Merry Xmas, me.

Just got interviewed over at Graphic Hug.

December 24, 2008

Late Onset Patriotism

As an American, this excellent post by fellow shitty patriot, American Sam McPheeters acutely captures a sentiment I felt just about two weeks ago as accurately as one could hope to. Hence, I quote it for the world citizenry who read this website:

“For those of us not running for First Lady, it seems safe to call it for what it is: Late Onset Patriotism. For the first time in my adult life, I’m actually proud of my country… Just as important as what we get is what we have been spared; four more years of sadistic fast-food incompetence, grumpy and perky flavored… Yesterday was the opposite of 9/11, almost surely the only such day anyone alive will ever experience. For one night, people across the planet covered their mouths in raw shock – a gesture eerily familiar from 9/11, but tracking to the extreme opposite end of the emotional spectrum. It was as if the Earth team had just won an intergalactic futbol championship. We’re in unknown territory.”

I am unsure if more appropriate and precise words have been spoken about the recent American election. I’m unsure what to do with this newfound sense of hope for millions of Americans. Wait for the new President to bungle, I imagine.

November 21, 2008

Miami Art Basel

I have a video installation in Scion’s show at Art Basel Miami this year. If you are in the Sunshine State and looking for free booze and fine fine art, this is your place in early December. (Today’s Usugrow painting is tomorrow’s Dali!) Friday, 12/05 at the Raleigh Hotel Penthouse from 7PM-10PM. I’ll be there- hit me up!

October 30, 2008

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:

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.

October 21, 2008

Meeting Modernity in Portland

A bit preemptive, but what the hell… Néojaponisme’s exhibition Meeting Modernity will be in Portland from January 8 through February 1st in the new year. The opening will be on January 8 from 6–9PM. I’ll be in attendance (as will Ma and Pa Lynam!), so come on down.

October 19, 2008

Animal Hero Rescue!


Mumbleboy, that suave and dashing genius, has a new art show up in Portland at Black Wagon, the best kid’s store in town!

October 12, 2008

IDEA #331


I have a lengthy essay about Gary Hustwit’s documentary “Helvetica” in the latest issue of Idea, on newsstands now.

October 11, 2008

Lullatone on PingMag

I just had an interview with Nagoya cutesters Lullatone go live on PingMag.

October 8, 2008

42 Views of Tokyo


Marxo and I have work in the upcoming WKTokyoLab show in Los Angeles at Gallery Nucleus. The exhibition is centered around the artwork and writing created for WKTokyoLab’s new book + DVD set, Tokyo.Ten. The exhibition is on November 1st at 7pm.

It’s rare that WKTokyoLab stuff makes it to LA, so for folks curious about some of the more innovative image-making coming out of Tokyo these days, this is a great sampler.

October 8, 2008

Meeting Modernity postcard set

Meeting Modernity postcard set

We had a number of really nice offset postcard sets made for the inaugural Meeting Modernity exhibition. There are 8 thick, full color cards in each set, wrapped in handmade, envelopes made by the tireless folks at Los Angeles’ Young Art gallery. Card sets sell for ¥2200/$22 postpaid. Do us and the gallery a favor and pick up a set.

October 7, 2008

Saaya Irie on Cover of Weekly Playboy

Okay, let me just come out and say it: lately I have been totally wrong on this “junior idol” boom. (For those that just tuned in, the “junior idol” thing is a new Japanese sub-market of the semi-porn industry that puts girls aged 9-17 in very revealing bikinis.) A week or so ago, I wasted everyone’s time whining about a 17 year-old bikini model advertised as “she may be a high school student, but she’s an adult E-cup!” I tried to parry off “cultural relativist” attacks and “the UK is worse” blows, but all of my huffing and puffing was in vain.

I clearly should have saved my outrage: this week, 14 year-old Saaya Irie is on the cover of Weekly Playboy. “She may be a middle-school student, but she’s an adult F-cup.” The text doesn’t say this, but who needs to say anything! This is a 14 year-old girl in a bikini on the cover of a magazine featuring lots of naked women and articles praising prostitution. This is so blatantly wrong that I don’t even need to feign sarcastic contempt. Wait, too late.

Saaya has found support from Weekly Playboy since she was about 12, but this may be her first cover. Nothing like a 14 year-old girl to catch some eyeballs. I mean, why not use her? She’s finally hit 14! Back when I went to middle school, a lot of the girls in my class were being invited to pose in skimpy bikinis for nationally-syndicated men’s magazines from mainstream publishers. You too, right?

Okay, enough crying wolf for today. Feel free to tear apart my insanely puritan outlook in the comments section.

W. David MARX
September 29, 2008

UK closing Obasan Gap

“Now it’s the citizen snoopers: Councils recruit unpaid volunteers to spy on their neighbours”

I can’t tell you the stress it puts on me every second Tuesday having my recycling silently judged by local volunteers at the recycling drop-off point. One time I even got into a Kafkaesque argument over whether aluminium cans should be pre-crushed or not. If that woman had had the authority to call the cops on me for showing up with a bag full of uncrushed cans, she would have done it in a second.

August 30, 2008

Review of PS on Speak Up

Parallel Strokes book review

A comprehensive review of my now sold out book by Ricardo Cordoba is up on Speak Up.

It’s a nice, solid piece of criticism.

August 28, 2008

Criteria of Beauty

Criteria of Beauty

A new competition for Japanese artists who have practiced or studied in the UK. The competition is a form of research into a fluid ‘Japanese community’ in the UK and its ‘alumni’ by curator Helena Capkova. This competition is open to Japanese of any age, including students, graduates, and established artists. The competition is also open to any media including design. The only condition is contemplate the particular task of the competition.

The competition invites artists to assess 12th Century Japanese art theoretician Soetsu Yanagi’s 12 Criteria of Beauty through the creation of original works of art.

More here.

The application for the competition is here.

The deadline is 1/11/2008. There will be small prizes, but the most important thing is to give exposure to people who would not otherwise exhibited in the competitive London art world.

The exhibitions will take place in three places in London in December and January 2008/2009.

Good luck!

August 24, 2008



My first line of skateboards designed for Lesque, Tokyo’s hottest young skate company, is back from the plant. They may be available at your local skateshop if the Lesque boys don’t sell out on tour. Their “Couch Surfing” tour is pretty much the highlight of skate demos and culture in Japan this summer. If you have even the most remote interest in skating, go check them out. Seriously.

Lesque is an interesting company in that they have eschewed the traditional Japanese business model of sucking up to a distributor for manufacturing/funding, choosing to handle management and manufacturing themselves in a similar style to D.I.Y. outfits like Dischord Records.

Recently, one of their two pros, Shinichi Ito, got fed up with the minimal support offered by his supplementary sponsors and told them to take a hike. The result was this video. He is currently on the lookout for new sponsors (though Elwood already snatched him for clothing).

I’ll be briefly introducing the team before their presentation at the next PechaKucha Night at SuperDeluxe on September 24.

August 18, 2008