Andrew Maerkle

  • Chim↑Pom, LIBERTAD, 2017, digital C-print, 49 1/4 × 74 5/8".


    The six artists who make up Chim↑Pom, founded in 2005, have proven to be adept navigators of the contemporary media landscape. To make the timely works in their most recent exhibition, “The other side,” they traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, on the border of the United States. On their first visit, in mid-2016, Chim↑Pom met a local family whose home directly abuts the rusting steel fence separating the two countries and proceeded to build a tree house in the pepper tree overlooking the home. They christened the structure the U.S.A Visitor Center. Then, from December 2016 to January 2017, they returned

  • Fuyuhiko Takata, Ghost Painting, 2015, digital video, color, 2 minutes 44 seconds.

    Fuyuhiko Takata

    Currently enrolled in the doctoral program in painting at Tokyo University of the Arts, Fuyuhiko Takata is among the most fascinating young artists to emerge in Japan in recent years. His works—mainly short, quasi-narrative videos—rely on colorful, handcrafted props, outré humor, and doses of scatology and sadism to upend normative gender roles and their social implications. For example, the early video Japan Erection, 2010, found the half-naked artist using a giant Japanese-archipelago-shaped phallus attached to his crotch to trash his cluttered room. Elsewhere he has appeared as the

  • Sensory Ethnography Lab, Leviathan, 2012, digital video, color, sound, 87 minutes. From Aichi Triennale 2016: “Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan.”

    Aichi Triennale 2016: “Homo Faber: A Rainbow Caravan”

    Launched in 2010, the Aichi Triennale is among the most ambitious of Japan’s plethora of periodic festivals. For its third edition, it will spread across venues not only in the prefectural capital, Nagoya, but also in the cities of Okazaki and Toyohashi, home to significant Brazilian-Japanese populations. Seeking to engage these communities, artistic director Chihiro Minato will feature a strong contingent of Latin American artists, ranging from Mariana Castillo Deball to Laura Lima and Oscar Murillo, alongside notionally local participants like filmmaker Hiroyuki Oki,

  • Mokuma Kikuhata, A Song for Spring 3, 2015, oil on canvas, 8' 6" × 19'.

    Mokuma Kikuhata

    When Takashi Murakami opened his Kaikai Kiki Gallery in 2008, it was natural to assume that the program would be all Superflat all the time. That hasn’t been the case. In particular, over the past year or so the gallery has organized a number of quietly impressive exhibitions for older artists who operate outside Murakami’s usual circuit, from the lauded Mono-ha figurehead Lee Ufan to the underappreciated abstract painter Kazumi Nakamura. The latest entry in this informal series is Mokuma Kikuhata.

    Born in 1935 in Nagasaki, on the island of Kyushu, Kikuhata rose to stardom in the early-1960s

  • Roppongi Crossing 2016: “My Body, Your Voice”

    For the fifth edition of Roppongi Crossing, the Mori Art Museum’s triennial assessment of contemporary Japanese art, a team of international curators will explore themes of identity and diversity, especially as they play out in new-media practices. The exhibition will feature twenty artists and collectives, including Futoshi Miyagi, known for investigating political tensions between Japan and the United States in such works as the multiplatform project American Boyfriend, 2012–, and Mari Katayama, whose photographs and

  • Rei Naito, Face (the joys were greater), ca. 1993–95/2015, magazine, thread, approx. 10 3/4 × 8 × 1 3/4".

    Rei Naito

    In Japan’s current furor over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “reinterpretation” of the postwar constitution’s renunciation of war, it’s hard not to see everything here through a political prism. At a recent protest outside the National Diet Building, one of the speakers, an animator, began his speech by invoking the etymological connection between animation and “life giving” via the root anima. Although his message was garbled in the hubbub of the crowd and by the caprices of the speaker system, the man—I didn’t catch his name—seemed to be suggesting that we assembled protesters were

  • Yokohama Triennale 2014: “Art Fahrenheit 451: Sailing Into the Sea of Oblivion”

    Best known for inserting himself into studiously researched photographic re-creations of masterpieces from the Western canon, artist Yasumasa Morimura will oversee the fifth edition of the Yokohama Triennale. He has selected approximately seventy international artists to address the dialectic of remembering and forgetting—a subject embodied in a new version of Michael Landy’s monumental Art Bin, 2010, a receptacle for failed artworks. With projects (including new efforts by Miwa Yanagi, Akira Takayama, and Masahiro Wada) arranged around such literary themes as“A

  • Miwa Yanagi, Lullaby, 2010, still from a color video, 12 minutes.
    picks February 18, 2010

    Miwa Yanagi

    A group of thirteen-foot-tall portraits of grotesque, half-naked giantesses, Miwa Yanagi’s works in the Japanese pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale may have been widely denounced by critics, but they also confirmed that the artist is unafraid to pursue her own distinctly weird vision. Her current solo exhibition serves as something of an epilogue to Venice.

    In the main gallery, the twelve-minute video projection Lullaby, 2010, centers on two women, one dressed in a frumpy skirt, her face covered by a prosthetic mask creased with wrinkles, the other in lacy white pajamas and the mask of a young

  • View of “Jonathan Meese,” 2009.
    picks September 21, 2009

    Jonathan Meese

    For his solo exhibition “Mishima Is Back,” Jonathan Meese has installed a riot of visual materials celebrating “the dictatorship of art” in the gallery entryway. These include printouts of photographs of the actress Scarlett Johansson, crude pencil drawings, trading cards of famous dictators, provocative phrases painted onto the walls like revolutionary slogans, and a video relaying a manic performance in which Meese, brandishing an antique pistol, forces an older man to make repeated Nazi salutes.

    If this is by now trademark Meese, the exhibition expands on previous work by focusing on the figure