Review: Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York @ Japan Society
Aya Uekawa’s uniquely stylized figurative paintings were a highlight of the show. (courtesy Aya Uekawa)
I went last week to the newly open exhibit at Japan Society entitled “Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York”. The last two exhibits I had seen at Japan Society were both amazing: Murakami’s “Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture” exhibit (April 8 – July 24, 2005), which caused quite a ruckus among many in the Japan art world, and the safe but equally excellent “Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan,” which was on display from March 28th to June 17, 2007.
This latest exhibit is in the vein of the former, and I think attempts to serve a similar role for Japan Society as did the “Little Boy” exhibit: provoke while at the same time solidifying Japan Society’s place as one of the preeminent venues in NYC for Japanese contemporary art. The problem is that the quality is inconsistent.
Some exhibits hit right on target, and showed refinement of ideas and/or technique. Others do not, such as the amusing but not really museum-level drawings of Ayakoh Furukawa’s hamsters in “100 Ways to Torture the Innocent”. Aya Uekawa‘s strangely styled, caricature-like figurative paintings were a highlight, as was Satoru Eguchi’s giant recreation, all in paper, of an artist’s studio which you could walk through. Finally Yuken Teruya’s work was impressive and visually stunning, as usual, using the Japan’s Society’s bamboo garden as an essential part of his contribution to the show.
I think the idea for the show was a good one, but in the end it lacked cohesion and perhaps it was a bit too much to chew on. Some things were great, but nothing stood out or really blew my mind with its ideas or its execution. But Eric Shiner, the curator seems to be doing interesting things and I look forward to Japan Society’s next show.
Filed under: Art, Japan, New York City, NYC Area Japan Resources, Review | 5 Comments