Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kanazawa 21st Century Museum

The trees reflected in the stream and pebbles at Kenrokuen Gardens

Yesterday, I was graced with daikyuu, or as I like to say, "screwed out of having a 3 day weekend." Anyways, it was a beautiful day and Ellie and Angelo joined me on my art mission. I have been to the museum once before, for the infamous Matthew Barney "Drawing Restraint" show.

I love the museum, the space is inviting, some of the works are interactive, some structural aspects are simulaneously permanent pieces in the collection, and they have a good sized area of the gallery devoted to touring shows and/or collections, as opposed to throwing the same pieces that they paid an exorbantant amount of money on in your face again and again like other museums. This show was entitled, "Alternative Paradise."

Upon walking in, I was greeted by Hiroto Kitagawa's study of "futuristic human beings." They looked like giant clay manga characters, but painted with acrylic paint to add depth and the artist's touch. I like ultramarine as much as the next painter, but I think these were a bit glorified. Beautiful, yes, overrated, in my opinion... also yes. Sorry, no picture. Moving on.

Here we have Tetsuya Nakamura.

He apparently does fascinating things with fiberglass, etc. The "fast" objects were very shiny and sleek. I felt dismay upon walking into this gallery, because it looked like a 4 year old's dreamland. Life-sized race cars straight out of a video game. The museum explained that Nakamura paints and molds these vehicles using "new" techniques, but doesn't elaborate beyond that. The concept was very perplexing. Something about making speed visible. Perhaps it was just translated badly on the museum wall.

Canan Dagdelen's work (similar to, but not the one displayed above) left me feeling like a part of my soul had been sucked out. The space was horribly underutilized (perhaps the gallery's fault) and the work was very recently re-appropriated. I have seen this method of hanging multiple objects to create a new form dangling below, done over and over. I didn't find it particularly engaging.

Some aspects of the show were great. The T-room, a 4 artist collaboration futuristically interpreting the Japanese tea ceremony, was beautiful. The concept was well thought out, and the giant bubble room enveloped you and instilled a real sense of calm.

I know I am not supposed to take photos in the museum, but it was covered in silicone! I have a weakness for silicone. I also liked the hair/thread works from Anne Wilson (the 100 days one, not so much the video, although it gave me a good idea about milk...), and the plastic organisms created by Sofi Zezmer.

We also spent time at the beautiful Kenrokuen gardens, and had some tea at the garden teahouse. Below is our mochi.

a view of the tea room

My empty chawan.

The overall best part of the day was when we visited the oldest shrine in Ishikawa and were treated like royalty. I was getting my shuin written by the resident calligrapher/hanko mistress, and the caretakers of the shrine came out and chatted with us for a bit. They told us about the temple and gave us arrows as we were leaving. Awww... so sweet. Now I just want to know where I can get one of those awesome shrine maiden uniforms!

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