JAPAN ART READING
What are the top sources of information about Japanese contemporary art?
The Japanese art scene can seem impenetrable to non-Japanese speakers and yet, despite this, there is a growing swell of global interest in contemporary art from Japan. There are several potential reasons:
- Takashi Murakami, who has probably done more than any other artist ever to make contemporary art accessible. He has been astonishingly effective in widening the market for and interest in contemporary art globally;
- the maturing of the art scene in Tokyo which has seen a new group of galleries open in the last fifteen years;
- the wave of interest in manga and video games, spawned in Japan, which has swept across the world;
- the ‘separateness’ of Japan whose monoracial, monolinguistic island society has developed its own cultural idiosyncrasies, creating ripe ground for art with a fresh perspective.
So what is the best way to keep abreast of art news in Japan? We asked lecturer and, since 2002 Japanese Times art critic Matthew Larking, to give his recommendations about what to read to keep up to date.
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1. Tokyo Art Beat – www.tokyoartbeat.com – “gives updates and everything else on the Tokyo art scene”
From the website: “a bilingual art and design events guide which offers event listings, reviews and a shop. The site is updated daily and lists more than 500 current & upcoming art events, at any moment. Smart data organisation with events sorted by media, schedules, and location, as well as event lists like Closing soon, Most popular, Open late, and Free. Available via any PC or mobile phone.”
2. ARTiT – http://www.art-it.jp/e_index.php – “the ARTiT site has a few good interviews and bits and pieces here and there”
From the website: “a visually oriented, all bilingual (Japanese and English) quarterly magazine introducing the latest trends in the contemporary art scenes of Japan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. ART iT features comprehensive interviews with topical artists, in-depth articles on current art-related subjects, and detailed information on exhibitions at top museums and galleries throughout Asia-Pacific.”
3. PING MAG – http://pingmag.jp/ – “now defunct but with some good archives is PING MAG which introduces a few artists who don’t get so much press in the usual places”
4. Japan Times – http://www.japantimes.co.jp/entertainment/art.html “the Japan Times does a full page dedicated to the Arts every Friday, the only newspaper in Japan to do so and many of the writers are very good”
5. Artscape International – http://www.dnp.co.jp/artscape/eng/
From the website: “a monthly English web magazine for readers both inside and outside Japan, but especially overseas, with an interest in Japan’s art scene and artists. With one of Japan’s most comprehensive art databases, Artscape compiles up-to-date information about art events throughout Japan, presenting reviews of exhibitions and articles about art trends and artists.”
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