Posts Tagged ‘Japan’


March 11, 2009  |  art, Art Crimes, Graffiti, Nara, News, NYC, Street Art  |  Comments Off


In town for the opening of his eponymous solo show at MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY, Japan’s YOSHITOMO NARA just couldn’t help himself in the Subway at Union Station when the graffiti urge overtook him. Unfortunately, New York’s “Finest” don’t exactly see drawings as “art” when they’re on walls instead of paper and the delicate art star spent two days in the slammer. Ouch:

March 10, Japan Today

Yoshitomo Nara, a contemporary Japanese pop artist known for sculptures and paintings of doe-eyed figures, was arrested in late February for tagging graffiti in the Union Square subway station, a New York Police Department official said Monday.

Nara was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on Feb 27 and charged with criminal mischief, possession of graffiti instruments, making graffiti and resisting arrest, detective Martin Speechley told Kyodo News in a phone interview. An official at a New York art gallery where Nara’s exhibits are currently on display said the artist has already been released.

Nara, 49, who lives and works in Tochigi Prefecture, was in New York for a solo exhibition of his work at the Marianne Boesky Gallery that runs Feb 28 through March 28. The online edition of Art in America magazine said Nara was caught tagging a graffiti portrait of two Japanese friends in the subway station and he was optimistic about his two days in lockup.

It was ‘‘a nice experience in my life,’’ the artist was quoted as saying. He said the environment in which he found himself was like something in the movies. Nara emerged on the art scene during Japan’s pop art movement in the 1990s and has held solo exhibitions worldwide. His works are on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Click HERE to read more…

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March 11, 2009  |  art, First Look, Japan, Nara, News, Openings, Uncategorized  |  Comments Off


Japanese art sensation (he’s bigger than Murakami in his native land) YOSHITOMO NARA brought some much-needed heat to NYC last week with his eponymous new show of paintings, drawings and large-scale constructions at MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY. Forming the centerpiece of the exhibition is a pair of large “Smurf houses” that double as mini art studios that were executed in conjunction with installation artists GRAF, who, together with Nara form the collective YNG (Yoshitomo Nara + Graf). Constructed from reclaimed wood, the forms of the two immense sculptures recall stylized tannenbaums, with their roof shingling evoking exaggerated tree needles. Small cutout windows and hanging lights punctuate the sculptures, providing them with the feel of a house or some surreal abode. The structures are hollow and present interiors replete with drawings and paintings all created in the artist's hand, and with a multitude of stuffed animals from fans selected by the artist. Though Nara has previously exhibited these types of moveable spaces before, the dwellings in this exhibition have a quieted sentiment to them. Each object within feels carefully considered in its placement. The frenzy of personal effects including photographs, CDs and beer cans, all evoking the turmoil and inspiration in the artist studio, has been removed. Instead the stillness of the structures, with their looming spires, presents a protective shell to the interiors. Though possible to peer into the structures and glimpse their holdings, they cannot be entered and the viewer must be content to remain on the exterior. The paintings, rendered on both canvas and wooden billboards, depict lone portraits of dreamy-eyed figures. Pencil and colored pencil drawings on found envelopes and discarded papers similarly parse the psychological landscape of their subjects. A dedicated rock fanatic Nara’s opening included live performances by Japanese bands by OORUTAICHI and M.A.G.O., proving that normally stuffy Gotham art openings can indeed rock and or roll. Nara is yet another artist participating in the "Stages" charity art show to benefit LANCE ARMSTRONG's anti-cancer LIVESTRONG foundation during his run in this year's Tour de France. Keep an eye on ST for more details coming soon. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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December 3, 2008  |  Animation, Film, First Look, Icons & Legends, Japan, News, Otaku  |  Comments Off

A curiously shirted Astro Boy runs out to kick Speed Racer's ass...

2009 is gonna be a huge year for otaku Anime & Manga fans when the legendary ASTRO BOY finally hits the big screen in modern computer animated form in an eponymous feature based the highly successful Japanese franchise by OSAMU TEZUKA. Nicolas Cage's inclusion in the film as voice "talent" will surely be a low point but hopefully they don't mess this flick up completely. We need something to redeem last year's "Speed Racer" fiasco bad...


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October 7, 2008  |  Autorama, Design, Japan, Kustom Kulture, News  |  Comments Off


HONDA's wondrous soft glow-in-the-dark egg of a concept car with the dirtiest name of all time, the "PUYO," has been making the car show rounds for a minute now but our fascination remains undiminished. Created entirely without hard edges, inside and out, the new Japanese family commuter pod operates without a steering wheel (a gamer-friendly joystick handles the "directionality"), runs on an advanced hydrogen fuel cell, is enclosed by a totally transparent dome, is surrounded by a silicone "gel body" that literally glows in the dark, and contains an interior that spins a full 360 degrees so that the car never needs to reverse. It also flys and swims underwater. Not really, that doesn't kick in till the 2011 model. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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August 13, 2008  |  art, Beautiful Losers, News, Openings  |  Comments Off

The scene of the crime literally 5 minutes before opening...

Last week's opening of the low-fi spectacle of downtown outsider art that is BEAUTIFUL LOSERS at Tokyo's LaFORET MUSEUM in the hipster hotspot of Harajuku commemorated the Japanese premiere of the new "Beautiful Losers" documentary film and the beginning of the new NIKE SPORTSWEAR-sponsored "Make Something!" workshops. The show—smaller in scale than the full-scale exhibition currently on tour in Europe—included original art by Margaret Kilgallen, ESPO, Jo Jackson, Josh Lazcano (AMAZE), Alexis Ross of the Gents of Desire, Barry Mcgee (Ray Fong), Chris Johanson, Geoff McFetridge, Sean Barton, Shepard Fairey, Harmony Korine, Mike Mills, Thomas Campbell, and Ed Templeton, among others. Meanwhile, the "Make Something!" workshops hosted by Alexis Ross (Homemade Tattoos), Aaron Rose ( Zine Making), Sean Barton (Sign Painting), and Jo Jackson (Paper Mache Heads of World Leaders) gave the throng of eager Japanese fans something to do with their idle hands and deviant minds. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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July 22, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Japan, News, Tokyo, Toybox  |  Comments Off

Ewoks and George's last 3 movies made us hate Star Wars but Usugrow's gangster Darth brought us back... 

If you're like us the last thing you wanna look at is another painted toy/object show. Keeping that in mind, we couldn't help but be stoked to catch a look at the ill work of our boy USUGROW at the Japan touchdown of the VADER PROJECT 2008 at MAKUHARI-MESSE in Chiba this weekend. Lending his signature black ink linestyle and to-die-for lettering to a creamy vanilla Darth Vader helmet (a real one at that) for the show honoring the 3oth anniversary of Star Wars in Japan, the mysterious artist proved that there's still fresh blood in the murky waters of this tired genre. Other good looks came from amazing Japanese toy sculptor T9G, and an amazing Vader as samurai helmet. Of course the hoards of Japanese otaku nerd girls in stormtrooper uniforms wasn't too hard on the eyes. Now the only scary thing is knowing that a painted Han Solo-in-Carbonite sculpture show is undoubtedly on the horizon. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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June 4, 2008  |  art, Art Crimes, Art Stunts, Japan, News, Openings  |  Comments Off

Karl Lagerfeld's spaceship has finally landed, and P-Funk is the house band...

As big companies struggle to find new ways to connect the dots between their brands and the art world, OG fashion giant CHANEL has boldly gone where few have been able to afford to go before and created their own incredible traveling UFO-like art museum dubbed the "CHANEL CONTEMPORARY ART CONTAINER" which has just touched down in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park near the hipster hub of the Harajuku subway station. And what does this incredible land-based flying object house, you might ask? Why an obligatory self-congratulating collection of original art pieces by 20 international artists including (among others) YOKO ONO, THE BLUE NOSES, DAVID LEVENTHAL, DANIEL BUREN, LEE BUL, NOBUYOSHI ARAKI, PIERRE et GILLES, and STEPHEN SHORE, of course, all paying homage to the couture house's signature product, the Chanel quilted purse. While we can think of fewer items less inspiring to build a traveling art exhibition around, we're more than impressed by architectural futurist ZAHA HADID's incredible modular spaceship-like structure that was commissioned by the company's chief creative director and resident Earthbound alien, KARL LAGERFELD. With stops scheduled in New York, London, Moscow, and Paris through 2010, there's a good chance a great deal of well-heeled aficionados will get their chance to prowl the pod's Kubrick-ian white corridors and possibly even be granted an audience with the mobile museum's resident MC, Hal. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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June 2, 2008  |  On Exhibit  |  Comments Off

Nara's dog in Zen... 

Iconic Japanese Pop artist YOSHITOMO NARA has always had a penchant for all things cute and cuddly, but usually on the diminutive side, stature-wise. His giant dog sculpture on display at the AOMORI MUSEUM, however, is his largest work to date and no less cuddly for its two-story size...

Locals risk angering the sleeping dog god by teasing it with their Hello Kitty scarf...

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May 1, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Openings, Tokyo  |  Comments Off

"Halfway between a handshake and a f*%k"...

It's hard to open a magazine or flip on the TV these days without stumbling across an ad or commercial unmistakably shot by downtown NYC art star photographer TERRY RICHARDSON. It’s starting to feel that way with art shows too. Since last week, Tokyo's hipster elite has been privy to an exhibition of some of the mustachioed one's funniest collections in recent memory with his JACKASS series capturing everyone's favorite idiots in moments of gloriously uncensored frolic on display at the LaFORET MUSEUM in the trendsetting epicenter of Harajuku. Of course, it wouldn't be an art show in Tokyo without some obligatory limited-edition product releases and this show sees the release of 200 special photo print T-shits, 100 photo books, And 100 box sets including an instant camera and a pair of Terry's signature sunglasses. Interestingly, a separate show of Terry's late father BOB RICHARDSON's photos is on display concurrently at the nearby ZEL GALLERY. Both shows run through Thursday, May 8th. HAVE A LOOK: Read More

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