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See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now Paperback – February 23, 2011

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"See/Saw offers a provocative new look at the origins of Japanese pop art." Foreword Reviews

"A densely informative book, "See/Saw" is a fluid read for the amateur and novice alike and is packed with intriguing insights and compelling artwork." -- Karen Day, Cool Hunting

"Clear, concise and informative, highly recommended." -- Hi Fructose

About the Author

Ivan Vartanian is an author and editor based in Tokyo, Japan.

Kyoko Wada is an art writer, critic, and historian living in Japan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811869571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811869577
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Then and Now" has become a common trope in photography books, typically showing a historical image side-by-side with the same location shot today, to show how things have changed. This book is NOT like that. Rather, it seeks to contextualize the contemporary in the history of Japanese art, using a series of themes to explore both the art and the themes themselves. Some, like the pair on the cover illustration, do approximate the then-and-now trope, but most do not. This is a more complicated project.

The seven themes used here are Allusion (mitate), Space (ma), Kabuki (yes, kabuki), Diorama (kei), Animism (tama), Jest (tawake), and Empty (mu). Each then has a series of subdivisions, some revolving around very specific design elements, or specific artists, others more general, or even philosophical. Genres of art include not only painting and printmaking, but some architecture and gardening, furniture and decorative arts, sculpture, photography - this not to pretend to be truly comprehensive, which would be impossible anyway, but to at least begin to reflect the variety of Japanese art-making.

One of the really nice things about this book is, for those who are primarily interested in contemporary Japanese art, it provides a pretty decent and engaging survey of the history of art in Japan, with some really great examples along the way. There's also a historical timeline, and biographical sketches of artists (divided into three periods: Feudal, Early Modern, and Modern) to convey the information succinctly. I don't know if there are people who don't know/like contemporary Japanese art but understand the history, but if so it would probably help in that direction as well.
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By PPPPPP on January 4, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Such an amazing book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good Read for college book.
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