Posted inOpinion

Sculpted from the Foam: A Kitty in Your Coffee Cup

Crafting delicate leaves or willowy hearts is something of a coffee art standard, but a barista in Japan is sculpting designs that creep out in three dimensions from the coffee foam. Kazuki Yamamoto uses just a pin, a spoon, and infinite patience (and ideally, not allowing for the coffee to get cold) to turn the frothed milk into smiling cats that bound from one cup to the next to bat at goldfish, long-necked giraffes, rabbits hunting carrots, and anime characters.

Posted inArt

The Alchemical Art Innovators of Postwar Japan

Fifteen years in the making, the current Guggenheim exhibition on Gutai presents a groundbreaking spectrum of the art of that group, shaking to its core the notion of the West as the epicenter of contemporary art practices. The show, curated by Ming Tiampo, associate professor of art history at Carlton University, Ottawa, and Alexandra Munroe, senior curator of Asian art at the museum, is titled Gutai: Splendid Playground, an odd sobriquet to describe the annihilating force that birthed the group in postwar Japan.

Posted inArt

The Unnatural Wonders of Japan’s Influential Rinpa Aesthetic

I always consider it fortunate that at institutions like the Metropolitan Museum, exhibitions continue to argue eloquently that art has evolved along manifold trajectories before postmodern discourses recognized it as so. In that vein, one of the highlights of the fall museum season, Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art, which explores a distinctive style that originated in early 17th century Kyoto and thrived well into the 20th century with far-reaching resonance in Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, promises more than an optical feast or a comprehensive academic survey.