I would love to go to the Setouchi International Art Festival next week, an amazing art and culture event that is taking place on a group of islands in southern Japan. One of the installations there is this one, called Network, is by Korean artist Suh Do Ho. So beautiful! If you have the chance to attend the festival and see anything blog-worthy, please send it my way.
Pink Tentacle points us to some beautiful woodblock prints the late 1800s. This one, called Ten realms within the human body, was once used as a visual medical guide to the human body. These are all part of a collection held at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), a great medical school not too far from where I live.
Over at Boing Boing, I just posted about the upcoming Mori Art Museum exhibit featuring Indonesian art trio Tromarama. They use woodblock prints and lots of buttons to create stop motion videos, like the one above. July-Nov. Definitely worth checking out!
I am both grateful and sad to learn about Tetsuya Ishida, a highly talented surrealist painter from Shizuoka who died several years ago at age 22, in a train accident which may have been a suicide. He was a prolific artist who often drew himself as part of a machine or appliance. There’s a real beautiful sadness about his pieces, some of which sold at auctions for about $10K.
I am newly a fan of Koshi Kawachi, an artist who uses common everyday Japanese things to create cool art. For example, above, he takes the ever-so-popular dagashiya snack Umaibo and carves them into Buddhist statues. And below, he uses old manga collections to grow vegetables in.
One of my favorite artists (and super-fun person) Erina Matsui is having an exhibit in Tokyo from April 3-May 1 at the Yamamoto Gendai gallery. I interviewed her last year when I went to Japan with the producers of PRI’s Studio360, and spent a few hours talking to her about her art (she says she draws self-portraits of herself as a axelotl because people told her she looks like one) and eating sushi. She’s young, talented, and totally worth checking out.
The Japan Times has a fun story today about a duo of young women decorators who refurbish apartments with super-cute colorful furnishings. The properties they work with are pseudo-apartments where residents get their own room but share a kitchen, living space, and bathroom. The one condo mentioned in the article is in the trendy Aoyama district and once belonged to a famous novelist; they refurbished it to have a giant mirror and paintings of carp on the wall. The condos are occupied mostly by young women in their 30s, who rent rooms for $7-800. Sounds kind of like a fun way to live!
My friend Ichiru in Japan just sent me a note on Twitter saying: “I heard this site is quite popular in the US.” I hadn’t seen it previously, but it’s a hilarious collection of Godzilla-themed haiku, including one written by my friend Annalee Newitz.
I love this series of drawings that shows a seemingly innocuous mouthless girl with and without her clothes on — below her frumpy blue dress, she wears a body covered with yakuza tattoos. I kinda love that her panties match her dress.
If you’re in Seoul, Korea this May, don’t forget to check out Tokujin Yoshioka’s latest installation called the Rainbow Church. The main piece will be an 8-meter wall that refracts light, creating a giant array of rainbows in the space in front of it. But as all of us who have seen a Yoshioka exhibit are well aware, his creations are so much deeper than what meets the eye.
The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts just bought this rare Tokugawa-era suit of armor, made of iron, leather, lacquer, and gold, for $602,500.
The armor came from a Japanese museum that acquired it in 1927 from a treasury that was part of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the family of warlords who ruled Japan from 1600 until 1868. It was made in the early 1600s in Kii Province, south of Kyoto, which was then headed by Tokugawa Yorinobu (1602-71), the 10th son of the dynasty’s founder.
The buyers are guessing that it was probably never worn in battle because it’s in pristine condition.