10 Things in Tokyo: April 2016

A short list of events and exhibitions happening in Tokyo and beyond this month.

poster for Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection - From Shohaku and Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer

Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection - From Shohaku and Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer

at Yokohama Museum Of Art
in the Yokohama, Kanagawa area
This event has ended - (2016-01-30 - 2016-04-03)

poster for Yurie Nagashima “About Home”

Yurie Nagashima “About Home”

at Maho Kubota Gallery
in the Omotesando, Aoyama area
This event has ended - (2016-03-16 - 2016-04-23)

poster for Masaharu Sato “Tokyo Trace”

Masaharu Sato “Tokyo Trace”

at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo)
in the Tokyo: Others area
This event has ended - (2016-01-23 - 2016-05-08)

poster for Kuroda Seiki, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of his Birth

Kuroda Seiki, Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of his Birth

at Tokyo National Museum
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2016-03-23 - 2016-05-15)

poster for The Work of Miyake Issey

The Work of Miyake Issey

at The National Art Center, Tokyo
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2016-03-16 - 2016-06-13)

poster for MOT Annual 2016 Loose Lips Save Ships

MOT Annual 2016 Loose Lips Save Ships

at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
in the Kiyosumi, Ryogoku area
This event has ended - (2016-03-05 - 2016-05-29)

In Features by Jennifer Pastore 2016-04-01

Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection – From Shohaku and Rosanjin to Anselm Kiefer
Takashi Murakami defined an era of Japanese art with the term “Superflat” referring to the two-dimensional aesthetic of manga and anime while also making jest of an element of superficiality and emptiness in Japanese society. Following his hit show “The 500 Arhats” at Mori Art Museum, here he brings his personal art collection to the Yokohama Museum of Art, adding yet another interpretation to the original term. Among an improbable assortment of classic Japanese crafts, European antiques, and modern and contemporary art, Murakami points to “Superflat” as a sign of non-hierarchy in which creations of different ages, cultures, and popularities come together without ranking. Revealing the breadth of Murakami’s artistic eye and influence, we see a man eager to feed his artistic hunger while pulling the curtain on the mechanisms that generate value in the art world today. Hurry! Ends April 3rd.

Yurie Nagashima “About Home”
For its premier show, the newly opened Maho Kubota Gallery in Jingumae has selected the work of Yurie Nagashima, a Kimura Ihei Award winner known for her role in the Onnanoko Shashinka young female photographers’ movement of the 1990s. Along with her photography, a tent-like installation fashioned out of clothes and household items from Nagashima’s home addresses issues of identity, gender, and family. Nagashima draws on not only her own creativity but also that of her mother and grandmother in this exhibition that may just reveal a new direction and maturity in the so-called “girly photo” movement. Through April 23rd.

“Text” tiles by Serizawa Keisuke, from the Kaneko Kazushige Collection
National Treasure Keisuke Serizawa, a leader of Mingei folk arts in the 1920s and 1930s, is honored with an exhibition of his colorful kata-e-zome dyed stencil designs incorporating Japanese writing and cultural motifs. Serizawa’s kimonos and folding screens also reflect on the philosophy of his artistic practice in this show at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo through May 8th.

Masaharu Sato “Tokyo Trace”
Masaharu Sato’s video installations blur all kinds of lines: film and drawing, realism and representation, calmness and disquiet. Using a software pen to trace over documentary footage in dreamy works that shift sometimes seamlessly and others unnervingly between animation and observed life, Sato invites us to contemplate the act of creation and the extent to which we can be sure our perceptions. Upstairs, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art also presents a narrative installation of embroidered text and photography by Sophie Calle (in Japanese). Through May 8th.

Seiki Kuroda: Master of Modern Japanese Painting: The 150th Anniversary of his Birth
Sakura season will bring many to Ueno, where in addition to the blossoms, they can admire the work of one of Japan’s most influential painters and art world pioneers. The Tokyo National Museum is holding its largest retrospective to date for Seiki Kuroda (1866–1924), credited with introducing Western styles such as Impressionism, nude portraiture, and plein-air painting to Japan. See how this artist captured intersections of art and culture during a time of rapid and often paradoxical modernization and internationalization. Through May 15.

The Work of Miyake Issey
The National Art Center, Tokyo surveys the career of this leading fashion designer with groundbreaking pieces in his collections from the 1970s onward. Perhaps most excitingly, visitors can watch his origami-like fabrics spring geometrically to life on staff-operated machines. Miyake’s commitment to innovation in the relationship between material and the human form lifts fashion from mere ornamentation into the realm of art. Through June 13th.

Robert Morris + Kishio Suga Exhibition
The resurgence of interest in Mono-ha continues. This movement of the 1960s–1970s aimed to restore a concrete materiality to art while freeing it from artifice, often using raw materials in their natural state, i.e. objects (mono) as they are. Kishio Suga, a leader of the group who continues to work to this day, is known for his use of wood and stone placed carefully to disturb the stable spaces of the gallery or museum. On the other side of the Pacific, Robert Morris has worked closely with steel, lead, and felt in installations, which at times have shared a surprisingly similar aesthetic to Suga’s. Famed for his land art interventions, Morris has also defined his practice with a concern for the earth and its reconfigurations within natural landscapes. This exhibition at Blum & Poe brings these two seminal artists together in a new dialogue of form and substance. Through May 7th.

Mari Katayama “Shadow Puppet”
Also participating in the much-hyped Roppongi Crossing exhibition at Mori Art Museum, Mari Katayama presents a solo show at 3331 Arts Chiyoda. With a collection of black and white silhouette photographs in an installation resembling her own room, Katayama continues to use her image to challenge body norms and concepts of identity. Born with a tibial deficiency, Katayama has worn a range of prosthetics since her lower legs were amputated at the age of nine. She received the “The Art Award, Tokyo Marunouchi” in 2012 with the “High Heel Project” documenting her mission to wear high heels with her prosthetic limbs. Her work draws attention to the flexibility of the body and the choices of expression we may pursue through our physicality. Developing a strong interest in fashion as a teenager, Katayama frequently customized her prosthetics to visually express her thoughts and feelings. These days she is an unstoppable force in several cultural fields including music, fashion, art, and literature. Through April 30th.

Loose Lips Save Ships
With recent concerns of censorship and increasingly stringent self-regulation in the media, art world, and government, the focus of this year’s MOT Annual is most timely. MOT narrowly diverted fiasco last year when a complaint from the public resulted in the recommendation that the work of Makoto Aida be “adjusted.” Now the collective Artists’ Guild has put together a show considering our ability to speak out against majority opinion and a sense of growing intolerance. With leading video work from artists including Meiro Koizumi and Hikaru Fujii, performative intervention by Satoshi Hashimoto, and a publication produced in collaboration with Koki Tanaka, this exhibition asks visitors to question their own agency amid a plethora of intersecting values. Through May 29th.

Koki Tanaka “Possibilities for Being Together. Their Praxis.”
Koki Tanaka is one of Japan’s most renowned contemporary artists, having made a name for himself at the 2013 Venice Biennale and with works such as “A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once” (2012) and the “Precarious Tasks” series (2014). Since 2010, he has dedicated himself to the possibilities and conflicts of collective creative action. This solo exhibition at Art Tower Mito, a culmination of his exploration of togetherness, centers on a six-day “live-in” at Art Tower at the end of last year, during which participants joined in a week-long program of collaborations including reading, cooking, pottery making, workshops on social movements, discussions, and interviews, all coming together to scrutinize the potential of the individual to overcome the bounds of the self and communicate meaningfully and creatively with the “other.” Through May 15th.

Jennifer Pastore

Jennifer Pastore. Jennifer Pastore is Tokyo Art Beat's editor. You can follow her on Instagram @jepasto » See other writings

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