File under: Assorted

A whole passel of designey news from Neoland.

First:
suzunohicafe
Ever the modest gentleman, our guy Matt Treyvaud’s awesome wife Chie Yoshimura has opened a lovely new cafe in Yokohama. Go visit. Eat something. Admire the logo.

Second:

coasters31
Dentsu Canada shot over samples of the Sapporo beer coasters using the Pattern Pattern series of pattern designs from Néojaponisme this week. They look great! Thanks guys!

Third:
buttons4
Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the Tokyo debut of Meeting Modernity. As a little fun giveaway, I designed and made a bunch of sets of Néojaponisme buttons for opening attendees. If you are interested in procuring a set, feel free to get in touch.

Ian LYNAM
August 13, 2009

Patrick Macias lecture at Temple University

Macias
Néojaponisme contributor Patrick Macias is giving a lecture at Temple University Japan, Azabu-juban Campus on March 13 entitled “Otaku Power – Trivia/Desire and Transformation”. The lecture will go from 6:30pm to 8pm.

Ian LYNAM
March 11, 2009

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

Animal Hero Rescue!

Idea

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

Ian LYNAM
October 12, 2008

Morgan Geist

mg_gfx

I know my involvement with Neojaponisme seems random at best. but just stick with me here. I recently left the ML hive to go out an interview the musician Morgan Geist. He has nothing to do with Japan, nor does this interview. I just happened to be a fan, and this might be my first piece of actual journalism. The article was lovingly edited by Nik Mercer of Anthem Magazine, as the actual interview spanned over hours. Morgan Geist has some interesting things to say and is worth the read if you like electronic music, or just reading about being an active musician, producer, label manager, and more.

Anthem Magazine, Morgan Geist interview

Trevor SIAS
September 29, 2008

Tokyo Art Beat 4th Anniversary

I’ll be Djing the TAB 4th anniversary shindig while mega-homey Shane Lester VJs. Should be a fun time. Print out the official TAB page about it to get a discount at the door.

Ian LYNAM
September 23, 2008

Idea #330

Hot off the presses: I wrote an essay on the film “Beautiful Losers” for the latest issue of Idea.

There is also a glowing review of Néojaponisme contributor Ed Fella‘s recent exhibition in Australia by Dylan Rainforth, as well.

Ian LYNAM
August 8, 2008

ELSEWHERE...

While I was in Berlin and Paris, PingMag published a version of an article that I wrote about Kinya and Kao Hanada, a.k.a. Mumbreeze. If you have a chance, hit up Nagi Shokudo in Shibuya to see their current show.

If you have vegan homies visiting Tokyo, Nagi is my pick for the absolute best vegan food in Tokyo. It is also the cheapest and made by the raddest people.

While I am no longer a vegetarian, I tend to eat veggie around half of the time. I watched my previous fave veg restaurant, Ecru in Tama-Plaza, go under due to lack of patronage. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen with Nagi. They are in Shibuya, so it’s doubtful that rent is that cheap. Go there. Eat something. They do massive lunch and dinner specials where you will be stuffed to the gills for under ¥1000. And it’s DELICIOUS! They have an awesome drink menu and an English/Japanese zine library, to boot.

They also have an amazing shop section where you can buy books on off-kilter cultural topics like the history of elevators in Japan, zines from all over the world, and some of the best music coming out of the Japanese indie pop scene today.

Ian LYNAM
July 26, 2008

psychedelic ivy-covered familiars attack shibuya! then harajuku!

Mumbreeze @ Nagi Shokudo

Mumbreeze are Mumbleboy (Kinya Hanada), a Japanese contemporary artist living and working in Portland, Oregon, and his wife Kao Hanada, a jill-of-many-trades. They have crafted a new exhibition that will debut at Nagi Shokudo, Shibuya’s foremost vegan restaurant and exhibition space for an exhibition that opened on the 30th of June. (Note that Nagi Shokudo is a restaurant and not a gallery, so there will be no official opening, but the artists will be there often during the duration of the show.)

Please do come check it out and also enjoy the delicious food while you’re there! Nagi is a wonderful, sunny place full of ‘zines, great art, and awesome folks! Nagi’s proprietor, Oda-san, will be the subject of an upcoming profile on Néojaponisme. Oda-san has been involved in the Tokyo music scene for a number of years, publishing his zine, Map, and running a really interesting record label, Compare Notes. Compare Notes has put out a ton of great albums, including releases by Gellers, Popo, and Lake. Oda-san also organizes the occasional music festival and solo live event for foreign musicians (Tara Jane O’Neil, Howe Gelb, M. Ward, and others).

Oh, and he cooks the best vegan food in Shibuya, shutting out a handful of competitors in both flavor and price.

Kao @ WALL

Kao Mumbreeze also has a small exhibition at HP France and HaNNa’s WALL space in LaForet in Harajuku that is well worth stopping by to check out.

Ian LYNAM
July 1, 2008

sticky, messy, and sweet

Sticky

hpgrp gallery New York presents “Sticky, Messy, and Sweet”
May 23rd, 2008 – June 21st, 2008

It seems these days that Japanese art is hot or new or one of the next great things. Murakami’s enormous retrospective exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is an obvious milestone but the range of group shows and smaller exhibitions in galleries through out the city in the past year or two featuring art by Japanese artists have grown exponentially. Curator and Little Cakes gallerist Hanna Fushihara Aron presents her perspective on an under recognized faction of Japanese artists.

“Sticky, Messy, and Sweet” focuses on a particularity found not only in contemporary Japanese art but also in its culture where at first glance things may look candy colored sweet but there are other layers and depths which are opposite to the stereotypically orderly and clean image that outsiders have of Japan. The country being both historically xenophobic and self-conscious has the tendency to hide the unkempt, obsessive, or perverted underbelly. As one example, many have not heard about the growing number of young homeless in Japan. As seen in a recent NHK (Japan’s PBS) documentary, teenage runaways use “Manga Kissa” or “Manga Cafes” as cheap places to sleep overnight. The tiny rooms normally used to surf the net or sit and read comics offer only a lounge chair to sleep sitting upright in. During the day these kids might wear Hello Kitty bottled perfume to hide their unwashed body odor and sport their one and only in style outfit but at night they go back into the world of shadows. Another example can be seen in Mike Mills’ documentary “Does your soul have a cold?” which follows five people living with depression in Japan, a nation where the word for depression has only started to be known widely for less than ten years. Anyone “sick” should not be seen. Anyone with a hint of the sniffles should wear a face mask to protect others from getting sick.

This is not to say that this show is about depressing subject matter. On the contrary, the show is brightly colored and swirls with emotions and spontaneity. The references made were to give an idea of “What is shown widely” and “What is not shown as widely” especially when it comes to what is representative of Japan. “Sticky, Messy, and Sweet” shows other existences and experiences contrary to the slick and commodified or cutesy beyond belief. Although some the participants have graduated from prestigious art schools both in Japan and the United States, the others are more self-taught and could be referred to as being somewhat “Otaku”, fixated on anime or manga or on any other hobby, which in and of itself labels them to be outside the masses.

Some of the artwork in this show physically represents all three adjectives in the title; some a combination of two. Ai Tsuchikawa’s obsessive drawings filled with miniature fishy shmoo characters, rainbow flares and wirls are drawn on taped together pieces of paper, her installations of found objects covered in plastic “slime” epitomizes the idea of “Sticky, Messy, and Sweet”. Yui Kugimiya’s thick and goopy oil paintings cut and sectioned by colorful strands of yarn are gross and cute at the same time. Mumbleboy (pictured above) and Reiko Tada use craft to get sticky and messy. Gunji Yusuke uses scotch tape to put together little plastic bubbles holding drawings as if they were idea bubbles. Chie Fukao uses what is immediately around her like her own bed sheets to make an imaginary rabbit character’s resting area. Akinori Shimodaira uses simple, translucent brush strokes to create his dreamy, blurry, paintings.

With this show, the curator hopes to give a glimpse of another side of the Japanese psyche; one that goes beyond the polite exterior. She hopes to delve deeper and explore the more untamed.

hpgrp gallery New York
32-36 Little West 12th Street, 2nd Floor
(Between 9th Avenue & Washington Street)
New York, NY 10014
212-727-2491

http://www.hpgrpgallery.com

Gallery Hours – Tue-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm

Ian LYNAM
May 21, 2008

BLOWING UP THE SPOT

Cold-blooded Killers

Néojaponisme contributor Dwayne Dixon and amazing vegan chefs Yoyo and Yuka offer up the tastiest vegan lunch in Tokyo on Wednesdays at Vegie Shokudou, a renegade restaurant inside of a bar in Koenji. Note that the restaurant operates ONLY ON WEDNESDAYS. There is a break period from 3pm-5pm, and the restaurant will be closed. Eats start at 1PM.

Directions here.

Ian LYNAM
March 24, 2008

Inui Akito in Shincho

Néojaponisme contributor Inui Akito has a short story called “鮒(フナ)のためいき” (“Sigh of a Crucian Carp”) in the March 2008 issue of esteemed Japanese literary journal The Shincho Monthly 『新潮』.

Last October, I translated two of Inui’s very short pieces “Deep Within the Island” and “Cutting Off a Piece of the Sky” for the site. He is the founder of Tokyo theatre group Crack Iron Albatrossket (Tetsuwari). (Enjoy this skit “Cock the Cock” from their DVD).

W. David MARX
February 11, 2008