Monday, November 20, 2006

Nara Yoshitomo

Saturday, some brave adventurers and myself went to Kanazawa for some quality arting. We arrived at the museum right after they opened and had a good wander. I was surprised to see that the artist in residence, Yoshitomo Nara, was anything but. They had two rooms in the main museum devoted to him, and a side building used as his personal studio with a tiny attached cafe, you could enjoy coffee or tea in. We wandered around the rooms, and I was impressed with the typical Nara-fare. It was good. Heavy on the puppies, but good.

The sad realization came when we found the studio lacking in the actual artist. He was nowhere to be found. I kept my eyes peeled in the museum, thinking, perhaps he was enjoying his fame and relative visual anonymity, but to no avail. Little children were scheduled to be wandering around the museum on "Pup Patrol" starting at 2pm, so we went away to see Kenrokuen and have lunch.

Upon returning, we spotted two kiddies dressed as pups. They were both looking rather worse for wear, and the little boy was about ready to faint in the thick fabric puppy-suit. I circled the museum a few times, which is something in and of itself, because the place is set up like a labyrinth, but no more puppies.

I went back to the studio later, to find a note penned by Nara-san. It said that he would not be in the studio from the 8th-23rd of November. Hmmm!? Where was this note this morning? Did the museum staff forget to put it up? Why would they have bothered taking it down in the first place. Damn, I am bitter.

I had to amuse myself by watching a hopelessly unaware man thwapping one of the stuffed dog sculptures viciously in the nose, and seeing the docent freaking out but in typical "meek young woman" fashion, not say anything. I continued to observe as he approached the wall where the costumes were hanging. I knew what was coming, but the docent bit her lip and tried to will away the inevitable. The man proceeded to man-handle the costumes quite roughly, and another docent, hiding slyly in the corner, started bellowing at him.

In another room, there was an intriguing piece displayed on floor. It ran the length of the gallery, and was made of wax, frosted glass, and a graphite spiral drawing at one end. Pretty cool, very fragile. Did I mention the place was crawling with kids? There was a presentation given to primary school kids, letting out when we first arrived. They were proudly adorned with nametags, school uniforms, and their moms (some of whom looked as if they had no concept of museum etiquette). So, back to the fragile sculpture. The room it was in had 3 large sculptures, and 2 docents. The first docent was chillin on the left side of the room guarding two tall pillar-like oceanic/marble formations. The other was in charge of the glassy/wax thingy. She was in a perpetual state of nervous anger. Her hands were stuck somewhere between going back down to her side's and shooing children away. The look on her face was priceless. I would not have traded her places in a million years!

Here are a few of the rugrats playing on the sculptures outside of the museum.

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