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Archive for Art

J-Cation/Asobi Seksu/Me&Mars

It seems to be my trend to do my writeups about events well after the fact, but surely that just means they are enjoyed longer!

April 10th was the highly anticipated J-Cation hosted by the Japan Society here in NYC. I’ve noticed that Little Japan comes out in full force for the spring here, and a Japanophile like myself can fancy themselves transported overseas where the people, food, and culture are uniquely 日本.

The Japan Society had packed its beautiful space with delights. I went with my sister and while we could only make it there for the evening, we walked into a warm welcome and groovy atmosphere. Maybe no one says ‘groovy’ anymore, but I do.

Meg and I deposited our donation, rang the bell, and clapped our hands. As we walked in, the music immediately surrounded us in the beautifully lantern-lit rooms, but perfectly levelled for conversation. In one look we saw steaming food carts, cute girls in maid outfits, and…bar tokens!

I let my city girl sister (Meg) lead the way as I am a bit over my head in cool situations, and she suggested we pick up a drink and survey before deciding our next move. I ordered a Sapporo beer (I’ve seen the adverts all over the place) and Meg ordered sake. We turned around to see the DJ area with giant screen pumping out a mixture of J-Rock, Pop, and covers while the younger generations were talking and laughing. There was also a Japanese sweets stall for the even younger, who were demanding imported delicacies faster than the vendor could sell them.

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Silent Auction: Music and Art at NYCoo gallery

Nobuko Miyazaki played softly during bidding and conversation

NYCoo gallery held an evening of music and fine art to accompany their silent auction on 19 March. There was a bustling mixture of artists and aficionados and I met/hassled a lot of interesting people. Again, I deplored my 日本語 deficiency and there were so many questions I wish I could have asked. じゃおない, as I believe they say in Osaka.

All forms were available for bidding, from large oil paintings to tiny sculptures. Among the teapots, lanterns, and ceramics, exquisite antiques mingled seamlessly with modern Japanese craftsmanship. My sister and I went on an imaginary shopping spree where we could casually outbid anyone for one-of-a-kind ceramic dishes or paintings of cigar-smoking rabbits (more on that in a moment).

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Toshiko Tochihara exhibition at NYCoo Gallery

My first venture into the Japanese culture scene here in New York was an incredibly fortuitous one.

NYCoo gallery began in 2000 as a web gallery, and then as a physical space in Midtown Manhattan in 2004. I learned at the premier that the gallery’s work has surprised even long-time visitors, critically selecting artists and generating an incredibly diverse exhibition history (see their online gallery).

Their most recent location is Chelsea, in an elegant space arranged ideally for viewing work. Even during the bustling premier, everyone could talk and move comfortably. This was of major benefit in their current exhibition – Toshiko Tochihara – as the scale of each work was a major factor in how the audience related to them. In fact, there was so much anima within the deceptively raw paintings that I have to jump straight into my impressions as they occurred during my viewing.

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NYCoo gallery / Kinokuniya bookstore

I had an unexpectedly brilliant Friday, with a gallery exhibition and premier, plus my first visit to otaku-haven in NYC, Kinokuniya.

My review of Toshiko Tochihara‘s beautiful exhibition at the chic NYCoo Gallery is just waiting for the film to be processed and the pictures – hopefully – ready to give a sense of the atmosphere. The work on display caught my imagination so much and the atmosphere was so welcoming that the experience deserves a higher quality post than my usual. So, to be continued…

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