contemporary art

I am not a big patron of the arts. Ever since I was little, my dad attempted to instill in me at least an appreciation for the finer arts; when I was little I distinctly remember not really enjoying be taken to ballet and opera performances, art galleries and museums (the two exceptions being The Guggenheim and MOMA in NYC).
So I admit I begrudgingly attended the opening of Art Fair Tokyo 2012 as my company was the major corporate sponsor.
There was, as expected, a whole bunch of "modern" art; put a wig on a cow, spill paint on a white pillow, etc.
But there were also a few pieces that absolutely restored my faith in humanity, and they were all from young (younger than me) Japanese artists.
In no particular order, here are my favorites:

Takehiro Terabayashi
This guy does the most amazingly realistic paintings of...his 1950's apartment. My absolute favorite is the circuit breaker. It must be seen to be believed. The little green sticker in the corner I SWEAR I could have reached up and pulled off. Brilliant.

Yasunari Ikenaga
He does the most amazing modern portraits in a traditional (?) Japanese style, with beautiful kimono motifs and a hint of bad-girl/melancholy. The detail is just stunning.

Hisara Taira
Another hyper-realist painter. His architectural paintings of hallways and escalators look photorealistic and totally moody. What this guy can do with light and texture is mind-blowing.

Tetsuya Noguchi
The most detail-oriented figure-maker/sculptor I have ever seen. He analyses ancient samurai paintings to make the most fantastic modern figures in oftentimes ridiculous or merely sublime poses.

Shintaro Ohata
My favorite contemporary Japanese painter as of the minute I walked by and saw his paintings.
His earlier works are a brilliant combination of painting and sculpture that flow together into a single moody situation. But his latest paintings are even more stylized and moody. This one blue piece of a girl on a bus in the morning I seriously need to own, it is that awesome.


Originally uploaded by renfield


Originally uploaded by renfield

My daughter is the awesome. She is adorable, and snuggly, and loves her little brother, and being five years old, sometimes she is utterly and completely intolerably annoying.

Yesterday I wasn't feeling very good; messed up eating patterns and lack of sleep taking its toll on me. But I was determined to be A Good Dad on a sunny Sunday, so against the protests of my upset stomach and achy head, we headed over to Roppongi Hills. Some kind of art festival thing going on. Son promptly fell asleep in the stroller, so I wheeled him into the family chillax lounge and P took Ton off to enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere; ate a hotdog, watched the juggler, etc.
And then we discovered the latest addition to the Hills offerings: a Lego Store!
Mo woke up so P and I switched kids.
And Ton morphed into HellChild. She desperately wanted to buy some of the new girl princess Lego.
She cried. And screamed. And cried. And screamed.
I held her, I tried to reason with her. I sat with her. I talked to her. I distracted her. I changed the topic of discussion. I tried to engage her interest in lunch, small dogs, cute babies, the weather, the juggler...she would have none of it. She cried and screamed as only a five year-old can.
For 35 minutes.
Yes I was keeping track.
Normally after about ten, sometimes fifteen if I am feeling well rested, I run out of patience. I blow up at her. Believe me, I can scream much, much louder than any five year-old girl.
It doesn't stop her from crying, but it scares the hell out of her into a quiter sniffling, and for the rest of the day I am fuming and she is afraid I will explode again so she is obediently miserable. And P hates it because I am so grumpy, and Mo doesn't get why everyone is so pissed off so he gets all bent out of shape, too. And then we're just all The Miserables.

But yesterday I wasn't feeling very well to begin with, and I just didn't have the energy. So we just sat there, her inconsolable, me patiently trying everything and nothing.
Finally I got her to sit in the stroller and agreed to take her to the Lego Store (but not buy anything.)
She immediately calmed down a bit, and then she started pointing out lego her brother would like; maybe the big firetruck? Or the airplane? And definitely the police car too.
Then she was picking her own lego; the princess castle for when she turns six. The pet store for seven. Then the cafe for eight. Soon she wasn't crying, but trying to prioritize all her birthday presents until she's twelve.
I showed her what numbers on the lego boxes mean the age range, so she had to recalculate as some were 2-5, others 6-12...we spent another ten minutes taking photos so we don't forget which is which, and then she wasn't a crying miserable rodent anymore, and we were having fun and met up with mom and brother and I didn't yell once.
We took a break at Starbucks, then got some sushi for dinner, taxi'd home, and crashed out.
My kids are awesome...but I'm not bad, too. Sometimes.