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Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990-2011
Any discussion of Japanese contemporary art inevitably leads to the pop-culture fantasies of Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and the other artists of the Superflat movement. But Japan as a whole has changed dramatically after stumbling through a series of economic, social and ecological crises since the collapse of its "bubble" economy in the early 1990s. How did Murakami ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published April 30th 2012 by Blue Kingfisher
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Adrian Favell's book is a fantastic overview of the changing face of the Japanese contemporary art scene at the turn of the millenium. It's extremely useful to find a book that puts the international superstars like Murakami and Nara in the broader context of domestically successful practitioners. The roving journalistic style makes it an easy read, and it serves as an excellent primer for readers looking for an accompaniment to catalogue essays on the respective artists. The book will be of par ...more
A very insightful reading on Japanese contemporary art in terms of social, political and business context. For me, this book came at the right time as I'm trying to deviate from a fan's point of view to a more neutral and critical one of Japanese contemporary art. It re-directs the focus from Superflat's central figures i.e. Takeshi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara to some less internationally-known artists such as Makoto Aida and Tsuyoshi Ozawa with social interventions - and of course also shines a ...more
Didn't have the patience at the moment to wade through blanket classifications of fans and indie crafters as "pathetic," people who like low art as deluded by hype and the entirety of post-2011 Japan as disaster area. I probably should have expected this out of a white Westerner...wonder what the in-country art criticism looks like.
A sociological and historical approach to the subject, that became controversial when Yoshitomo Nara and some others challenged some of the interpretations. I wasn't there, can't fully evaluate all of it, but from afar as someone who enjoys contemporary Japanese arts of many sorts this isn't my favorite book (despite my being an anthropologist and one might expect more 'in tune' with the approach). There's an argumentative tone at points that turns me off, and it becomes dismissive of some of th ...more