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Picks :
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Picks is a monthly sampling of Japan's art scene, offering commentary by reviewers and curators about current or recent exhibitions at museums and galleries around the country.

Note: Although Japan's state of quasi-emergency has been lifted, many museums and galleries still require reservations or have other anti-Covid measures in place. If you are planning a visit, please check the venue's website beforehand.

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image image 15 December 2022
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Affections: Objects of Man Ray
8 October 2022 - 15 January 2023
Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art
(Chiba)
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A gathering of some 150 works by the protean artist, a third of them from collections in Japan. Say the curators: "Man Ray (1890-1976) produced a broad range of works including paintings, photographs, objects, and films. This exhibition focuses on the objects he referred to as 'objects of my affection' from the latter part of his career. The objects he made freely throughout his lifetime are realized as poetical combinations of things and words. Particularly notable is that he reproduced objects treating the same theme by a method of his own, through which he presented his view of the major issue of 'the originality of an artwork.'"
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Oki Junko: The Exposed
17 September 2022 - 9 January 2023
Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura Annex
(Kanagawa)
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From the museum's introduction: "This is the first solo exhibition at an art museum of works by Oki Junko (b. 1963), who creates unique works employing the method of embroidery. With the thread her mother had left as a start, Oki began embroidering without a teacher. Via an initial period of embroidering on clothes and bags, in recent years, she has been producing works transcending genres such as painting and sculpture and presenting her works energetically in Japan and abroad." (For a detailed review, see the 1 December 2022 issue's Focus.)
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The Trace of Hakushu -- What's Art Camp Hakushu?
29 October 2022 - 15 January 2023
Ichihara Lakeside Museum
(Chiba)
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Art Camp Hakushu was part of a series of summer festivals held in Hakushu, Yamanashi Prefecture, between 1988 and 2010, launched by a group of artists who had moved there from the city. Sitting on the edge of the vast Fossa Magna rift zone that bisects Japan, Hakushu was a fitting location for people from around the world to gather and try to create a new culture and lifestyle extending across the arbitrary boundary between city and country. For the performers, artists, architects, musicians, writers, and young people and children who participated, Hakushu was an unforgettable experience that this presentation seeks to revisit.
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Graphic Cube -- Film Posters from the DNP Graphic Design Archives Collection
29 November 2022 - 15 January 2023
Kyoto ddd Gallery
(Kyoto)
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In the words of the gallery, "Countless film and movie posters have been produced in countless varieties the world over, and as such are a reflection of the social, philosophical, and popular trends of each era. How has graphic design captured, expressed, and conveyed these trends? The inaugural Graphic Cube exhibition focuses on selected pieces from the archive that provide a glimpse into how the temporal, comprehensive art of film is represented on paper, and how graphic designers can distill the essence of each film or movie into poster form."
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Legacy of Beardsley: Artists of Art Nouveau and Painters of Japanese Modern Art

19 November 2022 - 29 January 2023
Shimonoseki City Art Museum
(Yamaguchi)
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An introduction to the mesmerizing aesthetic of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98), the short-lived but influential illustrator who occupies a unique position in late 19th-century art. Showcasing such masterpieces as Salomé, along with other works of the same era, the exhibition explores the impact of the Art Nouveau movement, in which Beardsley was a seminal figure, on Japanese artists at a time when they were particularly receptive to Western art.
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Taira Koshichi Exhibition
3 November 2022 - 15 January 2023
Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum
(Okinawa)
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This retrospective on the Okinawa-born photographer coincides with the 50th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan. Taira (1939-94) devoted his career to capturing images of life on his home island in such books as Okinawa: The Anguish and Resistance of a Million Residents (1970) and Painukaji (1976), the latter earning him the Kimura Ihei Photography Award. As the museum puts it, "The works of the photographer gazing at the reversion of Okinawa to Japan and trying to reveal the reality of changing Okinawa during its turbulent times still have the power to pose questions to us all."
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Pablo Picasso: Drawing Inspiration
11 November 2022 - 9 January 2023
Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum
(Nagasaki)
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The 20th-century master was constantly in conversation with art both ancient and modern as he engaged in repeated experimentation that gave birth to new forms of expression. The media he excelled at, which extended from painting to sculpture, ceramics, and set design, also included printmaking, which is the focus of this exhibition. On loan from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the 130 works on show comprise not only a rich trove of Picasso prints but also oil paintings, drawings, and photographs.
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Fujino Kazutomo and Okanoue Toshiko
1 November 2022 - 9 January 2023
Fukuoka Art Museum
(Fukuoka)
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A parallel presentation of works by two of Japan's finest postwar Surrealists, who happened to be husband and wife. Per the curators: "Working respectively in painting and photo collage, Fujino (1928-80) and Okanoue (1928-) created a unique universe of art after the war. The two artists met while studying at Bunka Gakuin around 1951 and were married in 1957. The representation of the body and the fantastic worldview are shared features in the works of two individuals who launched their careers at the same time."
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Sunazawa Bikky Retrospective
22 November 2022 - 22 January 2023
Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art
(Hokkaido)
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To quote from the museum website: "Sunazawa (1931-89) was a leading artist in the world of Japanese sculpture. The depths of his creativity, in which unique organic forms are generated, metamorphosed, and connected while being dismantled, are explored through abstract sculptures, craftwork, drawings, Art Informel-style paintings, etc."
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Tokihiro Sato: Hachinohe Magic Lantern
29 October 2022 - 9 January 2023
Hachinohe Art Museum
(Aomori)
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Highlighting a project that photographic artist Sato (b. 1957) has been working on for six years, this show centers around works that feature the city of Hachinohe. Sato's "Magic Lantern" series utilizes lenses and the light of candles and lamps in a technique inspired by the magic lantern, an early device for projecting images painted on glass plates. Accompanying Sato's work is a selection of photographs taken by Hachinohe citizens of scenes in their hometown. (For a detailed review, see this issue's Focus.)
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