Today we’re going to be rounding up a few picks of Japanese artists showing in New York this fall season. Our first pick is Yayoi Kusama, who recently joined David Zwirner Gallery and is now really rubbing it in to her ex-gallerist Gagosian. In what is promising to be the next Rain Room (ie: long lines and obligatory instagram selfies) eccentric artist Yayoi Kusama is showcasing a monumental body of new and recent work. Headlining the show “I Who Have Arrived In Heaven” is Kusama’s immersive mirrored infinity room, which features a surrealistic dark room of mirrors, LED lights and water. As of now we’re hearing that the wait to get in is 2 hours and there is a time limit of 40 seconds to spend in the room.
Yayoi Kusama: I who have arrived in heaven
David Zwirner, New York
11.08.2013 – 12.21.2013
Also on display are Kusama’s colorful dot sculptures and paintings.
November 20, 2013 2 Comments
Kansai-based crafter Matsuko Matsui creates small, delicate accessories from materials like wood, metal and glass. Among her many creations, which she catalogs on her blog, my favorite are these rings inspired by tori, a traditional Japanese gate often found at the entrance of a Shinto shrine. They can be found all across Japan symbolically delineating between sacred and non-sacred land.
“What I’d really like,” Matsui writes jokingly on her blog, “is for people to buy multiples and turn their finger into a Kyoto tori tunnel.” She is undoubtedly referring to something you would see at Fushimi Inari Taisha.
You can check out our other jewelry-themed posts right here!
November 19, 2013 1 Comment
They say cats have 9 lives. Well Internet cats now have 1 additional life, thanks to embroidery artist Hiroko Kubota. The Nara-based artist began creating clothes as a hobby, mainly for her family. “My son was of a smaller build and store-bought clothes wouldn’t fit him well so I would often make him clothes,” explains Kubota. “It was actually at his request that I began embroidering cats.”
As it turns out, Kubota’s son is somewhat of a cat fanatic and enjoys collecting images of cute cats he finds on the Internet. His favorite ones would become models for embroideries.
After posting her creations online they quickly went viral (like most Internet cats do), prompting Kubota to open an etsy shop 6 months ago. Despite the hefty price tag for a shirt ($250 – $300) she quickly racked up 15 sales and her current inventory is looking a bit slim. According to her website she also used to do custom orders. But now that she seems to be getting busier that service may be in jeopardy.
*All quotes translated from Japanese to English by author
November 19, 2013 4 Comments
Continuing their bizarre foray into the untapped market of philosopher/socio-political theorist action figures, Japanese company Mountain Research has released a 2013 edition of Chairman Mao, Vladimir Lenin, Henry David Thoreau and Karl Marx. This year the anatomically correct action figures (scaled down to 1:22.5) can be seen paddling down a river. Thoreau is yelling orders at the communists to paddle. Marx and Mao are taking in the scenery, but the later seems much happier to be here than the former. The attention to detail , especially their belongings, is quite staggering.
After their inaugural release in 2011, last year’s version featured the 4 men preparing to rest at their campsite.
November 18, 2013 1 Comment
Manic doodler Keita Sagaki updated his portfolio with recent works and he appears to be shifting his focus to the USA. From afar, the 29-year old Tokyo-based artist creates work that appears to be fairly accurate sketches – nothing more, nothing less. But upon closer observation one realizes that each piece is actually composed of hundreds of cartoonish doodles that encompass entire canvasses.
Sagaki previously focused his efforts on recreating classical artwork like Greek sculptures and The Mona Lisa using wacky doodles. But his recent work would suggest he’s now seeking inspiration from iconic American landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, New York’s Times Square and the Statue of Liberty.
November 18, 2013 1 Comment
It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally it’s happening: we now have our own shop! The concept has always made a lot of sense but the stars have just never aligned. But now we’re ready to make the official announcement, which I wanted to do last week but we ran into a few bumps. (if you tried to access the site during the last 48 hours you probably saw this…..sorry!)
We’re starting out with a small selection of hand-picked goods that we love and have tried. And if you’re a reader of the blog you’ll most certainly recognize many of them (but there are also a few new goodies). We’ll continue to slowly add to our selection and you can follow along on our designated twitter account, or through our newsletter.
Oh, and of course if you have any suggestions for the shop, be it UI or product-related, drop us a line. All we ask is that you keep it polite. (we don’t really know what we’re doing)
November 18, 2013 6 Comments
Five elevated sofas sit on top of a hill in Hidemi Nishida’s installation on Mt. Rokko in Kobe, Japan. Visitors can walk up the ladders and sit down in a perch to experience a sensation similar to that of sitting in the sky. I would kill for a view like that from my sofa. It’s like a Tatzu Nishi living room turned inside out.
This post is part of a short series highlighting artists participating in the outdoor Rokko Meets Art festival going on through Nov 24.
November 14, 2013 No Comments
Product designer Oji Masanori is someone I’ve been following from very early in his career. The elegant, functional designs he produces for artisan manufacturers like Takahashi Kogei and Jicon embody, what I consider to be, ideal contemporary Japanese design.
I’m really excited that Oji-san is in NYC right now, preparing for a solo exhibition of his work. The event, titled Yukari, is hosted by the great folks over at Nalata Nalata and is part of a larger pop-up shop that will run through Dec 24. Oji-san will be on site tomorrow to talk about his work. Won’t you join me?
• Opening Reception: (Meet Oji Masanori): Nov 15, 7:30PM – 10: 00PM
• Venue: 2 Extra Place, New York, NY (Manhattan) – GMAP
• Nearest transit: F (2nd Ave), 6 (Bleeker), BDF (Broadway Lafayette)
November 14, 2013 No Comments
Filed under: Places I Want To Visit. If you’re a Mac user you may be familiar with the “Blue Pond” located in Hokkaido. The OS X Mountain Lion wallpaper, as well as these images you see here, were all photographed by Ken Shiraishi, who calls this pond “The Most Beautiful Pond In The World!”
According to the photographer, who made a pilgrimage up to Northern Japan last month to take these shots, the water contains a high degree of aluminum hydroxide, which reflects blue light – a phenomenon responsible for our lovely blue skies. Shiraishi spent several days up there photographing the pond in various light.
How to get there: the closest train station is Biei Station. It’s about a 2-hr train ride from Sapporo Station. You can also drive from Sapporo but that will also take about 2 hours. But beware: once heavy snows set in the pond becomes inaccessible. So it’s best to go before November. (Google Map)
November 13, 2013 2 Comments
all photos by flickr user Jacome
Within the grounds of the sacred Fukita Shrine on Shodoshima Island rests a new structure, seemingly out of place yet at one with nature. This is Fukita Pavillion (PDF), Ryuei Nishizawa’s latest work. The architect and one half of the duo SANAA (previously) completed the structure over the summer as part of the 2013 Setouchi Arts Festival. It consists of 2 large sheets of metal – one forms the base and hosts a crescent shaped bench for seating while also holding up the second sheet, which appears to droop over it.
A large tree rises through the two sheets, which calmly and steadily form round openings. In the summer a cool breeze passes through the pavilion. Children play on the slopes it creates while adults rest on the bench and contemplate its coexistence with nature.
The Fukita Shrine creates an interesting contrast between the Teshima Museum on a neighboring island and also designed by Nishizawa.
November 13, 2013 No Comments