Farce Alert: Art Space Tokyo in Metropolis

Wow. Chin Music Press’ excellent book Art Space Tokyo received an absurd and highly questionable review in the latest issue of Metropolis. Riddled with racial/cultural stereotypes of Japanese and dismissive of the opinion of foreigners involving themselves in Tokyo’s fine art world, it upholds Metropolis’ reputation for stellar journalism. Read it here.

AST editor Ashley Rawlings retorts at length in this infinitely more worthwhile blog post on the excellent AST website. Ashley politely pulls his punches aimed at reviewer C.B. Liddell while eloquently pointing out the numerous stereotypes and gross assumptions made in Liddell’s article.

I’m biased, as I wrote one of the dismissed essays in the damn book, but Liddell’s review strikes me as the work of a college freshman’s stab at homework for Journalism 101. Some striking concepts within:

Popular=Good
Tokyo=Ugly
Japanese =Inherently artistic

Apparently, foreigners are inherently less artistic, and if one is to paraphrase some of Liddell’s earlier work, less cute as well.

The whole review is trite and suffers from a myopic view of culture at large, not to mention a very short-sighted perspective on contemporary art in Japan.

Oh, and there are grammatical errors throughout.

Ian LYNAM
October 21, 2008

6 Responses

  1. Gen Kanai Says:

    Expecting quality from Metropolis is like expecting haute couture from Uniqlo or kaiseki from Jonathan’s.

  2. DB Says:

    Not even that – unless you make some kind of high end British roadster or elite scotch or something, they’re just the kind of people you don’t even want liking your stuff in the first place.

  3. Ian LYNAM Says:

    I don’t expect quality. I do expect some sort of editorial restraint, however.

  4. makkun the knife Says:

    I’ve been lucky enough to view the first draft of this review by C. B. Liddell and can confirm that it was written in Crayola..

  5. M-Bone Says:

    Have to hand it to a guy who can write “magaziney” and “cliquey” in the same paragraph.

    Common trait of bad reviews – rant about the subject of the book while saying almost nothing about the title in question.

  6. BiZhiTu » x men origins wolverine: ART SPACE TOKYO REVIEWED IN METROPOLIS Says:

    [...] Space Tokyo linked to this post from the “META no TAME” blog at Néojaponisme. You can read his response and since the AST blog has no comments function, discussion can be continued on META no [...]