TOSHIKO OKANOUE, Photo Collage : The Miracle of Silence

Toshiko Okanoue is known for her black and white photo collages, using images from print magazines. Influenced by Max Ernst and Shuzo Takiguchi, a Japanese Surrealist, her collages are truly surreal, often featuring women from fashion magazines placed in a variety of locations with unrealistic proportions. The exhibition also includes dressmaking patterns from her youth, photographs, source magazines and a few paintings. The museum has included several designer dresses (Dior, Balenciaga) from the Kyoto Costume Institute.

Le Corbusier and the Age of Purism

In a nutshell

To mark its 60th anniversary, the National Museum of Western Art is hosting an exhibition in its main building, which was designed by Le Corbusier himself. While Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Courbusier) is best known for his architecture, this exhibition focuses heavily on purism: its origins, tenets, members and output. There are many paintings by Le Corbusier and his purism co-founder Amédée Ozenfant that demonstrate the movement’s focus on geometric forms that combine art with mechanical engineering, giving the art a machine-like quality. Purism is also discussed in relation to cubism with works by Picasso and Braque on display. There are videos, photographs, drawings and models of Le Corbusier’s architecture as well.

Sophie Calle: Exquisite Pain

Reading any news about art in Tokyo, it is hard to miss Sophie Calle, that her work has appeared in four different venues in February: a video installation at Shibuya Crossing (finished), a gallery show at Perrotin in Roppongi (the above photo), Parce que at Gallery Koyangi in Ginza, and Exquisite Pain: From the Hara Museum Collection. Exquisite Pain was previously shown at the Hara Museum in 1999-2000, when the museum acquired the entire collection, and is now shown again in its entirety. Calle demonstrates the pain of a romantic breakup through a countdown, using letters, photographs, and other mementos to tick off the days. The count up alternates Calle’s recounting of the breakup with painful stories and accompanying photographs from the stories of others.

The Way of Paintings 2019: FACE Award Winners and FACE 2019

FACE, the Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Art Award, is a public entry competition established in 2013 that recognizes outstanding emerging artists. The Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art is hosting two exhibitions regarding this award. Until February 17, The Way of Paintings 2019: FACE Award Winners features 11 artists who received Grand Prix or Excellent Work Awards from 2016 to 2018. From February 23 to March 30, the 7th FACE exhibition, FACE 2019, features 71 works selected by a jury from the works submitted by 870 emerging artists from all over Japan.

Hokusai Updated

Hokusai of the ubiquitous woodblock wave is treated to a massive exhibition of over 400 works of art. It is termed “updated” because it includes recently rediscovered works and pieces that are shown in Japan for the first time. The viewer comes away with an appreciation of the length of the artist’s career: Hokusai began at 20 and died at 90 and considered his work to be satisfactory starting at the age of 70. While there are prints from his famous series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, including Under the Wave off Kanagawa, the exhibition highlights the different periods of the artist’s long career, the many types of artwork (prints, paintings, books, and much more) he created, his innovation and the pursuit of his unique interests, and his desire to share what he learned over the years through the publication of artist manuals.

Leiko Ikemura: Our Planet - Earth & Stars

Leiko Ikemura is a Japanese-Swiss artist who lives and works in Germany. This exhibition includes artwork from her 40 year career. Charcoal drawings, photographs, paintings on canvas and jute, sculptures, and large scale prints. The artist focuses on the natural world - trees, mountains, horizons - and women, both girls and Amazon women. Highlights include recent large scale paintings of the cosmos, over-sized prints of Amazon women, and the Usagi Kannon, a large-scale sculpture of a rabbit/goddess hybrid.

Michael Kenna: A 45 Year Odyssey 1973-2018

In the mood to get away, if only for a few minutes, and immerse yourself in beauty? This exhibition is a collection of stunningly gorgeous black and white photographs of landscapes from all over the world. Some shots are from world famous locales like Versailles or New York City. Others are so “simple” that the invoke minimalist paintings, such as photographs of snow scenes in Hokkaido. There are two special sections with photographs: Japanese nudes and haunting scenes from holocaust sites.

The Phillips Collection: A Modern Vision

In 1921 Duncan Phillips opened what is considered to be the first museum devoted in modern art in the United States. The Phillips Collection is located in Washington, DC and even those who have visited this museum will appreciate the works in this exhibition. The artworks are grouped by the decade they were acquired and this, together with the exhibition text, provides interesting insight into Duncan Phillips the art collector. His emphasis on collecting the most unique, rather than the most famous or representative, examples of an artist’s work provides the viewer with the opportunity to see some of the world’s most famous artists in new ways.

Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque

Thinking about Rubens usually invokes images of women who “embrace their curves” as we say in today’s vernacular. This exhibition offers another view of this master by focusing on his years in Italy, from 1600 to 1608. This time in Italy, the center of ancient, Renaissance and Baroque art, and his access to sculpture of the ancient world and masters such as Titian and Tintoretto, greatly influenced his art.

Catastrophe and the Power of Art

“What art can do in chaotic times where the future is uncertain.” Under the theme of catastrophe, such as the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, these artists use their talents to help us process these events through their personal vision and expression. The artwork concerns all types of tragedies, from personal experiences to large cataclysmic events. There are a wide variety of media - videos, photographs, paintings, sculptures, illustrations, models, and more - used to both depict disasters both large and small and process these events through creativity in the aftermath.

Yoshimura Yoshio: Beyond Hyper-realism

Yoshimura Yoshio’s drawings depict everyday scenes, hyper realistic recreations of newspapers, self-portraits on actual newspapers, and renditions of flowers that are so realistic that they look like photographs at first glance. Over 60 works and 600 items make up the retrospective of this incredibly gifted artist and must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

MINGEI - Another Kind of Art

This exhibition features over 140 objects selected by the Director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. The word mingei is used to describe handicrafts made by anonymous craftspeople, emphasizing that crafts use local materials and techniques handed down from generations. The film shown in Gallery 1 highlights craftspeople at work and informs the objects on display in Gallery 2.

Munch: A Retrospective

Edvard Munch’s The Scream is arguably one of the most famous works of art. This is your opportunity to admire it along with a wide variety of the artist’s work: self portraits, self photographs (early selfies), portraits, and landscapes. Other famous works, such as The Kiss and Madonna, are presented in multiple and in different media -- prints and oil paintings.

ArchitectureXPhotography: A Light Existing Only Here

This exhibition is an interesting exploration of the relationship between photography and architecture. Buildings have been the subject of photography from its inception, at first because they are static and later because of photography’s ability to document changes in urban environments. Taken mostly from the museum’s collection, the exhibition demonstrates the early history of architectural photography, then groups various types of architecture by photographer, including some famous sites from around the world.

Awakenings: Art in Society in Asia 1960s-1990s

The theme for this exhibition covers quite a bit of ground: societal change in eleven Asian countries as expressed through art. As stated in the exhibition text, this is not art for art’s sake but rather art for the masses, art as critique, art as documentation of change. There are several videos of varying lengths, photographs, sculptures, prints, drawings, paintings and documentation of a variety of performance art.

Georges Rouault L’Œuvre magnifié: L’Art sacré et la modernité

This exhibition showcases Rouault’s depictions of Christ and other religious scenarios with 80+ works, mostly very textured oil paintings and some prints, made from a variety of different print techniques. Seeing several portraits repeating the same characteristics (an elongated oval head with a long nose and large, almond shaped eyes) provide the viewer the opportunity to compare and contrast the paintings, which highlight the remaining variations in the artist’s unique style.

Making the Difference: Vermeer and Dutch Art

A unique opportunity to see nine (out of 35 surviving) original paintings by the Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer. Rather than sprinkling the Vermeer paintings throughout, the Vermeers are grouped together in one beautiful room at the end of the exhibition. The other paintings by 17th century Dutch artists such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, and Pieter de Hooch are shown in groups: portraits, Biblical scenes, still lifes, and daily life. These paintings serve as context and set the stage to even better admire Vermeer’s artistry and skill.

EXOTIC X MODERN: French Art Deco and inspiration from afar

This exhibition, through a collection of 85 objects, explores the influence of the exotic on the modern Art Deco movement in France. Prints (posters), sculptures, jewelry, clothing, photographs, paintings, and decorative objects are presented to demonstrate the influence of “exotic” foreign lands in Africa and Asia on Art Deco design. Highlights include lacquer pieces by Jean Dunand and sculptures by François Pompon.

Pierre Bonnard, The Never-Ending Summer

Pierre Bonnard was a member of the French artist group called the Nabis (from the Hebrew word navi, meaning prophet). He was also influenced by Japanese art, including ukiyo-e, so much so that he was called le Nabi très japonard. This retrospective of Bonnard’s paintings, prints and photographs are organized by Japanese influence, work in graphic arts, and photographs. His paintings move from emphasizing light and shadow to the influence of impressionism, a focus on intimacy and daily life, to landscapes from Normandy and southern France.

Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

Over 150 pieces from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide a retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Highlights include early portraits, cubism paintings (including Nude Descending a Staircase), readymades (including Bicycle Wheel and Fountain), a replica of The Large Glass, and photographs. The exhibition outlines the artist’s travels, his female persona (Rrose Sélavy), his passion for chess, his production of replicas of his work, and his final work Étant donnés. The exhibition ends with about 10 pieces of Japanese art, which are presented through the lens of Duchamp’s readymades and reproductions.