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
If possible, Mr. should be seen in conjunction with 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
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.
What are Manga and Anime?
The Truth Behind What “Otaku” Really Means
Lolicon: The Reality of ‘Virtual Child Pornography’ in Japan
Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures http://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 http://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 http://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’ http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/dr-wilda-reviews-seattle-art-museums-future-beauty-30-years-of-japanese-fashion/
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