Straight outta Japan! Touring contemporary art at the Barrick


For six years an impressive exhibit of works by contemporary Japanese artists has been touring the globe, landing in cities in Germany, Spain, India and Vietnam, with stints in South American and Eastern European countries.

But with the exception of a spring 2012 stop in San Antonio, Texas, the show of 42 works by 11 artists hasn’t had a US presence—that is until Louisa McDonald, assistant professor of art history at UNLV, brought the exhibit catalogue to the attention of Jerry Schefcik, the College of Fine Art’s director of galleries.

This week Passage to the Future: Art from a New Generation in Japan opens at Barrick Museum, providing a glimpse at varying styles of Japanese artists (known and relatively unknown). The paintings, sculpture, photography, video and installations—all created in the 1990s and early 2000s—merge traditional and contemporary Japan in works made from conventional and more unorthodox media.

Artists include Atsushi Fukui, Satoshi Hirose, Maywa Denki, Tomoyasu Murata, Tetsuya Nakamura, Masafumi Sanai, Katsuhiro Saiki, Yoshihiro Suda, Tabaimo, Nobuyuki Takahashi and Miyuki Yo.

Here's a preview of what's included in the exhibit:

    • “Please Wash Away” (Miyuki Yokomizo, 2004)

      Connected bags holding plastic and real soaps create transparent walls with a composition of colors determined by the (often translucent) bars.

    • “Ikiteiru (living)” (Masafumi Sanai, 1995)

      Known for capturing typically unremarkable moments, settings and subjects, Sanai’s well-thought-out and planned compositions are often presented as quick and random snapshots.

    • “Lightning” (Tetsuya Nakamura, 2004)

      The artist’s interest in sci-fi and fast cars influences his slick and speedy nonfunctional sculptures, which emanate a futuristic fantasy dominated by high-gloss speed machines.

    • “Twin World” (Atsushi Fukui, 2003)

      Dreamlike utopian landscapes of a faraway and unattainable bliss reoccur in paintings that present a gentle harmony, occasionally infused with psychedelic forms and colors.

    Passage to the Future: Art from a New Generation in Japan Through December 20; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Barrick Museum, 895-3381.

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    Kristen Peterson

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