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Warriors of Art: A Guide to Contemporary Japanese Artists Hardcover – June 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-4770030313 ISBN-10: 4770030312 Edition: First Edition

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The world of cartoon cuteness goes horribly, surrealistically wrong again and again in this survey of 40 contemporary Japanese artists. The overriding mood is one of suffocating, inward-looking dread, expressed through an obsession with imagery drawn from manga, television, the Internet and pornography. There are hamsters in bondage, a tattooed Kewpie doll, and Lolita figures riddled with hypodermic needles. The best of these disturbing visions are presented with an audacious virtuosity. Mika Kato paints masterful and exquisitely creepy oils of doll faces, and Shintaro Miyake's elaborate installations could depict the dream lives of abandoned plush toys. The few artists who depart from the basic formula of pop surrealism are generally derivative of Western artists. Yasumasa Morimura, for example, takes staged photos of himself that are almost embarrassingly similar to Cindy Sherman's work. So what does it all mean? The text by critic Yamaguchi is not much help, offering mostly banalities. That picture of the girl being poked with all those needles? She's apparently a very contemporary reflection of a society in chaos. But it's the images themselves that make up the bulk of the book, offering a brisk, intoxicating tour through the dark side of the Japanese pop culture imagination. (June 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review


"...A brisk, intoxicating tour through the dark side of the Japanese pop culture imagination."--Publishers Weekly


"Jaw-dropping showcase of contemporary Japanese art, from sculptures to drawings to photography to unorthodox media." --The Midwest Book Review


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; First Edition edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030312
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030313
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
This is a very good overview of contemporary Japanese art.
I'm not Nickolai
This book will intrigue, puzzle and make you think about art and its relevance today.
C. S. Rathore
The presenter provided us with an outline and bibliography for more information.
bluemoe29

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Written by Tokyo-based art critic Yumi Yamaguchi, Warriors of Art: A Guide to Contemporary Japanese Artists is a jaw-dropping showcase of contemporary Japanese art, from sculptures to drawings to photography to unorthodox media. Though some pieces are clearly influenced by manga or anime, many others are of a unique and refreshingly original style. Full-color photographs on every page immerse the reader in a grand visual spectacle, while the text introduces the reader to the basic concepts and message of individual artistic talents. A small number of pieces show nudity or even graphically sexual images; Warriors of Art is not for young children, though the majority of artworks presented are not erotic. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. S. Rathore on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Japanese artistic sense continues incorporating the old with new sensibilities to produce new forms. The old culture impregnates the new artistic expression and women artists are having their say finally. There is something that is always intriguing about Japanese arts and crafts for it is hard to identify. The intensity of subtleness, the effort put into producing the beautiful and yet the faint hint of the ugly need for strength to survive one's environment all meld in Japan's current art. This book will intrigue, puzzle and make you think about art and its relevance today.
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Format: Hardcover
Most people think of Japanese art as either the woodblock prints of the Edo period or modern manga. It appears that this is entirely appropriates, as modern Japanese art is some sort of strange marriage of the two.

I saw Murakami Takashi's "Superflat" exhibition in Seattle in 2001. At the time, I was shocked at how deeply anime and manga culture had shaped modern Japanese art. Although American comic books had some influence on fine art during the 1950s Pop Art movement and especially with artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, this was a whole different level. This was not just a self-conscious and ironic blending of high and low art. This was removing all barriers between the two, elevating art created for popular consumption to the level of gallery exhibition.

"Warriors of Art" shows that Murakami's Superflat Manifesto is very much alive, and dominating the Japanese art scene. Many of the young artists in this book have been hand-picked by Murakami, molded and shaped into his image. You can see his name all over the artist's profiles. But Murakami and his proteges are only continuing a tradition. The mix of child/adult sexuality, the erotic/grotesque imagery, even the heavy black line and bright colors, are all carried over from periods of Japanese art hundreds of years earlier.

Not that everyone in "Warriors of Art" comes from Murakami's school. Some, like Nara Yoshiitomo, are heavy hitters in their own right. Nara's paintings have been featured on CD covers for the band Shonen Knife, and have been exhibited all over the world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While attending the National Art Education Association conference in 2008 I went to a workshop on Contemporary Japenese art. I was blown away by some of the art that was being produced in Japan, a far cry from what I've seen here in the US. The presenter provided us with an outline and bibliography for more information. This book was on his list and I'm glad that I made the choice to purchase it. The visuals are stunning and they show a fairly wide range of contemporary art from Japan. Many different artists and subject matter are portrayed. I would recommend this book to anyone who was curious about current Japanese artwork and wanted to learn a little more.
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