The Awakening, 1968
We've been hearing all the hype about the new Roppongi Art Triangle. What a load of b*ll*cks! While the 'cutting edge' National Art Centre Tokyo pulls in the oba-san brigade with the nice but dull Monet, 21_21 Design Site exhibits chocolate – lordy! If this is supposed to be the new art nexus of Tokyo, heaven help us. Rather than waste your money poncing around these fashionable (read: crowded and overpriced) venues, give Tokyo's smaller, local museums a chance.
The Itabashi Art Museum may not be near any Prada outlets, but it is located in a beautiful park, it is FREE, and it has a lively retrospective of the works of Iwami Furusawa (1912 – 2000), an artist whose cheesy derivativeness is more than made up for by his delightful obsession in painting exactly what he liked – namely lush exotic, often pornographic paintings of sloe-eyed maidens, scenes from the karma sutra, and sex-laced Surrealism. His refusal to tone down his material, probably at the cost of greater renown as a 'serious artist,' also means he is something of an artistic martyr.