Posts Tagged ‘nawa kohei’

This summer, and through January, the Japanese galleries at the Metropolitan Museum feature an exhibit entitled “Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art.” I was excited for the idea of a Rinpa exhibit – bright colors, silver and gold, things in the style of the most famous works by Sôtatsu and Kôrin. Seeing the Matsushima screens in DC last summer was a special treat, and I was excited for more of that here in New York.

Perhaps I should start by talking a little bit about what Rinpa is. Unlike many schools of painting in Japanese art history, such as the Kanô school or the Tosa school, in which artists trained directly under masters from that school, and solidly identified themselves as belonging to that school, “Rinpa” is quite a bit looser. The word Rinpa (琳派) literally means something like “in the style of [Kô]rin,” referring to Ogata Kôrin (1658-1716), whose style, techniques, themes and overall approach the Rinpa artists sought to emulate. Some Rinpa artists may have considered themselves to be followers of Kôrin “in spirit,” or to be working “in the style of Kôrin,” but for the most part, Rinpa is a term applied roughly, loosely, to those artists who art historians identify as producing these types of works. Ironically, or amusingly, Kôrin, in fact, was emulating the style and themes of Tawaraya Sôtatsu and Hon’ami Kôetsu, who were active in the very early years of the 17th century, about 50 years before Kôrin was born. Works by Sôtatsu and Kôrin focused on classical (read: Heian period) yamato-e (“indigenous” “Japanese” painting) influences, rather than the Chinese-inspired styles used heavily by the Kanô and other schools; they used a lot of bright colors, a lot of gold and silver, and little black ink outline; they often made reference to classical themes, whether relatively directly, by depicting characters or scenes from Heian period stories such as the Tale of Genji, or indirectly through the use of flowers and other imagery. Rinpa works also made use of such imagery for purely decorative purposes, employing patterns and concerns of composition with a particular eye to pure aesthetics; importantly, also, Rinpa is one of the few styles or movements in traditional Japanese art which extends beyond one medium (e.g. painting), extending into calligraphy, lacquerwares, ceramics, and the like as well. This particular exhibition focuses almost exclusively on paintings and a few woodblock-printed books, but, drawing upon the legacy of Hon’ami Kôetsu and Ogata Kenzan (Kôrin’s brother), who are both known more for their calligraphy and ceramics than for painting, the movement certainly includes a wide range of types of objects. I have a friend who specializes in Rinpa, and who I’ve been seeing frequently at the Metropolitan the last few weeks – so, my apologies to him if my explanation is too simplistic, or omits any key points.

I wish that more of my exhibition reviews could comment more heavily on the narrative the exhibit tells, the way it is laid out, the way it is organized and presented. Though I’ve never studied exhibition design formally, I find these sorts of things fascinating. Plus, it makes for a better post, a more organized post, which comments on the exhibition itself, rather than on the individual pieces contained within. But, sometimes we find we are presented with exhibits that, if they have a narrative, or a logic of organization, they are not very obvious about it. And so, there is little to comment on.

Rinpa can be really wonderful. But, it can also get overwhelming quite easily. Like getting templed-out in Kyoto. Each one is beautiful, and wonderful, and amazing, but see too many at once, and they all just sort of blur together. After the fifth or sixth screen painting of birds & flowers or classical themes, I was finding it difficult to sustain my interest. Mind you, this is not a criticism of the exhibition, so much as just me coming to recognize or realize where my interests lie. After passing by numerous true masterpieces that I’m sure would have been fascinating and eminently gorgeous for someone else, but which simply didn’t grab me (for whatever reason), I found a set of pieces that absolutely did. I felt I could have stood there forever. So entranced was I by their beauty that I am devoting an entire blog post to this set of three hanging scroll paintings by Sakai Hôitsu. Keep an eye out for that post in coming days.

Of course, there are still plenty of other beautiful works in the exhibition, starting with the Pix-Cell Deer sculpture by Nawa Kôhei. I’m not positive how this relates to Rinpa, really, but it’s a gorgeous, and fun, piece, and all the more attractive for the way it is displayed at the Metropolitan. This is the same piece which not so long ago was on display at Japan Society, as part of the exhibition “Bye Bye Kitty.” I guess someone at the Met liked it so much that he saw to it that the museum acquire the sculpture once “Bye Bye Kitty” was done. Of course, I cannot complain or criticize with the way it was shown at Japan Society, but the way it is lit here, the glass, acrylic, and crystal spheres which encase this taxidermied deer sparkle and shine in the light. The deer, furthermore, is situated between several folding screen paintings, each covered in gold foil, which provide an elegant and beautiful backdrop for viewing the piece.

Most of the exhibition, however, is devoted to paintings. As beautiful as any of these pieces are in reproduction (here on the computer screen), I never cease to be astonished to rediscover how much more beautiful they are when viewed in person. Digital images cannot relate the textures of pigments on a ground, nor properly the scale of a piece. If you do not spend much time in museums, I invite you to go and make a visit. Pick a painting and spend some time with it. Look closely at the textures of pigments and of the blank areas of paper or silk, and look at how they interact. There is something truly wonderful about seeing a work in person, and, if you get the opportunity, to see it without any glass or anything else between you and the artwork.

An anonymous composition attributed to followers of Ogata Kôrin was one such work. Though not the most colorful piece, perhaps even downright drab, when looking at it in person, all the fine details of the differing colors and materials and how they are applied, come out. Looking purely at color and pattern, it is a pretty monochromatic (or monotonous) piece. But add texture into the mix, and it is actually a rather vibrant, complex artwork.

With its flowing river and dense composition of large trees in the foreground, it reminds me of one of Kôrin’s most famous works, a pair of folding screens depicting Red and White Plum Blossoms, which has been designated a National Treasure. The black stream with hints of gold in this work seems almost guaranteed to be drawing upon, or to be inspired by, that earlier Kôrin work. Tarashikomi, the watery color-bleeding effect characteristic of Rinpa, is used in a controlled way here, to give texture and character to rocks and tree trunks, while flecks of gold – not full squares of gold foil, but just scattered flecks – suffuse the scene.

Suzuki Kiitsu’s “Morning Glories” (asagao) is perhaps one of the most famous screen paintings in the Metropolitan’s collection of Japanese art. Frankly, I think it pales in comparison to the Yatsuhashi (Eight-Plank Bridge) and Irises screen by Kôrin (which will be on display come September), in terms of its fame, but nevertheless, the museum takes great pride in this piece, and I don’t blame them. In some ways, this piece strikes me as the perfect example of the decorative Rinpa aesthetic. It alludes to deeper meanings through the simple presence of the flowers, which imply resonances to various classical poems and stories that feature morning glories, but it is also very strongly (purely) decorative. The flowers do not grow straight up, limited by any effort to produce a realistic sense of space, or a setting in which the content of the painting takes place; rather, they twist across the gold-backed planes of the screens to produce a pattern that is decorative and aesthetically beautiful in its composition. The juxtaposition of deep blues and greens against a bright gold background, and the pattern in which they are arranged, reminds one of the aforementioned Kôrin Yatsuhashi/Iris screens, and of Kôrin’s Irises screen held by the Nezu Museum in Tokyo, both of which are among the most commonly seen examples, in for example art history survey textbooks, of the decorative attitude or style of the Rinpa aesthetic.

A smaller, darker screen of the same motif (morning glories) elsewhere in the exhibit, painted by Tawaraya Sôri, provides an interesting contrast. Sôri’s screen is short and wide, looking like something that would be put on a desk, or displayed in an alcove, rather than serving as a room divider or decorative backdrop as Kiitsu’s full-size screens might have. Sôri’s composition is also more restrained, leaving a lot more open space, and making the flowers seem more like accents, almost, rather than the main subject of the composition.

The exhibit also included a number of woodblock printed books reproducing designs by Ogata Kôrin, Sôtatsu, and others. The books are rather limited in their ability to reproduce subtleties of shading, and include limited color (in order to keep costs down); thus they are certainly not the most attractive art objects, as compared to proper paintings. Yet, they do have their appeal. And, perhaps more importantly, they have great historical significance. Though the gallery labels fail to discuss this at all, these books would have served as guides or inspiration for artists trying to understand how to paint in the Rinpa style (or how to paint, period), and would also have served to provide commoner consumers with the opportunity to see and appreciate Rinpa paintings. Of course, the books cannot be taken as an accurate reproduction of the paintings, not by a long-shot, but for the average guy on the street in 19th century Japan, I suppose it’s better than nothing. Including these books here is, in terms of exhibit design and concept, I think, a real plus point. It takes the exhibit beyond being a discussion rooted purely in artistic style and technique, and beyond simply providing the museum visitor with something pretty to look at, and takes it into the realm of discussing actual historical context and impact. How did people know about, or experience, Rinpa art? For most people, it was through books like these, since the actual paintings were very expensive, and were of course quite limited in quantity. This aspect of the role of the books as painting guides is especially important for Rinpa, since few Rinpa artists studied directly under other Rinpa artists; I don’t know the historical details of whether this holds true for any particular artist, but it is easy to imagine someone being either self-taught, or studying under a Kanô, Tosa, or ukiyo-e painting master, and then looking at these books for inspiration, to start deviating from their master’s themes and motifs, and to start producing Rinpa works.

Finally, a set of a different kind of woodblock printed books are displayed in the print room towards the end of the exhibition. Kamisaka Sekka’s three-volume set entitled Momoyogusa (百々世草), or “Flowers of a Hundred Worlds”, is so dense with color and design that I thought each page was hand-painted; that these were unique, handpainted books. In fact, they are mass-produced woodblock printed books, albeit very expensive, high-end ones, with deep colors and extensive use of silver and gold. The first time I heard the name Kamisaka Sekka, it was attached to a hand-drum he designed (he designed the lacquer box and cloth cover for the drum as well), and so I have always associated him with lacquerwares and the like. However, as it turns out, he was a truly incredible painter. At least one of his paintings, a colorful, charming depiction of the 36 Poetry Immortals (Sanjûrokkasen), will be on display after the September rotation.

It is difficult to display books in an exhibition. The books are, by necessity, under glass, and even if they weren’t, we cannot have visitors touching the books, turning the pages. In this Rinpa exhibit, the Met has rectified this problem by first of all displaying multiple copies of the books, each open to a different page; but, also, by providing touchscreens that allow a visitor to virtually page through every page of all three volumes. Another set of touchscreens in the George Nakashima-furnished room overlooking the Temple of Dendur display pages from another album of Rinpa paintings.

I had the great fortune of a sneak-peek at some of the works that will be going up in rotation in September. I am not sure which pieces are coming down, so if one has the chance, it would probably be best to visit the exhibition at least twice – both over the summer, and after the September change-up. It looks like they’ve reserved some of the most stunning pieces – including the Kamisaka Sekka “36 Poetry Immortals” painting, and one by Sakai Ôho of a maple in autumn – for September. I wish I were going to be able to be here to see them installed in the gallery. However, in the meantime, all of the pieces in the show (for both rotations) can be seen online at the exhibition’s webpage.

Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art is up at the Metropolitan Museum, 1000 Fifth Ave, New York NY, from now until January 13, 2013, with a rotation in mid-to-late September. A catalog for the exhibit will become available in late September as well.

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This is Part 3 of my review of the recent contemporary art exhibition “Bye Bye Kitty” held at Japan Society in New York, March-June 2011. See Part 1 and Part 2 here.


Tenmyouya Hisashi is, along with Yamaguchi Akira, another big name in what might be termed “Neo-Nihonga.” Though he does not work in traditional media (sumi ink, mineral pigments on paper or silk), his subject matter and elements of his style are extremely evocative of conventions in traditional/historical Japanese art.

“Defeat at a Single Blow” (seen here), a triptych of tattooed yakuza/bosôzoku types on tiger, elephant, and crane mounts recalls the triptych schema & “mounts” iconography of Buddhist painting, which the bright colors, martial atmosphere, and gold background (in acrylics, not real gold) recall the kabukimono of the early 17th century, as seen in the Hikone Screen and numerous other paintings of that time. Traditionally, it is bodhisattvas and other Buddhist or Hindu-derived entities who sit on animal mounts – Monju, bodhisattva of wisdom, on his lion, and the bodhisattva Fugen on an elephant are two prominent examples. Yet here, Tenmyouya has moved from the peaceful and enlightened imagery of bodhisattvas to a more martial sensibility.


Ikeda Manabu’s works, like Yamaguchi’s, are fascinating and stunning in their level of detail, “History of Rise and Fall” (seen here) especially so, with its many castle-like roofs and gables, a giant sakura tree twisting around the buildings (or is it the other way around?). Hundreds of tiny samurai, in white silhouette, human-shaped negative spaces against a fully textured background, run and race, climb, battle, and even bicycle over a complicated, twisted landscape that conflates and juxtaposes periods from throughout Japanese (military) history.

The work is done in acrylic paints, mainly, applied not by brush but by pen. The work is massive, easily more than a square meter, but the details are as fine, if not finer, than the average pencil drawing.

I would love posters of this piece, too, though it would be difficult to produce any kind of reproduction that could do it justice without being full-size. The details are just that incredible.

*3D Works

Moving on to the 3D works (and a few more 2D works), Nawa Kohei’s deer is impressive and amusing if only for its absurdity. What nonsense, a taxidermied deer covered in glass spheres. And the pixelization process that Nawa talks about, simulating pixelization by affixing these glass bubbles onto the body of the deer, makes no sense whatsoever. But I will say that the way the room reflects in the spheres, and the way the spheres act as magnifying lenses allowing you to see the deer’s hair in great detail, is really something, and again something you won’t experience in the reproductions.

Nawa was originally going to show an elk, but since they couldn’t logistically get the elk into the gallery, the Society commissioned him to make a smaller version, with a deer. Not that that meant there wasn’t any difficulty.

Machida Kumi is likely the painter in the show whose works least resemble, and least draw upon, [pre-modern & early modern] Japanese art history, yet she is the only artist in the show who works in traditional materials – sumi ink and mineral pigments.

Her works are somewhat cute, but somewhat unsettling. Her figures seem like child robots, with empty glances, strings or wires extending outwards and tiny hands sticking out of the head of one figure. One of the two pieces is titled “Rocking Horse,” though the reasons why remain a complete mystery.

Kojin Haruka is, I believe, the youngest artist in the show. In her piece, “reflectwo“, she arranges silk flowers, hanging from the ceiling, in such a manner that they resemble their own reflection on a non-existent water surface.

Yoneda Tomoko presents us with very plain-looking photos of a place with deep connotative associations and a dark history. The National Military Defense Security Command, or Kimusa, in Seoul, was once a center for torture and interrogation. In Yoneda’s photos, it looks empty, simple and plain, all but totally devoid of any meaning, any aura of any particular use, let alone such a serious and dark use. Today, it is being transformed into an art space.

The catalog for “Bye Bye Kitty” received a strong recommendation from my friend Kathryn over at her “Contemporary Japanese Literature” blog, and I wholeheartedly intended to buy a copy. This is one of the first, and one of the most major, exhibits so far as I know to introduce American audiences to contemporary Japanese art beyond Murakami, particularly of the sort that I love so much, the sort of work done by Aida Makoto, Yamaguchi Akira, and Tenmyouya Hisashi, which draws upon Japanese historical artistic themes and styles, and is colorful and playful, without being really all that connected to the anime/manga/kawaii phenomenon. There is more to Japanese art than Murakami, than anime/manga/kawaii; there is more to Japanese art than the impenetrably abstract, dark, and obscure work of Gutai, Mono-ha, Yoko Ono, and Butoh. And now New York audiences are more aware of that. I had every intention of buying the catalog for this groundbreaking exhibit.

Especially for the essays. I don’t know David Elliott – guest curator, and first director of the Mori Museum – very well, don’t know his writing, and would like to get to know his writing, his ideas. But, for me, a catalog is really about taking home the pieces, the artworks, so that you can look at them again. Essays and artist bios are wonderful, and indeed some catalogs, such as the St Louis Museum’s Nihonga catalog are indeed fantastic resources on their own, easily one of the best books on Nihonga in English, despite being “just” a catalog. But that’s an exception…

For a softcover book that’s really not so thick (125 pages), $30 seems a bit much. I might gladly pay $25, but, even then, the catalog as it exists lacks the one key thing I would want most from it – full, complete copies of Yamaguchi’s “Narita Airport” and Ikeda’s “The History of Rise and Fall,” in large fold-outs, or even better fully separate fold-out posters, in which one can appreciate, over and over again at home, the full degree of detail of these works. For works such as these, just as much as with 3D pieces I would argue, an 8.5″ x 11″ reproduction is no substitute for the real piece – it might as well be a thumbnail for all it fails to reproduce for the viewer.

Perhaps Japan Society, Mori Museum, or someone else can present these pieces online, as some institutions have done, for example, for handscroll paintings, and as the Freer-Sackler intends to do at some point in the next year or two for a massive collection of woodblock printed books (more on that later), using a Flash-like interface to allow visitors to experience the whole piece, and to zoom in on any and every part that they want, rather than relying solely on the few choice details the curators chose to put into a print catalog. The technology certainly exists – I’ve seen it in interactives in galleries and museums (there’s a great one for handscrolls in the Sackler), and in private image manipulation software such as ViewNX, and, yes, on websites as well. I adore print catalogs, and definitely do feel there is something tangibly lacking from online-only materials (not to mention the fact that online materials, as of right now, inevitably feel less official, less authoritative than printed publications), but there are also things that one can do in online applications that we simply cannot do in print. If anyone knows where we can experience these two works in their full glory, online, I would be eager to hear about it.

And that is it for my haphazard, thrown-together, review of the “Bye Bye Kitty” exhibition at Japan Society.

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The situation in Japan of course has not, and will not, go away overnight. It is still very much on my mind, especially after hearing directly (on skype video chat, rather than simply in text form via Facebook, Twitter, or email) from a friend who, though quite safe in Tokyo and quite far from the real center of the devastation, was even there in Tokyo terrified, and shaken, if you’ll pardon the pun, to the core.

I have been putting off posting about anything else for a few days, watching other bloggers put up post after post of serious, concerned, disaster-centric posts. People in Japan sharing their own photos and their own stories; people sharing images and information from the news, and lists of websites for finding and getting in touch with people, and for making donations to the relief efforts.

Here‘s just one of the many many stories being posted online right now. An op-ed piece published in the NY Timesa New Yorker reminisces about her time in Tôhoku, and how much has changed in the last few days, and writes about her relatives in Tôhoku, experiencing this tragedy firsthand. A beautiful, short, piece, entitled “Memories, Washed Away.”

Gary Leupp, history professor at Tufts University and Edo period culture/society specialist, meanwhile, shares his thoughts on the disaster, touching upon the history of the city of Sendai, its poetic beauty, and historical artifacts and sites damaged and lost, and those which have hopefully survived.

It is far too easy to simply move on and get on with our normal lives here in Hawaii… I just learned that my rabbi back home in NY asked after me, and made some kind of announcement to the whole congregation about my being okay. Given how completely out of danger I was, and how relatively normal the last few days have been, I cannot help but feel bad that anyone should be worried about me at a time like this.

But, what can I say? Of course, I cannot, I will not, “move on” completely. I will continue to think about what’s going on in Japan, to pay attention to the news, to be concerned; to keep in touch with friends over there, and to do what I can to be supportive for Japanese friends here. But in the meantime, some scattered news bits from other parts of the world:

*Neil Gaiman – the author of Neverwhere, American Gods, and the comicbook series Sandman, and easily one of my favorite writers – has been working for quite some time on a non-fiction book about The Journey to the West, the classic Chinese story from which The Monkey King is particularly famous. And now, it has been announced that Gaiman is working with others on a film of The Journey to the West. It has been done before, numerous times, in both Chinese and Japanese films and TV dramas, and I don’t want to say that I definitively predict that this one will blow those all away, I trust Gaiman with this kind of project. He’s exceptionally insightful and creative in understanding the internal logic of fantasy worlds, and amazingly skilled in bringing such worlds to life; he’s profoundly respectful of other cultures and their histories, while at the same time not as invested in the project as an expression of nationalism as a Chinese or Japanese creator might be. In short, I’m very much looking forward to it.

*UNESCO has decided not to recommend the reconstruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, and the Afghan government has decided to go along with that recommendation. Now, admittedly, there are some pretty good reasons for them not to be reconstructed – chiefly, the argument that the millions of dollars it would cost might be better spent on alleviating poverty or any number of other humanitarian or development sort of purposes, and the argument that reconstructions would be fake. There isn’t enough material from the originals to reconstruct them properly from the original materials, and so, really, reconstructed versions would be fakes.

Still, my knee-jerk response is to say that of course they should be reconstructed. Their destruction was a heinous act of religious intolerance, and was the destruction of astonishing sites of cultural and historical value on a global scale. Monuments that, the argument goes, belong to all humanity, not just to the Afghan gov’t to do with it as it pleases.

But, then again, if indeed logistically it is not feasible to reconstruct them, if that is indeed the case, then that has to be the result, obviously.

*The Australian reports on continuing damage and threats to major tourist sites from hoards of tourists. This is, of course, nothing new, but it continues to go on, continues to be a problem, and sites continue to struggle to find solutions. As with artworks, so with sites, and so too I am sure with other cases which don’t immediately come to mind – a balance must be struck between access and conservation. Allowing people in to historical sites such as Angkor Wat, Borobudur, and the Great Wall seems only natural; denying access to these sites because they are so important, and beautiful, and impressive, essentially defeats the purpose of conserving them, just as keeping the Mona Lisa locked away in a dark storage vault to keep it safe from light and other conservation threats completely defeats the purpose. If we’re protecting something – whether it be artwork, or a site – we are presumably protecting it for people, but, the people (or display – exposure to light, air, moisture, etc.) are themselves the threat.

Never mind the graffitti, the people climbing where they shouldn’t, those stealing bits of rock. Even those who are fully obeying the rules are causing damage, as the moisture in the air they breathe out – multiplied by multitudes of people times days, weeks, months, years – encourages the growth of mold in centuries-old cave paintings in Dunhuang. As the erosion caused by footsteps, just regular ordinary footsteps, again, multiplied by thousands or even millions of people, day after day, year after year, wears down the floors of the Great Wall, of, frankly any and every building that sees visitors. You touch the walls, and you think it’s nothing. But multiply that by however many people, touching it however many times – that’s why those bronze statues at your alma mater, you know the ones, the ones that people rub for luck on exams, are so shiny and polished only in those places. Even just the lightest touch of robes brushing up against the wall as people walk by, happening time and again, wore off the wall paintings, only below a certain height, a certain point on the wall, in a famous and majorly old and important Buddhist temple in Japan (I’m blanking on which one at the moment..), and that was a site where tourists have never been let in – the damage was done by courtiers hundreds of years ago, and other religious devotees, visiting the temple and worshipping by walking around the perimeter.

Is there a definitive answer? Perhaps. I don’t know. Perhaps not. Perhaps we just need to strike a balance, keep a close eye on the sites, or make difficult decisions. Some sites are closed off; others are replaced, essentially, by reconstructions built next door and opened to the tourists. It’s a problem that is not going away any time soon; and, hopefully, if everyone does their jobs, the sites themselves won’t be going anywhere either.

*Donny George, former director of the Iraqi National Museum, has died. He collapsed in Toronto airport, and was declared deceased shortly afterwards at the hospital; he had been in Toronto to give a lecture on Mesopotamian artifacts and efforts to combat the black market illegal trade in such objects.

Dr. George had been instrumental in recovering thousands of objects looted from the Baghdad museum in the aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq, and was a real force for good in the museum world. His loss will surely be felt deeply.

*The Japanese contemporary art show “Bye Bye Kitty” which I have been eagerly awaiting for quite some time opens later this week at Japan Society in New York. A brief article today accompanies a slide show of installation shots and of staff working to figure out how to get Nawa Kohei’s life-size deer sculpture in the doors.

I quite like Gallery Director Joe Earle’s comments on having the show despite recent/current events. The article states: “Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami will surely hang over the exhibit that opens March 18, but Joe Earle, vice president and director of the Japan Society, noted that much of the work itself had already contemplated such destruction. After all, he said, every Japanese child, from a very young age, is trained to prepare for such disasters.”

And while I don’t like to attribute too much to Murakami Takeshi, or to talk about him too much, he often speaks/writes about his own theory of the profound importance and fundamental role that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki played – and continue to play – in shaping the collective psyche of postwar Japan. Going along with Earle’s comments, I would say that the creators of these contemporary current artworks are fully embedded in the cultural and societal issues which face Japan, including not only a culture of overworking salarymen, and extraordinary pressure placed upon high schoolers, as seen quite directly in two works from the show, but also in a society that is constantly aware of the dangers of natural disasters, and takes preparations very seriously.

*One more link for now. The New York Times has a rather interesting article today about the collection of the White House and its curator, a position started 50 years ago by Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy.

One could probably write volumes about private collections, and could take all different sides of the issue, talking about how cool it is to think of all the wonderful things that a place like the White House must have, but then also the negative side of how many similar private collections throughout the country and the world must have so many awesome artworks and other objects hidden away from public view or access.

I’m not sure I have anything really to say about it all at the moment, without getting into a pages-long stream-of-thought ramble on the subject… I shall simply say that I think it a very interesting and intriguing job to have; fun and interesting to realize that there definitely are curatorial-type jobs outside of the major museums, and just nice, and fun, to get a brief glimpse into it through this article.

That’s all for now, I suppose. Stay safe, everyone. My thoughts and prayers to those throughout Japan continuing to struggle with this crisis, and to their friends and families overseas.

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