back” at Koyama Tomio Gallery (September 5 to October 3)
I think Meese is one of the most interesting artists working on this planet now. One of his manifesto phrases “Art is Not Culture” is utterly true and I think he is a good painter. And he was born in Tokyo. Scroll down and read his statements on the gallery site.

Kitajima Keizo “1975 – 1991” at Metropolitan Museum of Photography (August 29 to October 3)
I saw his “Koza, Okinawa” series some years ago in Naha and remember being blown away. A photographer that I think deserves to be right up there with Moriyama, Araki and Sugimoto.

Kita-Kyushu Biennale (October 10 to November 15)
It’s organized by alternative space Gallery SOAP on the theme of Imin (Immigration). I will speak at the opening symposium.
[Official website]

Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (September 5 to November 23)
One of the first Asian specific contemporary art triennales in the region.
[Official site]

I WENT TO…

The first lecture session of the Tokyo Art School series organized by AIT and the City of Tokyo Art Point Project (August 23)
With Yoshitaka Mouri (Geidai professor) and artist Naoya Hatakeyama (artist)
The discussion was very interesting, juxtaposing two positions when thinking about art and society today – one focusing on art as activism and as something which moves as a process through society, and the other thinking about art as something material and formal and the inherent radicality which this can hold. Other lectures will be held monthly.
Naoya Hatakeyama, 'Blast' (1995) C-print, mounted on aluminum, 100 x 150cm
“A Bright World” at AIT (Daikanyama) (August 29 to September 6)
Curated by one of the groups from 2008 Curation Practice course, a video exhibition with works by Hiroharu Mori, Suzuki Shingo, Suzuki Atsushi and Masumoto Yasuto looking into our ‘bright world’ with critical humor and street interventions.

I LIKE GOING TO…

Tachimichiya (Daikanyama)
Natural, cheap Japanese foods, rock ‘n’ roll, and the best jaco tofu salad.

International House of Japan (Roppongi)
Coffee shop and garden and library – and quiet. (Non-members can eat in the coffee shop.)
[English homepage]

I AM READING…

MA thesis by Daniel Schnick (University of Alberta 1987) on Taisho era Japanese anarchist Sanshiro Ishikawa
I have an interest in ideas of opposition (political, artistic or otherwise) in Japanese society, and the clear differences this takes with European history. Ishikawa and others of similar left-leaning thinking were severely suppressed by militarists in the 1930s. He retreats into a near-invisible, Zen-inspired radical individual utopianism in order to escape persecution, practicing and developing a unique Japanese political agency which I think holds hints for those living in Japan now.
[PDF link]

The White Goddess by Robert Graves
A book which can probably never be read and finished as such – it’s one of the definitive psychedelic works of literature ever written (alongside others like Finnegans Wake…). Graves ponders the origins of Welsh bardic poetry, pre-Christian Goddess worship, and talking trees through a truly remarkable feat of theory, history, myth and fantasy. I dip into it before sleep.
[Wikipedia article]
Tokyo Art School lecture
I AM USING…

Macbook Air
I recently bought this to lighten the load on my various art school lecturing trips.
[Apple website]

A razor
I use it daily to shave a strange small white patch that has mysteriously appeared on the left side of my chin. I had something similar appear briefly some years ago on the rear left side of my head.

I AM SURFING…

ClickOpera by momus
I check daily.
[http://imomus.livejournal.com/]

Ray Mears videos on YouTube
Mears is an English bush craft expert who shows you how to sharpen knives, light fires and bake bread outside.
[Official website]

I AM OBSERVING…

Several art-as-activism type developments in Tokyo now
…including the opposition to re-developing Shimokitazawa and the artists against Miyashita Park in Shibuya becoming Nike Park, and what these kinds of initiatives could mean in Japan.
[Indymedia post on the Miyashita Park campaign]

The hafu movement
It explores half-Japanese identity and issues through exhibitions, talk events and a website.

MY HOT TIP TO WATCH IS…

The Communist Party of Japan?
[English homepage]

My LAST COMMENT IS…
Are you ready to make the forward leap into hyperspace in three years’ time?

Roger McDonald
Born and brought up in Tokyo in 1971 of mixed parents (British/Japanese). Educated in the UK through to his PhD completed in 2000 (History and Theory of Art). One of the founding members of non-profit curatorial collective Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT) in 2001. Runs MAD, an independent school and artist in residency program, organizing various types of events and sometimes works with institutions and businesses. One of the curators of the first Singapore Biennale in 2006. Teaches at Tama, Musashino and Zokei Art universities and is one of the program directors of the MAD courses at AIT. Became a Japanese citizen on September 2. Plans to move out of Tokyo quite soon to live in the forests.
[Tactical Museum blog]

TABuzz

TABuzz. Tokyo Art Beat invites movers and thinkers from the Tokyo art world to contribute to this column. Our guest bloggers give their recommendations and thoughts on who to watch and what to see. » See other writings

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