Return to Art Osaka in July

Hitoshi and I are glad to be going back to Art Osaka this year.  It’s a small hotel fair–it’s in the Dojima Hotel–and many of our artists were well-received there last year.  We made the application more than 6 months ago, and we were accepted.  We have decided to bring the works of the following artists.

Joji Shimamoto

Gakushi Yamamoto

Jun Ogata

Giang Nguyen

Agus Purnomo

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Asian Collection Art Gallery Open During 2010 Golden Week

Hi. Long time; no posts. Some more will come-I promise.  We will be open Tuesday and Wednesday May 4 and 5 from 1-7.  Here are some of the works we have in the Gallery now.

Gakushi Yamamoto’s Throne.  This work was included in his article in Asian Art News. Why does the occupier of a throne have to be a man?  On this throne, one hand is male, one is female.

Gakushi Yamamoto

These are two of my favorites of Giang Nguyen’s new works.

Giang Nguyen

Giang Nguyen

Kouseki Ono was a finalist in the Shiseido Egg Competition last year.  He had a one month show in the Shiseido Museum in Ginza.

We have this large framed work–framed in plexiglass, and two new 3-dimensional works.

Kouseki Ono Framed Works

The works below are brand new–one piece has 80 sides.  Everyone says, “It must have taken a long time to create this.”

Yes, it took a long time to create, and yes he is a very patient person.

Kouseki Ono 3 Dimensional works

Hopefully the weather will be good on the 4th and 5th of May, so please drop by.  We will be open during Golden Week from 1-7.

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New Work: Japanese Sculptor Gakushi Yamamoto

Gakushi Yamamoto came to the gallery on Sunday and brought us some new work and we will set them up in the gallery now.  One client came in yesterday and expressed interest so we are glad to get this swift  positive reaction.

We also heard the good news:

Gakushi has this large piece in the Gobidai exhibition at the Tokyo Contemporary Art Center near the Ritz Carlton.

Gakushi will have a one man show at the Iron and Steel Museum in 2011.

Gakushi Yamamoto New Work at Tokyo Museum

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Zen Garden Show At Tokyo ANA Intercontinental Hotel

Now open 7 days a week, 24 hours per day.

We do off-site shows periodically-usually at area hotels and dining rooms. This one has a special theme, Zen Garden, and takes its cues from natural influences in Japan.  We feature two Japanese artists, Mario Tauchi and Jun Ogata.

Mario Tauchi "Trees" In Lobby of ANA Intercontinental Tokyo

More soon about this show.

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Our New Show, You and Me, Opens at Tokyo Gallery

Japanese, Indonesian, Chinese and American artists

Update:  We will be open on Thursday, January 11 the Japanese holiday from 1-7 PM



We opened a new show, called You and Me, last night at the gallery. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 1-7 PM Through the end of March.

It’s a very different kind of show for us since usually we feature primarily abstract works from Asian artists.  This show focuses on the relationships between people. We have works showing people in love, people talking together, people looking at others and images of individuals that we may be able to forge some relationship with. This is why we call it You and Me.

In some cases, the art is You and Me, and in some cases the art is me and you are you.

Zhu Wei: Images of the Strikingly Bizarre

This print from Zhu Wei portrays two soldiers looking toward the future.  What are they thinking?  Are the puzzled, optimistic, confused?  You decide.  We have a few of his works now, after being sold out for a while. His work got the most attention in last night’s show.

David Opdyke

We also have several works from American artists–works that we could not resist when we saw them, and we hope that you have the same reaction.

Perhaps you can see that the detail of the picture on the left is of George Washington.  It is created by David Opdyke, a young star of the Ny artworld,  who is primarily a sculptor whose works command prices well over $20,000 US.

For this print, as far as I know his only one, he drew thousands of small historical images that together form the picture of George Washington on the one dollar bill.  Is he making a statement about how we spend our money?We just had this framed, and it is in the gallery now.

Chloe Piene

We also have work from another New York artist, Chloe Piene, whose NYC openings, have people waiting in line.  This image, another print, shows a man and woman intertwined.

We had it framed with a double mat that has a red strip around it.

We tell people it is perfect for the bedroom.

Louis Risoli, Breathe Easy

We also have a 3 ft x 4 ft oil painting of bodybuilders by Louis Risoli entitled, Breathe Easy.

It too is strong and powerful and great for living room or bedroom.  I had one of his works in my living room when I lived in California.

There are also works from Yoko Kawazoe and Gakushi Yamamoto that portray places where people once were, places where people have left traces of themselves, where you can almost feel them there. These are images of train stations and Gakushi Yamamoto’s trademark chairs.

We hope you can make it.  We are also thinking of opening on the Japanese holiday.  I expect we will.

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Report from Bangkok: Lost Love

How does love change over time?  I am here in Bangkok and having a hard time believing that this was a place I once loved and wanted to live.

The excitement I used to feel for the place is gone. I find that there is nothing here that excites me.  It is sad for me, but maybe this is just not my place.

Had a great time in Lombok Indonesia–it was new and fresh. Perhaps it’s because I’m no longer working here in BKK or because I have come here so often, or maybe it’s because we are no longer working closely with artists from here.  In any case,  am not going to analyze this to death. I’ll just plan on being here for less time next time. There are other places to be.

As the song goes, home is where I want to be.

One plus about Bangkok is going to Bumrungrad Hospital where I can see all my doctors in one day.  I do have doctors to see.  I won’t list all of my appointments, but I was poked and prodded in lot of different places today, but at the end of the day, all the tests and checks were done and I got the full report in English. Unfortunately, I am not done yet and have to go back tomorrow afternoon to hear the results.  I will also see some friends tonight who love it here and that may change my tune a bit.

I have known some of my doctors here for 10 years-since I first started coming to Bangkok.  I can talk to them-some of them-which is not the case for doctors in Japan.

Tomorrow, I will also go and visit some friends at Chula.  That should be good. I like them and I feel a connection to them which I believe is what is missing for me here in the city.

Big cities are tough. We need some connection with them in order to feel comfortable. If I am unconnected to the people or the institutions –and I am here by myself, it just doesn’t work.

Everyone I knew here has gone-moved to Tokyo or Singapore or the US-and what I used to do here-like exploring restaurants and galleries–just does not excite me anymore.

Can you believe I have been eating at McDonalds here, when I used to love Thai food.  [They do not serve Thai food in McDonalds.]

I miss Tokyo and my life there.  That is my home.

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New Arrivals at our Tokyo Art Gallery, Asian Collection

I’m excited because we have got some great pieces that have just arrived or coming soon.

In some cases, they are the only pieces we have from certain artists that we only recently met.  In other cases, we are getting more work from some of our most popular artists, such as Giang Nguyen.

Fedex, Black Cat and DHL trucks have been stopping at our home and gallery with new works from Vietnam Indonesia and the US.

Here are some of them. You can write me at rtbn@gol.com to see if they have arrived yet–some are on the way–and in some cases, at the framers.

From Giang Nguyen:

Giang Nguyen 3 ft x 4 ft

Giang Nguyen 4 ft x 3 ft

This next work is the most interesting work I have ever seen from Ono Kouseki.

Ono Kouseki 120 x 90 MultiMedia on Canvas At Tokyo Art Fair April 2

I hope you will also like these works from Indonesian artists.  They are works on canvas.

We will have these works for our next show, You and Me.

Irman Rahman Phoneholic # 3 In The Gallery This Weekend

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Tokyo Art Gallery Asian Collection: The Year In Review

It seems like everyone does it at this time of the year: The Year’s Top 10 or This Year in Movies or Art or Music.

I’m tempted to follow suit, but not because everyone does it, but because I think it might be therapeutic or cathartic to look back on this year at our Tokyo art gallery and write down some of what happened.  It might help people understand more of what we do, as well as help me take stock of  what happened–at least some of what happened.

This was a year of many changes at Asian Collection.  Here are some of them.

1.  The focus of our gallery has shifted to include more painters from Japan.  When Hitoshi and I started the gallery 4 1/2  years ago [in our home], we primarily worked with print artists from Thailand and Japan.

Atsushi Takahashi

Now, the focus has shifted to painters, primarily from Japan with other Asian countries also represented.  This increased focus on Japan comes from the requests from our clients and our own interests and change in our travels. [I once worked 4-6 months out of the year in Thailand.]

I love prints, but it seems many clients prefer paintings to prints. Our print inventory is shrinking as we obtain more paintings to show our clients. We will continue to carry some prints.In some cases, when we love the work or the paintings are beyond the usual prices for our works, we are offering the artist’s prints.  Examples: Zhu Wei, James Siena.

Zhu Wei, China China

We also want to do something for the local art community.  As we met more young Japanese artists, we discovered great talent here that is not known-not outside Japan or even inside Japan, and we thought we could be effective in championing this group of artists.

Our mission now:  Promote Young Japanese Artists Worldwide.

2.  Related to our mission, our artists have gone way beyond Tokyo.  They have  shown in other locales in Japan and in many foreign countries.  In some cases, our artists have achieved international recognition.

To begin with, Ryota Aoki, our prize-winning ceramacist[for several years, he was the top prize winner at the Japanese Tableware Association Conference], whom we have worked with for four years, was the subject of a special program on Jounetsu, the legendary TV cultural program.

Ryota Aoki

We temporarily sold out of his works after this program as people searched all over the internet to find his works.  He also held shows in Paris and New York and was the only artist included in the catalog for Design Tide. When we first met Ryota Aoki, he lived in a house with no toilet–he had to go to the 7-11.  His house has a toilet now and four assistants.

We get inquiries from all over the world for his work and ship all over the world. Some of the requests come from other ceramacists.

Atsushi Takahashi, one of the young Japanese painters we work with,  exhibited paintings in group shows in Osaka and Tokyo.  His work has been especially popular with younger collectors.

He created several works on commisssion and one  client from Taiwan bought his work to show in model apartments. Borobudur Auction, the premier auction house of Indonesia and Singapore contacted us to obtain his work for one of their auctions and his Tomodachi Series of works sold at the high end of the auction estimate. Auction houses throughout SE Asia have expressed interest in obtaining more works from young Japanese artists.

Atsushi Takahashi Tomodachi Series

Mario Tauchi, creator of the Flying Mandalas, was hard to find in Tokyo. Whenever we called him, he was on his way, or had just caome back from somewhere.  Mario had shows in London and Amsterdam–repeat performances– where he held book signings and live shows.  Mario painted on walls, accompanied by traditional Japanese drums or techno pop.  He also held a live show in Ebisu and other locations in Japan.

I will write about our other artists in another post later.


3..  We continued our off-site promotions and benefits for charity.  We held off-site exhibitions at the Ritz Carlton  and ANA Intercontinental Hotels with works from  Giang Nguyen, Truc Thanh Nguyen, and Reishi Kusaka. We were able to give these artists exposure to collectors who would not normally visit our gallery in Azabu Juban.

3. We participated in Art Osaka and showed the work from our Japanese, Thai and Indonesian Artists.  It was great to show the works of artists like Ono Kouseki, Kosin Bootnam, Mario Tauchi, Agus Purnomo from Indonesia and Zhu Wei from China to people in Osaka.  The fair had almost 1,000 visitors and some of our clients came in from Tokyo in order to see the show. We saw some friends there and made some new ones.

Ono Kouseki

We were surprised when a Korean visitor to our exhibit knew the work by Agus Purnomo. Agus got great response there from visitors who were impressed with has abstract paintings using numbers.  Agus has shown in Southeast Asia, but I believe this was the first time his work had been shown at an Art Fair.

Agus Purnomo, Paper Serial #04-09

We expect to go back to Art Osaka next summer and we are tentatively planning to show the work of Joji Shimamoto, Giang Nguyen and Ono Kouseki.

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What Kind of Art To Buy: 12 Suggestions From Tokyo Art Guy

When I was growing up, my father would take our house guests around the house and show his collection–I was lucky enough to live in a house filled with art.  My father loved  art and each piece had a story. Sometimes the tour would take an hour and even people who had never had an interest in art loved hearing the stories.

The guests appreciated the art more because they could know something about the artist and the reasons my father bought the works.

Ryudai Takano

Ryudai Takano

I liked art with a story and still do.  It is not enough for a painting to be beautiful. I am always looking for something special.

This photo of work by Ryudai Takano is truly something special. To me, it is ” Cherry Blossom Perfection”, great resolution and contrasts and it is of flowers that are the flowers that people think of when they think of Japan.  Also, like Robert Mapplethorpe, Ryudai Takano photographs naked men and flowers. He also won the Ihei Kimura prize, the top photogrpahic prize in Japan, and studied–not photography-but political science at one of Japan’s top universities, Waseda.

When people think about buying art, the usual advice is to buy what you like.  This advice rarely helps people.  It is just a starting point.  Some people tell me, “I don’t know what I like”, so here are my suggestions on what kind of art to buy.

What kind of art to buy?

1.  Buy art that will nourish you, make you feel good. When you come home tired at the end of the day, art can say,” welcome home, take a seat, have a rest”

2.  Buy art that you and others will notice. Buy art that demands people look at, even if it is difficult to look at. Some art just blends into the background, but art can do so much more.

3.  Buy art that no one else is buying. You would not want to go to a party where every one is wearing the same tie or same dress.  Buy art that is uniquely you, that people can see in no one else’s home. Show confidence in your choices.

4.  Buy art that inspires you. Art has the potential to transform lives. Art can provide the inspiration to bring us to do things we never dreamed possible.

5.  Buy art that relaxes you. Our home is our shelter, we need a place to relax. Art can help create that shelter.

6. Buy art that will help a young artist. The art world has too many starving artists.  You can stop this.  Many artists decide early in their career whether or not to continue.  Your purchase will help them live, help the survive and help them decide to make a career as an artist. Below we have a beautiful mono-print from Takako Sato who is only 27 years old and like many of our young artists, works a variety of jobs to pay the rent and live.  Some may know her as an aerobics instructor at Tokyo gym clubs.

7.  Buy art that engages you. I like art that I can look at for a long time, not art that I just skip by quickly.

Takako Sato Monoprint

Takako Sato Monoprint

8.  Buy art that will bring back good memories. Many of the visitors to our gallery look for work by Japanese artists.  They may not live here forever, but they want a work of art that will bring back remembrances of the time that they spent here.

9.  Buy art that you don’t understand. Challenge yourself. You can learn about the art. You can find out about the artist’s motivations, what the artist is trying to say, and you can also think about what the art means to you.

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10.  Buy art that has a story you can tell others. You can learn about the artist’s life, where the artist studied, went to school, the details in the works.

11.  Buy art for your kids. Buy art that your kids love. Help them learn about art at a young age. It is likely that they will have the work longer than you.

12.  Buy art that pioneers new methods and techniques. One of our artists, Ono Kouseki, pioneered new methods of  screenprinting.  We also have another work by an artist who paints and draws on bees wax on Japanese washi paper.  The works draw us in, make us ask, “what is that”, “how did they make that.”  Our engagement with the work increases along with our curiosity.

Zhu Wei  Utopia 46

Zhu Wei Utopia 46

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Unique Japanese Holiday Gifts from Ryota Aoki

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to write anything more about him because for the first time ever, we sold out of individual items, such as the white porcelain cups.

Thankfully, we will receive a new shipment today or tomorrow and I will be in the gallery between 12 and 4 on Tuesday to unpack the box and display them.  Please drop by then–to see the red works too–and eat some yummy cake from one of our clients who is a professional patissier.

Since his TV program, it has been a mad house for him–in a good way–he has hired 4 assistants to help him, he is shuttling between New York and Paris for shows and he is creating new works.

Cups from Ryota Aoki

Cups from Ryota Aoki

We expect to have his white and silver works in the gallery for the next three weekends.  There is a link on Hitoshi’s blog, Hitoshi’s Eye, that includes the video of his TV program. There are also some new white works with a green-brownish glaze that we will have.

Ryota Aoki Silver Works

Ryota Aoki Silver Works

I love these silver works too and I expect we will have a large selection tomorrow.  We have them in our home too.

I have been surprised as to the difference in preferences between Japanese and foreign visitors.  Japanese prefer the silver items-especially those that are naturally aged and with what some people would call tarnishing.  Non-japanese visitors prefer the white porcelain items or the silver items without any tarnish or aging. This seems to be true in 90% of the cases.  All people like the white ceramics with brownish green glazing.  I am not sure why these differences exist–just must be different aesthetic and that mysterious wabi sabi thing. Ryota Aoki keeps on surprising us with more and more beautiful items.  He sent us 3 “champagne bottles” and we have only one left–they went quicker than the hottest Christmas toys.

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