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Those who happened to look up at the Tokyo sky last Friday may have been amused — or disturbed — by the sight of a giant human face hovering silently above them. The uncanny hot air ballon is the work of a Japanese artist collective known as 目 (“Mé”), and the black-and-white face printed on it was selected from over 1,000 images submitted online, though their identity has not been revealed.
Titled “Masayume,” which translates to “prophetic dream,” the aerial piece was launched from a park in the Shibuya district as part of the 2021 Tokyo Tokyo Festival organized in advance of the Tokyo Olympics. The games are set to open this Friday despite public opposition largely centered on the possible spread of COVID-19 during the games.
The idea for the piece came to Mé member and artist Haruka Kojin in a dream when she was a student in junior high school.
“Amid our current crisis, which has been going on for more than a year, the clear structure to plan and execute something that has previously supported us is collapsing,” said the collective in its artist’s statement. “Even though we are taking steps to navigate this reality, the feeling of being real in our daily lives is as uncertain and unclear as if it were far into the future.”
“‘Masayume’ will be carried out suddenly and without prior notice nor a clear reason, just like an image a 14-year-old Japanese girl saw in a dream, momentarily disabling the ordinary,” the statement continues.
The work has been met with a mixed reception, ranging from humor to more subversive interpretations. Some have likened Mé’s piece to The Hanging Balloons, a story by the Japanese horror mangaka Junji Ito in which floating heads with metal nooses set out to kill their human doppelgangers.
Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
Unless you were already familiar with Bey’s documentary work, the horror he refers to might not be recognizable to you.
The intention behind the seemingly bizarre combination was, according to Attie, “to give visual form to the shared American and Brazilian reality of nationalistic divisions that defines our political present.”
Nowhere in the museums’ advertising blitzkrieg for the performance were we told to bring our wildfire-season masks as well as our covid masks, and covid masks don’t prevent smoke inhalation.
View work by over 40 experimental artists and collectives from throughout the Americas who contributed to New York’s art scene during the 1960s and ’70s.
Several members of the 2021 cohort identify as artists and storytellers, utilizing the power that art and narrative have on changing ideas of power.
Made possible by a donation from Amazon stakeholder MacKenzie Scott, the award is the single largest in the Bedstuy-based organization’s history.
A donation of two hundred works includes Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, and Donald Baechler.