Last Updated:Aug 23, 2016

10 Things in Tokyo: July 2016

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

Pierre Huyghe 'The Host and the Cloud', 2009

Harumi Yamaguchi “Hyper! Harumi Gals!!”

Harumi Yamaguchi blazed a trail for herself as a fashion illustrator during the 1970s and 1980s – a peak era for Japanese ad design. It’s fitting, then, that her long-time patron, the department store Parco, should hold her exhibit just before its extended close. From early to recent works, revel in Yamaguchi’s vividly airbrushed images starring sporty, sexy, and self-assured women at sport, work, and play, along with homages to female icons from Bessie Smith to Akiko Yosano, plus collaborations with fashion designer Yasuko Furuta, photographer Camille Vivier, and art director Theseus Chan. Here Yamaguchi updates her legacy with “a message for the present with female images from an unknown future.” Through July 25th.


Manshichi Sakamoto “Photographs of Pre-War Okinawa” (MuPon)

Manshichi Sakamoto, a gifted photographer of traditional crafts and Buddhist sculpture, accompanied Mingei (Folk Craft) Movement founder Soetsu Yanagi on his prewar trips to Okinawa. Along with superb examples of Okinawan crafts including bingata dyed textiles, ceramics, and ornamental urns from its extensive collection, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum presents Sakamoto’s rare images of Okinawa in the first half of the 20th century. Through August 21st.


Miyako Ishiuchi “Frida is”

Hasselblad Award-winner Miyako Ishiuchi, who has left an indelible mark on Japanese photography since her debut with Yokosuka Story, is perhaps currently best known for her haunting ひろしま/hiroshima series documenting the personal belongings of those who perished in the atomic bombing. She has taken a similar approach in Frida by Ishiuchi and Frida: Love and Pain, two projects photographing the clothing and other possessions of Frida Kahlo. Set against the brightly painted walls of Shiseido Gallery, these supersized images emanate the fragility, ferocity, anguish, and vivacity of the great Mexican painter. Ends August 21st. Uplink will screen a film about Ishiuchi’s work for Mexico City’s Frida Kahlo Museum from July 30th through August 5th.


Cy Twombly Photographs: Lyrical Variations (MuPon)

Those enamored with the visual poetry of Twombly’s paintings and collages filled with scribbled lines, plants, and moving bursts of color at the Hara Museum last year will want to head to the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art for another show in an idyllic venue suited to the artist’s romantic abstractionism. This exhibition focuses on Twombly’s photography, which reflects both his aesthetic eye and artistic development, while also displaying sculptures and paintings that reference his interests in European history and mythology. Through August 28th.


Steve McQueen “Cold Breath”

Rat Hole Gallery screens the Academy Award-winning British director Steve McQueen’s “Cold Breath” through September 4th. This ten-minute silent film of the artist pinching, twisting, and generally antagonizing his own nipple is an experiment in editing and camera work that probes intersections of “gender, sexuality, violence, and desire.” “One reason I wanted to work with the image of the nipple was that it is like an eye,” McQueen explains. He will give a talk in English at The National Art Center, Tokyo on Friday, July 22nd from 17:00.


Pierre Huyghe “Untilled Host” Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo

Pierre Huyghe has pursued for much of his career a critical inquiry into the very structures of art museums and the white cube gallery space and has attempted to disrupt their ordered regimes through the intrusion of life which holds little respect for art. Ants crawling the walls, dogs with pink legs roaming the museum grounds, forests taking over opera halls, all of these organic presences defy the conventions of system of exhibition and reverse the established mode of “exposing something to someone” by rather “exposing someone to something”. In his dynamic installations he constructs time-based situations, a self-generating network in which emergence and rhythm are indeterminate and exist beyond our presence, reformulating the accepted subject-object relationship and rather positing us as objects of observation by non-human organisms. In this six month exhibition at Espace Huyghe presents two key works which reflect these discourses in the form of The Host and the Cloud (2009-2010) and A Way in Untilled (2012). Through January 9th 2017.


Julia Margaret Cameron: A Woman Who Breathed Life Into Photographs

One of the icons of the pre-Raphaelite movement, Julia Margaret Cameron was a woman who refused to be held back by convention. Taking up photography at the age of 48 and quickly enrolling herself in the male dominated Photographic Society of London, she not only faced the suppressions of patriarchal society but also confronted criticism for a technique which challenged the function of a photograph as an accurate freeze-framing of that seen by the natural eye. Her utilization of soft focus, uneven development of the image and the maintenance of dust and flecks within the final print was much derided by some, but her commitment to these exceptional techniques earnt her a name in photographic history, a position which is celebrated here through a selection of 150 photographs and documents brought together by the Victoria and Albert Museum on the bicentennial of Cameron’s birth. Through September 19th.


Able Art T-shirt Collection 2016

As we start to be weighed down with the muggy heat of Tokyo’s summer why not lighten up with the fresh and colorful exhibition of unique T-shirt designs and other eye-catching creations at A/A Gallery in 3331 Arts Chiyoda. With prints and fabrics utilizing the works of artists with disabilities from across the country the gallery plays host to a stimulating profusion of expressions which are bound to enliven you even in temperatures above 35 degrees. Through August 7th.


Nam June Paik “Who Will be Laughing in 2020 ?+?=??”

The seminal work of Name June Paik, the “father of video art”, stirred a wind through the art world quite unlike any other. Representing a spirit of optimism towards a globally interconnected world as a source for unlimited creativity, his work reflected a sensibility anticipating the utopian visions of the early internet age, whilst not forgetting to add a hint of irony and critique for good measure. His ground breaking “Global Groove”, 1973, brought together artists from all over the world in a live TV broadcast, democratizing control of the mass-media and blurring the bounds between high culture and popular fashion. Imagining a new world order through participative technology Paik shared many of the hopes of his frequent collaborator Joseph Beuys, who posed that all humanity has an innate creativity which could be harnessed together with the power of direct democracy in order to shape society. In 1993 Paik is recorded as saying “Who will be laughing in 2020?” and this poses to us today a significant question of our near future, perhaps querying if the ideals of globalism are well and truly sunk as we run up to the Olympics and the third decade of the 21st century. The exhibition will feature an impressive collection of 230 pieces of installation, video, painting and drawing works allowing an immersive experience of the prolific master of media art. From July 17th through to January 29th 2017.


Yuriko Sasaoka “Icarus’s Bride”

Having won a string of awards in recent years including the 2014 Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi Award, the 2015 Recommended Award for Art in the 18th Media Arts Festival and the ‘Special Prize’ at the Taro Okamoto for Contemporary Art in 2016 Yuriko Sasaoka is an artist increasingly under the spotlight of the contemporary art scene, drawing attention with her highly stylized renditions of puppet shows with a CG twist. Her elaborate constructions of set designs provide the stage for the interactions of her quirky stringed characters, who are transformed into hybrid beings through the superimposing of human heads and body parts upon their wooden frames. Here she presents a reworked version of “Icarus’s Bride” which also featured at Setouchi Triennale, offering up new interpretations of the Greek myth of Daedalus, the inventor who created the labyrinth which held the minotaur, and Icarus, his son who escaped with him from entrapment only to fly too close to the sun, featuring Yuriko as the bride doll of the title, combining wild twists of reality and the fantasy in fractious harmony. From July 9th through to July 30th.


Emma Ota

Emma Ota

First coming to Japan with the ambition of decoding the blackbox of Japanese media art, Emma soon realized there was more to life than programming and GPS and started out on an ongoing art adventure around South East Asia. Between flitting from one country to the next she has found time to work with various Tokyo based galleries and art centers, with a keen interest in alternative and artist run spaces, as well as running the art project dislocate. <a href="http//"></a>