The great modernist skinflint architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously said, "Less is more." This is also the ruling principle in this exhibition of paintings by Shinji Ogawa, a 47–year–old Japanese painter who meticulously reproduces famous paintings from the canon of Western art, like Vermeer's Milk Maid (ca. 1658) or Velazquez's Las Meninas (ca. 1656), but with the people or some of them missing. While this is a useful tool for deconstructing famous paintings, and highly enjoyable for professional art critics like me, who perhaps know these paintings rather too well, I suspect that it has less appeal for the general public, who like to have a good look at their milkmaids. For his next project I suggest Ogawa aims closer to home and attempts a 36 Views of Mt. Fuji without the mountain.
Runs to Dec. 24, 2006, National Museum of Art, Osaka.