Saturday, May 20, 2006

MUSEUM OF COMTEMPORARY OR MODERN OR WHATEVER ART AND STUFF

Today I tried to check out the Tsuguharu Foujita exhibition at the National Museum Of Modern Art. I say I tried because somehow, I ended up at the Museum Of Contemporary Art instead. For two institutions dedicated to the pursuit of creativity, they didn't get too original on the nomenclature front. Note to tourists: Despite their almost-identical names (especially in Japanese), these museums are in no way related, nor are they situated anywhere near each other.


The temporary exhibit featured the collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain. With the sole exception of the freakishly enormous Gulliver-style woman lounging in bed, I thought the art on show was a bit of a cop-out. Personally, I'm sick of anything that earns the esteemed label of "fine art" through reliance on props considered risque by the conservative intelligentsia, or themes capable of bringing up issues of political correctness.

For instance, wander into a jungle somewhere and take a nude photograph of an aboriginal woman. I guarantee you, most people will wax poetic about the beauty of the work, lest they risk being pegged a (gasp!) xenophobe. Wanna be shocking? Paint a panel that looks like it has innards oozing out of it. Please. Don't underestimate your audience, buddy. If you want to shock me, you'll need to tell me that my mother is actually a man, and that my true biological parent is Paris Hilton, who is really a 50-year old Japanese woman. Or something like that. You'll have better luck impressing me with skill and aesthetic sense than with (yawn) shock tactics.

In summary, I expected more from Cartier. Even having accounted for the subjective nature of art, I still wasn't very impressed. Don't take my word for it, though - the collection is there until 2 July. And by "there", I mean MOT, not MOMAT.

I did try to check out the Tsuguharu Foujita exhibition at the National Museum Of Modern Art again, after the Cartier exhibition. I say I did try because once I got there I found queues that would put Disneyland to shame. I pulled a U-turn and headed home - but not before stopping by Moti for some Tandoori Prawns and Chicken Curry. The lesson here is that everyone in Tokyo is on the same schedule. That means that you do not travel on any of the 12 days that people have off per annum, or go to see The Da Vinci Code, which everyone is suddenly raving about although nobody in the country seems to have read the book. If you see anything on television - things to buy, places to go, restaurants to try out - avoid it like the plague.

Today was one of those days that really made me want to move to Montreal.

3 Comments:

Blogger teahouse said...

Yeah, some of that super-modern art kind of freaks me out.

Isn't that the kind of stuff that Yoko Ono does?

1:32 AM  
Blogger e! said...

Yoko Ono does do some weird shit - like that album where she's just moaning for a fucking hour - but she's marginally better, because:

a. She's just an old hippie and a lot of her weirdness is just habit,

b. She's more about silliness rather than grossness or modern PC-ness, making her somewhat original,

and

c. She's John Lennon's wife, first and foremost, who just happens to be bizarre.

The artists commissioned by Cartier, on the other hand, are trying to cash in on their affected weirdness. It's just so... tired.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked your review-- I feel the same way.

I am so jealous of the prawns and curry, but saddened by your last line-- although, as someone who needs A LOT OF SPACE (hello I live miles from civilization) I can appreciate the need to get free from crowds.

~bluepoppy

10:04 AM  

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