Arturo Silva

  • Nobuyoshi Araki

    While the West has reluctantly reconciled itself to the idea that the Japanese esthetic has two poles, namely the acceptable and distantly austere Zen side, and the gaudy (loosely derived from esoteric Buddhism), it has remained blind to the underbelly: the raucous, seamy, sexual, funky, and gritty, where most people dwell. Nobuyoshi Araki dwells there too, and he documents and celebrates this side of life. At first glance, Araki’s photography is primarily concerned with the denizens of the sex shops from Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. More importantly, however, his work is an accumulation of data.

  • Kishio Suga

    Kishio Suga’s work is concerned with the limits of space and the ambiguities of the liminal. The most striking of these new works is Shui-Naishigaikan (Gathered/Surrounded: Branches Inside, Trunks Outside, 1990). Four large glass boxes arranged in a stepped formation were pierced in their centers by aluminum rods of differing diameters. While it might be seen as an embodiment of pure idea, this work also possessed a mystery comparable to that of the monolith at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. One tries to line up the four rods, but their reflections extend beyond themselves,

  • Shinro Ohtake

    In 1987 Shinro Ohtake mounted a “comeback” show following a three-year absence from the gallery scene, and startled the local art world with the breadth and fertility of his imagination. He exhibited dark, evocative canvases, in which the splattered painterly values frequently assumed as much importance as collaged printed matter (pornography, product wrappers, comic strips, and postcards) and objects (scrap metal,driftwood, and stones). Though the straight paintings exhibited remarkable drawing skills, the work was perhaps too wild, too predictably expressionistic (the dead meat, the howling

  • Arakawa

    Born in Nagoya in 1936, Shusaku Arakawa is perhaps Japan’s most celebrated contemporary artist. Like many others of his generation, he participated in the dynamic Japanese art scene of the ’50s, and then moved to New York. Among Arakawa’s few supporters in Japan was the critic Atsushi Miyakawa. Although Miyakawa is as obscure as Arakawa is prominent, his writings have been quite influential in Japan. Instrumental in introducing contemporary French thought and art informel to the Japanese art community, he had an important formative influence on many artists of his generation. Arakawa’s recent

  • Natsuyuki Nakanishi

    Natsuyuki Nakanishi’s career began in the late ’60s with his membership in the neo-Dadaist group “Taka-Aka-Naka.” After participating in a number of performances, as well as making objects and some paintings, he turned to full-time painting, and this recent retrospective concentrated on his painting of the ’80s. Nakanishi seems an exemplary contemporary Japanese artist. His work is as decorative as it is radical; as public as it is private; as systematic as it is emotional. The viewer is free to revel in the lushness of the colors and their patterns, the viscosity of the paint, while being

  • Takamasa Kuniyasu

    Over the past few years, Takamasa Kuniyasu’s installations have so grown in scale and complexity that they tend to take over their sites. In his latest show Kuniyasu’s bricks and logs filled almost completely the interior of the gallery space, occupied a second-floor office window, and seemed to have spilled out of that window and crawled up the outside walls and along a tree nearby.

    After the initial shock one experiences when coming upon the work, one begins to ponder the painstaking meticulousness of it all. Is Kuniyasu’s work a miniature or a monument? Or is it just great matchstick art (a

  • Isamu Wakabayashi

    Although it is true that the work of Isamu Wakabayashi is hermetic, there are means of access into the apparently closed world of his art. There is, for example, the palpable affection for his materials: he does not so much handle lead as caress (wrap, burnish, bend) it. There is also the peek-a-boo quality to many of the pieces that turns them into a sort of metaphysical amusement park. Fold, flap, wrap, and the viewer cranes, peers, crouches. Many of the pieces resemble boy’s model kits gone astray (or munitions factories gone awry).

    Despite the work’s human scale, it possesses a monolithic

  • Lee U-Fan

    Lee U-Fan was trained in calligraphy, that art of the encounter between the rhythmic (respiration, gesture) and the static (paper, canvas). The greater part of his work is concerned with points and lines. He says that to exist is a point, to live, a line.

    If this sounds like a mix of Asian and Western ideas, it is no accident. Lee is a Korean who has lived most of his life in Japan. He studied philosophy, and his early writings concern Rainer Maria Rilke and Friedrich Nietzsche. His work might evoke the great traditions of Asian landscape and Zen painting, but it is equally aligned with the

  • “Mono-ha”

    Mono-ha (the French translation, Ecole des Choses, always sounds better than something like the “Things group”) flourished as a loosely unified movement from the late ’60s to the mid ’70s and, with the possible exception of the Gutai group, was the most important postwar art movement in Japan. This three-part miniretrospective of Mono-ha featured nine of its leading artists.

    What was it? Well, for example: Lee U-Fan (a Korean) dropped a stone on a plate of glass, and the glass cracked. Nobuo Sekine laid a large plate of polished black stone on a huge column of white sponge, and the sponge half