bye bye kitty!!! at japan society
bye bye kitty!!! at japan society bye bye kitty!!! at japan society
mar 16, 2011

bye bye kitty!!! at japan society

bye bye kitty!!! japan society, new york, USA march 18th – june 12th, 2011

detail of makoto aida’s ‘harakiri school girls’ (2002), part of the ‘bye bye kitty!!!’ exhibition at new york’s japan society image © makoto aida, courtesy of mizuma art gallery

up at new york’s japan society, the exhibition ‘bye bye kitty!!!: between heaven and hell in contemporary japanese art’ features the works of sixteen artists engaging in critical dialogue with tradition and contemporary culture.

curator david elliott reflects: ‘here we see Japanese artists critically examining tradition and history; responding to a threatened natural world; and expressing an unquiet, even nightmarish, consciousness. taken together, these three approaches comprise a quintessentially japanese response to the present and the future.‘

yoshitomo nara’s 2008 photograph is the touchstone work of the exhibition image courtesy of animal new york

many of the works sample from traditional aesthetics: a large triptych by hisashi tenmyouya treats the subject of battle in imagery characteristic of traditional depictions, but illustrates the feral brutality of war rather than the expected lofty religious imagery. likewise, yamaguchi akira’s ‘narita international airport’ adopts the perspective of seventeenth century illustrations of kyoto, but with airplanes circling the skies and the classic misty clouds cast in a yellow suggestive of pollution.

other works include the debut of kohei nawa’s ‘pixcell-deer #24’, a taxidermized deer whose skin has been covered with different sized plastic beads; large-scale paperwork installations by tomoko shioyasu and haruka kojin; and chiharu shiota’s ‘dialogue with absence’, which links a painted wedding dress, pumps, tubing, and red-dyed water.

concepts that repeat across multiple works in the exhibition include a challenging of the ‘kawaii’ (cute) aesthetic of japan, and a treatment of our relationship to the rest of the world, whether in terms of environmental concerns or national boundaries.

yamaguchi akira’s ‘narita international airport’ (2005)

the sixteen artists represented in the exhibition are: kohei nawa, tomoko shioyasu, yamaguchi akira, makoto aida, haruka kojin, chiharu shiota, manabu ikeda, tomoko kashiki, kumi machida, yoshitomo nara, rinko kawauchi, motohiko odani, hisashi tenmyouya, hiraki sawa, miwa yanagi, and tomoko yoneda.

50% of all admission sales for the exhibition will go to japan society’s earthquake relief fund.

chiharu shiota’s ‘dialogue with absence’ (2010) on exhibition in paris image courtesy of galerie christophe gaillard

hisashi tenmyouya’s ‘defeat at the single blow, robust and magnificent feature, gallant and brave behaviour’ (2008)

kohei nawa’s ‘pixcell-deer#24’, a new addition to his beaded taxidermy pixcell series, arrives in new york in preparation for the exhibition images courtesy of dnainfo

  • title of the post and first image seem to be very sarcastic in the face of current events. very sad.

    k says:
  • I agree. The first image seems of bad taste given current events.

    Etsu says:
  • Did Tokyo do the same during 9/11?

    Jack Green says:
  • muy triste imagen ! ; no fué algo inteligente poner a kitty ,no en estos dias dificilisimos para Japón.
    bye bye kitty ? por favor !! es como decir bye bye a toda la comunidad Japonesa que vivió esa catastrofe !

    alex d. says:
  • dear readers,

    the title of the post reflects only the name of the gallery exhibition.
    of course the show was planned long in advance of the events of last week,
    but it is meant as a celebration of japan– the diversity of its artists and their creative thought–
    and so japan society has chosen to continue with the opening, donating,
    as mentioned in the article, 50% of the proceeds to their [url=]earthquake relief fund[/url].

    designboom has many friends and colleagues in japan;
    our [url=]’how to help japan'[/url] page does little to express the sincere depth of our concern
    for all of the people who have been affected by this tragedy.

    art, however, is at the heart of culture,
    and now more than ever is the time to stand with japan in all ways.
    at a time when many gallery shows in japan have understandably
    been postponed, this exhibition gives voice to sixteen japanese artists.
    not a voice that we choose for them, not the voice that the world gives to them,
    but the true voice of sixteen people, in each of whom lives the entirety of japan.

    I hope in this context, you understand our decision to publish this article,
    which is meant above all as an act of solidarity and respect.

    jenny db says:
    Tokyo International Forum Exhibition Hall & Lobby Gallery
    [url=] see art fair tokyo. [/url]

    First, we would like to extend our sincere thoughts and prayers to all those
    who may be suffering due to the effects of the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake
    and Tsunami. As of March 17, the ART FAIR TOKYO Committee
    continues to prepare for the holding of ART FAIR TOKYO 2011 as originally
    scheduled. In association with the Japanese Red Cross Society, we are
    now exploring ways the fair can support recovery efforts.

    The largest art fair in Japan, ART FAIR TOKYO brings together leading
    domestic and international galleries covering a wide range of artworks
    in genres and from periods ranging from antiques to crafts, nihonga, and
    modern and contemporary art. Inaugurating a new sponsorship agreement
    with Deutsche Bank Group, ART FAIR TOKYO 2011 will include 134
    galleries showcasing thousands of artworks. This year will also see the
    introduction of the experimental project “Artistic Practices,” with special
    exhibits of Taro Shinoda and Tadasu Takamine retracing the first decade
    of the 21st century in the Japanese contemporary art scene.

    ART FAIR TOKYO 2011 says:
  • oh well. The Self-righteous are always the first to comment when they get the chance and forget to look at the big picture. And someone just couldn’t stop himself even mentioning 9/11 which is very distasteful. Salute to Japanese art. Godspeed and good karma to the people in these tough times. 🙂

    heinekon says:
  • In a statement to the press Mar 22, Art Fair Tokyo announced it will be postponing its 2011 edition. Scheduled to run Apr 1-3, the fair will not be able to proceed as planned due to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s decision to use the fair venue, Tokyo International Forum, as a shelter for evacuees from the regions affected by the Mar 11 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami.

    Currently the largest international art fair in Japan, Art Fair Tokyo features a mix of contemporary art galleries and those representing other genres such as antiques and fine crafts. At a time when cutting edge contemporary art fairs continue to expand across the globe, the fair has struggled to attract top international galleries and collectors, who have been turned away by Japan’s tepid contemporary art market. This year fair organizers were planning to introduce new initiatives to give the event more contemporary relevance, including a special project, “Artistic Practices,” showcasing artists Taro Shinoda and Tadasu Takamine. The fair had also secured a major new sponsorship agreement with Deutsche Bank Group, and signed up 134 participants.

    The earthquake, tsunami and ensuing crisis at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant led Tokyo art venues to temporarily suspend exhibitions and programming, although in recent days many of these same venues have announced plans to resume normal operations. Art Fair Tokyo organizers had announced their intentions to use the event as a platform to raise donations for disaster relief in association with the Japanese Red Cross Society. They are now looking into rescheduling this year’s event.

    ART FAIR TOKYO 2011 says:

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