by Johannes Goransson on Sep.21, 2011
I usually don’t love museums because everything seems so hygienic and stabilized, but I loved the Tokyo Museum of Modern Art exactly because it didn’t give the canonically stable view of Modern Art. The museum tended to juxtapose modern Japanese art with modern western art, as if to show that Japanese artists were part of modernity, were participating in modern art. But the results were much more interesting (and perhaps this is indeed what the curators meant to accomplish), as the modern Japanese art not only of course was influenced by modern art from Europe but also the traditional japanese art that had influenced the modern european art. And modern art, which – back to Greenberg, Adorno etc – is supposed to be our defender against kitsch; but orientalism is at the heart of kitsch. So those are a few of the things I thought about when I walked through the beautiful Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. But mostly I just loved the art.
Here are a couple of my favorites:
Harada Naojiri’s “Bodhisattva Riding the Dragon”:
And Fujit Tsuguharu’s “Five Nudes” (fascinating how the cat seems to be the “punctum” of this picture, while the women seem like overexposed photographs):