Tag Archive | Japanese

Modern Art Monday Presents: Toshinobu Onosato, Painting A

Toshinobu Onosato Painting A By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

In 1960, Toshinobu Onosato reevaluated his approach to the circle, a form that for much of the previous decade he had presented as monochromatic surfaces whose simplicity was emphasized by surrounding webs of intersecting lines.

Toshinobu Onosato Painting A Detail By Gail Worley
Painting A, Detail

According to the artist, dividing the circle through the “the piling up of color planes” allows for better understanding of the shape’s true dimensions. Born from a desire to capture brightness and harmony, works such as Painting A (196162) vibrate with energy that relates to — but remains separate from — the illusory effects sought by Op artists.

Toshinobu Onosato Painting A By Gail Worley

Photographed as part of the exhibit The Fullness of Color: 1960’s Paintings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan

Eye On Design: Sideboard by Edward Godwin

Sideboard by Edward Godwin
Installation View (Photos By Gail)

Though Edward Godwin initially worked in the Gothic Revival style, beginning in the 1860s he was increasingly influenced by the culture of Japan; collecting Japanese art and studying that country’s architecture and furnishings in ukiyo-e prints and Western publications. Inspired by such sources and frustrated with the commercial furniture then available, Godwin created spare designs such as this Sideboard in which the structural supports are the dominant, decorative element. The work’s primary aesthetic is achieved, as Godwin said, “by the mere grouping of solid and void.” Godwin made the first version of this sideboard for his own home in 1867.

Sideboard by Edward Godwin

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago.

Eye On Design: Rei Kawakubo’s Tartan Dress

Rei Kawakubo Tartan Dress
Photos By Gail

Fall weather is slowly creeping into NYC, which means fashionable ladies are thinking about layering-up, integrating heavier fabrics into their wardrobes, and maybe adding a tartan plaid to a traditionally muted seasonal color palette. From the look of it alone, one might assume that this voluminous design by designer Rei Kawakubo is from a fall line, but you would be mistaken. It was Kawakubo’s collection from Spring 2017 that featured enormous garments that engulf the body, such as this geometric Tartan Dress for her label, Comme de Garcons. Her designs have typically embraced abstraction and, more recently, a non-functional style. Since 2014, the designer’s collections have consisted of garments that bridge the gap between art and fashion, moving into uncharted territory.

Photographed at The Museum at FIT in Manhattan.

Rei Kawakubo Tartan Dress

 

Eye On Design: Anatonmy1 Ensemble By Kei Kagami

Anatomy1 Ensemble
All Photos By Gail

Kei Kagami is a Japanese architect and designer living in London whose conceptual, avant-garde designs have been referred to as Torture Couture for their integration of mechanical elements and contraptions. What’s closer to the truth is that they are, like the haute couture of a designer like Alexander McQueen, wearable works of art.

Anatomy1 Ensemble

Anatomy, biology, ecology and futurism combine in his more surreal designs in which glass tubes, vials and magnifying glasses are used to break the traditional boundaries and tackle themes of transformation, and a garment’s interaction with the wearer. Using an eclectic mix of materials such as silk, lether, metaol, plastic an glass, Kagami’s conceptual pieces are always informed by his study of architecture.

Anatomy1 Side View

The Anatomy1 Ensemble (2007) was originally featured in the Museum at FIT’s 2008 show, Gothic: Dark Glamour, but it can also currently be seen as part of Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT, on view through April 20th, 2019.

Anatomy1 Ensemble

Eye On Design: Kyoto Table By Shiro Kuramata

Kyoto Table
Photos By Gail

Born in Tokyo in 1934, Shiro Kuramata studied at the city’s polytechnic high school and Kuwsawa Design School. He revolutionized design in postwar Japan by considering the relationship between form and function, adhering to minimalist ideas but embracing surrealism as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kuramata began to use new technologies and industrial materials. He was inspired by Ettore Sottsass and joined the Memphis Group at its founding in 1981.

Kyoto Table Detail
Kyoto Table, Detail

The Kyoto Table (1983) is an example Kuramata’s innovative use of concrete and glass to create minimalist form with surface interest. Kuramata’s furniture and interiors have been influential both is his native country and abroad.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

World’s Largest Rilakkumo Plush Bear

Giant Rilakkuma Plush Bear
Photo By Gail

Do you fantasize  about owning a Plush Bear that’s as tall as, and likely (hopefully) much, much rounder than you are? If so, then your search is over, and all you need to make that dream a reality is 1,300 American dollars! Here’s what I can tell you about the World’s Largest Rilakkuma Plush:

“Brought to you by San-X Japan, Rilakkuma is loved for his cuddly cuteness and tendency to to be lazy. Rilakkuma is big in Japan, big in America, and now . . . BIG in your house! This gigantic jumbo plush measures in at 6 feet tall and weighs 24 lbs. He’s so big, you could probably just use him as a chair. But if not, he definitely makes the comfiest BFF ever. Includes signature zipper and blue polka dot material inside.”

$1,300 you say? I say: worth it.

Spotted in ItSugar on Broadway in Downtown NYC.

Japanese Confectioner Malebranche Launches Maru Cha Cha Cookie With a Fun Party At The Whitney!

Maru Cha Cha Packaging
All Photos By Gail

Food and Art go together; so what better venue could there be for throwing a cookie launch party than an actual art museum? We were recently invited to the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort Street to celebrate leading Japanese French-style confectioner Malebranche’s U.S. launch of its Maru Cha Cha matcha-based  biscuits, and the evening was a terrific mix of food, art and Japanese culture.

Whitney Museum Exterior Elevation
Whitney Museum with the High Line in the Foreground

The event went beyond the traditional cocktail party to include not only cocktails and delicious passed appetizers, but also tastings of the unique Maru Cha Cha cookies, including an indulgent Trifle dessert recipe by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Anthony. Guests had the chance to meet and mingle with the Japanese brand-influencers behind Malebranche  (a high end bakery in Japan) and to learn what Matcha — the key ingredient in the Maru Cha Cha biscuits — is all about.

Malebranche Interior
Above and Below, Inside a Malebranche Bakery Cafe in Kyoto.

Malebranche Interior

Maru Cha Cha Signage

According to a post by http://inthekitchen.org, Matcha is a powdered green tea made from the young tea leaves that are ground in a stone mill. Matcha can be enjoyed in thick (koicha) or thin (usucha) variations. Koicha, the base of Maru Cha Cha biscuits, is made with higher quality matcha, resulting in a richer flavor and allowing you to taste the inherent sweetness of the green tea.

“We believe that, as of late, Japanese cuisine and culture are gaining immense popularity in the U.S., but we barely see the Japanese biscuits or snacks,” said Satoshi Isohata, director of Malebranche. “As our Maru Cha Cha biscuits are inspired by Kyoto culture and tradition, we hope that they will become a new treat of choice for New Yorkers’ daily routines and, at the same time, one that will give them a taste of Japan.”

James Beard Award Winning Chef Michael Anthony
Chef Michael Anthony Addresses Party Guests

Similar to green tea, matcha holds even greater nutritional value. And since you are consuming the entire leaf, rather than drinking a steeped tea, you get a higher concentration of antioxidants. These antioxidants of matcha are proven to help fight cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, boost calorie burn and even offer some anti-aging benefits. In addition, matcha is rich in the amino acid L-theanine, which can help you focus and reduce stress and anxiety.

Biscuits and Tea

Beyond the benefits of matcha as a main ingredient, Maru Cha Cha biscuits are gluten free, do not use animal fat and are a great treat to snack on alone or paired with tea and coffee. The simple ingredients include rice flour, sesame oil, cocoa butter and matcha.

Steak Tartare

Some of the savory snacks we enjoyed at the party included  flavorful Steak Tartare (pictured above).

Charred Broccoli
Charred Broccoli with Shaved Parmesan

Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad

Maru Cha Cha Trifle Dessert
Maru Cha Cha Trifle Dessert Recipe By Chef Michael Anthony

Ikebana

While we took our desserts out onto the terrace to enjoy the lovely views, we were treated to an authentic Japanese live performance of Ikebana — the Japanese art of Flower Arrangement! The Ikebana artist took the display from the state you see above…

Maru Cha Cha Ikebana Completed

To this beautiful finished composition! It was fun to watch it all come together!

Maru Cha Cha Party Jazz Band

There was also a Jazz Trio! They really thought of everything to create a very memorable — and delicious — evening!

Maru Cha Cha cookies are available for purchase in specialty stores, including Dean & DeLuca, for a suggested retail price of $8 per 10-piece box and $14 per 20-piece box. They are also sold at Bon Marché in Paris and by Malebranche in Kyoto, Japan.

Maru Cha Cha Party Crowd

Everyone Had Fun!

Whitney Terrace View

And just look at that view!