Tag Archives: Pop Art

Dr. Wilda Reviews: Chino Aoshima at Seattle Art Museum

7 May

Moi attended the press review for Chino Aoshima: Rebirth of the World at Seattle Art Museum. (SAM) Here are the details:

Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World
May 2 – Oct 4 2015
Asian Art Museum
Tateuchi Galleries

Ms. Aoshima attended the press preview. Moi’s overall impression is a woman who has been seeking solace from a very early age. Here are some excerpts from the material SAM has posted at its site:

Aoshima’s work has undeniably dark images but a positive attitude. There’s no evidence of fear in her art. Her murals, digital prints, and drawings don’t want to escape from society or from the future. Instead, she seems to embrace all possibilities, including a world where the skeletons and ghosts reside alongside the rest of us.
Her work may look like a surreal fantasy. But ask Aoshima, and she’ll tell you she’s showing us the reality that our beautifully chaotic world may be hurtling toward….

Initially, Aoshima created all of her artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Using hundreds of vectors (points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons that can be scaled), she controls her images with precision. She repeatedly uses the same data for such background elements as trees, and she also spends extensive time making modifications in order to preserve the organic curves of her depictions of nature—such as vines. Within Illustrator, she creates original images for most of the major individual elements of a painting, such as the figures. She then layers in colors….

Unlike other Kaikai Kiki artists, Chiho Aoshima doesn’t have formal training in art. She graduated from the Department of Economics at Hosei University and then went to work for an advertising firm, where a graphic designer taught her how to use Illustrator… http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/chiho

Artspace has a succinct biography of Aoshima.

At SAM, Aoshima remarked about her childhood and the feeling that she got visiting cemeteries as well as the effect of the Shinto faith on her world view. Her current artistic inclination was a rebirth of thwarted artistic inclination of her childhood. Artspace says:

Influenced by anime and manga cartoons, Chiho Aoshima stands apart from her peers through her exploration of the dark currents lying beneath Japanese pop imagery. She presents nature at odds with man, girls at odds with traditional gender roles, and visions of renewal after the apocalypse. She says of her practice: “My work feels like strands of my thoughts that have flown around the universe before coming back to materialize.”

Not formally trained in art, Aoshima graduated from the Department of Economics at Hosei University before going to work for the artist Takashi Murakami, who eventually made her a member of his Kaikai Kiki collective…. http://www.artspace.com/chiho_aoshima

See, Timeline for Aoshima http://www.artnet.com/artists/chiho-aoshima/biography

Moi’s impression is that Aoshima is one of the most technically brilliant pop artists working in the contemporary world. Her technique is crisp, precise and engaging. But, and there is a but that most folk either will not notice or care about if they did notice. The but is the overwhelming sadness of her work, which most will attribute to a bleak future promised by technology. Moi listened to her description of her childhood and the fact that cemeteries offered some solace to a lonely child, who has in moi’s opinion, grown into a woman who has never shaken that childhood sadness.

SAM’s exhibit is divided into three sections:

1. An overview of Aoshima’s work over the past 15 years
2. Digital prints
3. Animated Video

The video has so many levels, one must see it a couple of times to really get clues about nuance and the many different levels of expression. Dr. Wilda recommends Chino Aoshima: Rebirth of the World because of its technical brilliance and the singular world view of Aoshima, which one does not have subscribe to in order to appreciate her authentic, for her, expression.

Resources:

Silenci? – Chino Aoshima – YouTube

A clip from the new animation by Chiho Aoshima, made in collaboration with Bruce Ferguson of Darkroom. The piece will premiere as part of “Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World,” which opens on Saturday May 2 at the Seattle Museum of Art’s Asian Art Museum.
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/chiho

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Dr. Wilda Reviews Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at Seattle Art Museum

23 Nov

Moi attended the press viewing of Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at the Seattle Art Museum’s Asian Museum. Here are the details:

Nov 22 2014 – Apr 5 2015

Asian Art Museum

Tateuchi Galleries

If possible, Mr. should be seen in conjunction with Pop Departures:

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

The exhibition takes us beyond the pioneers of Pop and to the work of subsequent generations of artists for whom Pop art has been an inspiration or a vehicle for critique. See works from the 1980s and ’90s by artists such as Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, and Richard Prince. Continue with work made in the era of digital markets and social media by Margarita Cabrera, Josephine Meckseper, and Ryan Trecartin….http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/pop

According to the Seattle Art Museum’s description of Mr.’s exhibit:

Live On, which is organized by SAM, presents Mr.’s art of the past 15 years and is his first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum. Born in 1969, Mr. is a protégé of Takashi Murakami, internationally acclaimed icon of Japanese Pop art. He borrowed the name “Mr.” from “Mister Giants” (Shigeo Nagashima), the superstar clean-up hitter of the postwar Yomiuri Giants baseball team…                                                                                            http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/liveon

Lehmann Maupin has some very good information about Mr.

Mr. (b. 1969, Cupa, Japan) graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Sokei Art School in Tokyo in 1996. Mr.’s work simultaneously studies and partakes in otaku, the Japanese “cute” subculture marked by fetishistic obsession with young adolescents, technology, sci-fi literature, manga, anime, and video games. Like his fellow Superflat artists, Mr. approaches the visual language of manga as a means of examining Japanese culture at large, fusing high and low forms of contemporary expression. Mr.’s paintings play with the hyper-sexualized portrayal of young women prevalent in otaku; know in Japan as “lolicon,” the term is originally shorthand for “Lolita Complex” but in usage has come to refer to the otaku preference for explicitly fictional young girls.

Mr. has exhibited internationally in both group and solo exhibitions including the acclaimed 2005 exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture, Japan Society, New York; RED HOT: Asian Art Today from the Chaney Family Collection, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas (2007); KRAZY! The Delerious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2008); Animate, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2009); Exhibition Kyoto-Tokyo: From Samurais to Mangas, Grimaldi Forum (2010); Leeahn Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2010). Mr.’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections worldwide. The artist lives and works in Saitama, just outside of Tokyo, Japan.           http://www.lehmannmaupin.com/artists/mr

Related:

Japanese Artist Mr. – Metamorphosis at Lehmann Maupin …

► 5:44► 5:44

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyPnFZZjtA

Sep 22, 2012 – Uploaded by VernissageTV

http://www.vernissage.tv | Japanese Artist Mr.: Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings / Lehmann Maupin Gallery ..

Aric Chen wrote an insightful analysis of Mr. in Art Crawl’s Candy Man:

Mr. is a Japanese artist whose cartoonish paintings and sculptures in bubblegum colors derive from Japan’s otaku (or “geek”) subculture. As such, he shares the otaku obsession with anime, manga comic books and what many have described as their unhealthy infatuation with little girls….

Mr.’s images are compellingly saccharine portraits of innocence taken to unsettling, seductive extremes. Admitting to a Lolita complex—though he says he doesn’t act on it—he maintains the line between fantasy and reality by realizing his fantasies through the medium of his work. All the while, his subject matter is both intensified and chastened, its dark desires illuminated by a sheen of cuteness, posing questions about the limits of acceptability, the boundlessness of imagination and the perversions hidden within all cultures, whether otaku or otherwise….   http://www.hintmag.com/artcrawl/artcrawl.php

See, Mr. ‘Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings’ at Lehmann Maupin Gallery (Video)       http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vernissagetv/mr-metamorphosis-give-me-_b_1907858.html

Live On is a sample of the past 15 years or so of Mr.’s work. It seemed to be divided into three periods. The first period was when Mr. was a struggling student artist and then working under the tutelage of Takashi Murakami. He explores themes of otaku culture, and lolicon themes using an anime/manga style. The periods flow into each. Mr. first period is typified by “Making Things Right” which depicts an uprising. This work is interesting because Mr. used scraps of canvas from Murakami to piece together a larger work. He was working as an apprentice and didn’t have much money.

Another period began in 2011 in response to the tsunami and nuclear accident. He mentioned that he explored themes of garbage when he was a student, but moved on. Japan and Italy were compared by Mr. because both suffered poverty after WWII. He mentioned the movement of Italian artists who explore the theme of garbage to express what is going on in their environment. See, In Naples, artists use irony to tackle festering trash crisis. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Living-Green/2008/0506/in-naples-artists-use-irony-to-tackle-festering-trash-crisis According to Mr. the garbage installation at SAM just came out of him. He ties the garbage period to current work by including newer work in the installation. Frankly, moi is glad Mr. got garbage out of his system and will hopefully move on.

The third period is a period of an artist refining his technique and using quality materials. There is a degree of control and intentionality in his exploration of anime/manga. The works can be appreciated on many levels and are more than just bright colorful pictures of girls. An element of Japanese culture which many will never explore or know is hiding there in plain view.

Mr. mentioned Hatsune Miku which is a virtual character during question period. Huffington Post reported about this trend in Meet Hatsune Miku, The Sensational Japanese Pop Star Who Doesn’t Really Exist:

Miku is a mascot for a product: a voice synthesizing software, through which users can write songs. In 2007, a company called Crypton Future Media released the software for purchase, built using Yamaha’s Vocaloid technology as well as a database of samples recorded by a voice actress. As with most of Japan’s entities (including the country’s police agencies), this offering came with a cartoon mascot. She was 16, liked pop music, and wore her hair in long pigtails. She was Hatsune Miku, a name that translates to “first sound of the future….” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/08/hatsune-miku-letterman_n_5956420.html

One can only wonder if this is the next path for Mr.

Dr. Wilda recommends Live On and if the reader can attend Pop Departures, it will simply enhance the enjoyment of both exhibits.

Resources:

What are Manga and Anime?

http://www.mit.edu/~rei/Expl.html

The Truth Behind What “Otaku” Really Means

http://japaneselevelup.com/the-truth-behind-what-otaku-really-means/

Lolicon: The Reality of ‘Virtual Child Pornography’ in Japan

http://www.academia.edu/3665383/Lolicon_The_Reality_of_Virtual_Child_Pornography_in_Japan

Related:

Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures                                                     https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/dr-wilda-reviews-seattle-art-museums-pop-departures/

Dr Wilda Reviews: Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945 at the Seattle Art Museum                                                                                                                                                                 https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/dr-wilda-reviews-deco-japan-shaping-art-and-culture-1920-1945-at-the-seattle-art-museum/

Dr. Wilda Reviews art exhibit: ‘Hometown Boy: Liu Xiaodong’ at Seattle Art Museum           https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/dr-wilda-reviews-art-exhibit-hometown-boy-liu-xiaodong-at-seattle-art-museum/

Dr. Wilda Reviews: Seattle Art Museum’s ‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’                                                         https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/dr-wilda-reviews-seattle-art-museums-future-beauty-30-years-of-japanese-fashion/

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Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures

12 Oct

Moi usually goes to the press preview of upcoming exhibits at Seattle Art Museum (SAM), but she was unable to attend the press preview for Pop Departures. SAM generously provided moi with tickets to view the exhibit at another time. This was good because moi not only reviewed the exhibit, but got to go on the FREE exhibit tour with other patrons conducted by a SAM staffer. The tour was informative, funny at times because of the I PAD info and double entendres. The tour group was about twenty five to thirty and people seemed to enjoy the tour. Here is information about the exhibit:

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

First, many folk do not think that pop art is art. The Art Story has a very good synopsis of pop art:

Synopsis

Pop art is now most associated with the work of New York artists of the early 1960s such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Claes Oldenburg, but artists who drew on popular imagery were part of an international phenomenon in various cities from the mid-1950s onwards. Following the popularity of the Abstract Expressionists, Pop’s reintroduction of identifiable imagery (drawn from mass media and popular culture) was a major shift for the direction of modernism. The subject matter became far from traditional “high art” themes of morality, mythology, and classic history; rather, Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, in this way seeking to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art. Perhaps owing to the incorporation of commercial images, Pop art has become one of the most recognizable styles of modern art.

Key Points

By creating paintings or sculptures of mass culture objects and media stars, the Pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between “high” art and “low” culture. The concept that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art may borrow from any source has been one of the most influential characteristics of Pop art.

It could be argued that the Abstract Expressionists searched for trauma in the soul, while Pop artists searched for traces of the same trauma in the mediated world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large. But it is perhaps more precise to say that Pop artists were the first to recognize that there is no unmediated access to anything, be it the soul, the natural world, or the built environment. Pop artists believed everything is inter-connected, and therefore sought to make those connections literal in their artwork.

Although Pop art encompasses a wide variety of work with very different attitudes and postures, much of it is somewhat emotionally removed. In contrast to the “hot” expression of the gestural abstraction that preceded it, Pop art is generally “coolly” ambivalent. Whether this suggests an acceptance of the popular world or a shocked withdrawal, has been the subject of much debate.

Pop artists seemingly embraced the post-WWII manufacturing and media boom. Some critics have cited the Pop art choice of imagery as an enthusiastic endorsement of the capitalist market and the goods it circulated, while others have noted an element of cultural critique in the Pop artists’ elevation of the everyday to high art: tying the commodity status of the goods represented to the status of the art object itself, emphasizing art’s place as, at base, a commodity.

The majority of Pop artists began their careers in commercial art: Andy Warhol was an highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Their background in the commercial art world trained them in the visual vocabulary of mass culture as well as the techniques to seamlessly merge the realms of high art and popular culture….                                                                                                                                                     http://www.theartstory.org/movement-pop-art.htm#

References:

How Pop Art plundered consumerist culture

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/7d7e2344-3bbd-11e3-9851-00144feab7de.html#axzz3FzFKVNcD

Lead with Interactive®

http://www.popart.com/

Pop-Art Movement

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/pop-art.htm

Second, one thing struck moi is the role of women and the use of women in the pop art movement. E-flux really summarizes the gender dominance:

The exhibition focuses on three decisive artistic as well as social and economic moments. It opens with key works from the 1960s by artists who first defined our understanding of pop—including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha, and Tom Wesselmann. Their interventions in the very fabric of commercial imagery and consumer goods came in reaction to the buoyant consumer optimism of the post-war period. They prompted an engagement with that media world, its materials and techniques, and they negotiated the status of the artwork within art history and a larger market economy.

The exhibition then considers the criticality towards photography in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when growing deregulation led to changes in the media industry and a merging of advertisement and entertainment. Artists such as Robert Heinecken, Barbara Kruger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Richard Prince appropriated commercial images to craft messages that exposed the quiet seduction of the photographic image in establishing norms and shaping identities.

With the shift into a digital era, consumer culture has again undergone profound changes with large volumes of purchases conducted online. The critical approaches by contemporary artists such as Josephine Meckseper, Elad Lassry, and Rachel Harrison focus on the aesthetics of product display. Much of their work is predicated on making the easy consumption of objects strange, and forcing us to look slowly, carefully at a time when our consumption of images seems increasingly accelerated. In this brave new world, the status of the artwork appears more precarious than ever….http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/pop-departures/

The exhibit shows the art of women in the 80s and 2000s. The 60s were about the men with a little help from wives and girlfriends. Women were objects just like a can of Coke.

References:

Where Are the Great Women Pop Artists?

http://www.artnews.com/2010/11/01/where-are-the-great-women-pop-artists/

Pop Art: 8 artists every designer should know

http://www.creativebloq.com/art/pop-art-8133921

Regarding the technique of producing the art – well, it depended upon the artist. Some, like Lichtenstein were precise in his Ben-Day process, others like Warhol who used for example, the blotted-line technique, which was not as precise. Pop art is accessible to many because it harkens to the familiar which is found every day in advertising. Whether pop art is art that an individual likes or a gigantic inside joke really does depend upon the eye of the beholder.

Other reviews:

The Power of Pop Art at Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures

http://www.seattlemet.com/arts-and-entertainment/culture-fiend/articles/the-power-of-pop-art-at-seattle-art-museums-pop-departures-october-2014

Pop Departures

http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/pop-departures/

Dr. Wilda gives Pop Departures a thumbs up.

Dr. Wilda also recommends: City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India

Aug 30 2014 – Feb 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/citydwellers

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