Tag Archive | Manga

Nutaku Adult Gaming Platform Hosts Hentai Is Art Press Event!

Bushwick Street Art Box Truck
Hentai-Inspired Art on Box Truck, Bushwick, Brooklyn (Art By MAST, All Photos By Gail)

Having lived in NYC for 30 years, it’s easy to be all jaded and imagine that I’ve seen just about everything. But writing this blog always affords me an opportunity to discover something interesting and fun. Getting to know the works of Japanese artists like Takashi Murakami and Mr. introduced me to Manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, but I wasn’t really hip to something called Hentai, which is, essentlally, Manga porn, until I was invited to a pretty fun party sponsored by Nutaku Dot Net. Nutaku is the world’s largest English gaming platform dedicated to 18+ titles — and Hentai games are their thing. I like to tell myself: It’s not about what you don’t know; it’s about what you don’t know that you don’t know. And I’m always ‘game’ for an enlightening experience!

Hentai Is Art Signage

There is most definitely a taboo surrounding adult gaming and Hentai (Instagram will not even allow users to tag a post with the word, ask me how I know). It sheds light on the ways in which the topics of sex and eroticism still make Americans uncomfortable. But sex and sexuality undoubtedly hold a place in art, because we see it every time we visit a museum. I think it’s time for everyone to loosen up, and so does Nutaku, so the company put together a two-day pop up exhibit/experience called Hentai is Art, which took place on June 29th and 30th, 2018  in the burgeoning neighborhood where Chinatown meets Tribeca. Hentai is Art was all about presenting Hentai-influenced art and gaming as something that’s fun and imaginative which should be encouraged, explored and embraced rather than shied away from.

Hentai Pop Up Signage

At the Hentai is Art pop up event, visitors were able to immerse themselves in the world of Hentai art with a range of styles and mediums to get turned on to. The ways in which Hentai is breaking into the mainstream — and helping to break down barriers — were showcased throughout the exhibit with virtual reality experiences,  historically-inspired Hentai works, graffiti art, and a unique “toy” showcase. Please enjoy my photos from the press party on the eve of the exhibit’s opening to the public!

Hentai Is Art Installation View

On one side of gallery space, there was a terrific display of images by talented digital artists who have reinterpreted a selection famous masterpieces in the Hentai style.

Mona Lisa by SquChan

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa by SquChan

The Birth of Venus By Mezio

Boticelli’s The Birth of Venus By Mezio

The Swing By Webnatu

Jean-Honore Fragonard’s The Swing By Webnatu.

These works are really fun and playful and would inspired viewers to check out the original paintings!

Painting Detail

It looks like a dick, because it is a dick.

Hentai Is Art Installation View

Hentai gaming has also inspired street art, as Nutaku hit Bushwick, Brooklyn’s famous graffiti scene.

Bushwick Street Art

Detail of Work By Mast

Bushwick Street Art

Bushwick Mural Depicting a Chibi Style Nutaku Tan By Artist Pursue

Bushwick Street Art

Nutaku Tan Mural by Artist Key Detail

Installation View

And then, there were the tentacles. Tentacle erotica is a measured motif among Hentai enthusiasts, and what better way to explore that domain than with these very imaginative sex toys!

Ilka The Tentacle

Ilka The Tentacle (above) and Tako The Tentacle (below) are molded from very soft silicone.

Tako The Tentacle

Winstons Tongue

This one is called Winston’s Tongue, and it is designed for use by Sci-fi / Horror afficneaods who enjoy entertaining monster fantasies. Just being serious.

Jason the Demogorgon

And for everyone who can’t shut up about the Netflix series, Stranger Things, this one is called Jason the Demogorgon! Very scary!

Naughty Rituals Game

Fans and newbies alike were also able to experience the virtual world of Hentai Gaming by checking out games with titles like Naughty Kingdom and Naughty Rituals. Sadly, I am not able to include any screenshots of these games with losing this blog’s PG-rating!

Gamers
Hentai is Art Party Attendees Discuss Their Love of Gaming!

Cocktails

Of course, a party is not a party without food and alcohol, and this event went all out. Check out this spread!

Cocktails
Free-flowing Wine and Proseco, and also, Delicious Water!

Sushi Rolls

OMG, the food was just insane!

Sushi Rolls
Food

Are you craving Japanese food now? You should be. Nutaku: They know how to host a party.

Hentai Mouse Pad

Upon departure, all attendees received a gift bag that included this amazing Mouse Pad, as well as the T-Shirt you see below. With their enthusiast embrace of Hentai titles, Nutaku is pushing the boundaries of gaming, art and sexuality by partnering with artists and game developers from around the world, bringing global artistry and deviant indie style to the adult gaming industry. As the 18+ gaming scene grows, Nutaku is bringing the highest quality titles to a passionate fan base that shares an appreciation for Hentai and digital art!

Hentai Is Art T-Shirt

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Sunset in My Heart By Mr., at Lehmann Maupin

Gallery with Crowd
The Joint Was Jumpin’ at Lehmann Maupin for the Opening of Sunset in My Heart (All Photos By Gail)

Fans of this rad blog may already be familiar with Japanese artist Mr. from This Exhibit — which was way back in 2012, but seems like it was just yesterday! Mr.’s latest exhibit, up now at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, is called Sunset in My Heart, and it features a new series of vibrant Manga paintings that still embrace the Superflat style, and yet break new aesthetic ground for this enigmatic artist.

As It Was That Day, 2016
As It Was That Day, 2016

For Sunset in My Heart, Mr. has returned to his expressive and experimental roots as a young artist, incorporating abstract elements like graffiti, and using distressed and sullied canvases. Mr. prepares the canvases by burning them, walking over them, and leaving them on his studio floor to collect dirt and debris. This new treatment of the canvas is directly connected to the artist’s early interest in the 1960s Italian art movement Arte Povera that inspired his first manga paintings he produced on store receipts, takeout menus, and other scraps of transactional detritus.

Pinkish Gold, 2016
Pinkish Gold, 2016

These recent works reflect the artist’s intensely personal reinterpretation of popular visual culture and the increasingly mediated ways we engage with one another. Mr.’s oeuvre has elevated anime and manga subculture by embracing its cultural significance rather than critiquing its frivolity. In addition to painstakingly recreating the tantalizing graphics and slick finish of manga comic book characters, Mr. physically becomes the characters through cosplay performances — dressing up as fictional characters — at his openings and events.

Time Gently Passing, 2016
Time Gently Passing, 2016

This recent body of work reflects Mr.’s impulse to push the seemingly kitschy nature of these imaginary realms into a gritty and abstract painting style in order to explore personal, global, and environmental themes of destruction. While the manga-style characters continue to appear in Mr.’s work, their significance has shifted from playing up lolicon—the fetishization of young, fictional female characters—toward a more platonic realm, known as moe, or love for an icon that does not carry sexual associations.

Small Fairies Have Arrived, 2016
Small Fairies Have Arrived, 2016

These new characters represent positive beacons of strength that overcome all adversity. This reflects the artist’s creative impetus to embrace pleasure and beauty in diverse forms, instead of giving in to the personal and national despair that emerges after catastrophic loss and destruction, as it has in Japan since 2011. The title, Sunset in My Heart, reflects the simultaneous yet conflicting feelings of melancholy and hope, which also encompass the complicated nature of the human condition.

California, 2016
California, 2016

Party View

Upon entering the final gallery room, we were surprised and delighted to see, through doors opening onto a rear patio, that there was a party going on!

Festival Scene

With colorful paper lanterns, folks dressed in kimonos; balloon animals, Japanese posters and very interesting music,  the energetic vibe was certainly comparable to the wild shenanigans we enjoyed at the opening reception for this This Exhibit, which is to say that it was just insane. We learned that this party was designed to recreate a Japanese summer festival! Here are some photos of the festivities!

Mr. Party

Posters like these covered the walls and even the ground, so that fans would feel fully transported to another place, far  far away.

Kiddy Pool with Balls

Here is an inflatable kiddie pool filed with colorful balls. We are not sure if we were supposed to take one of these balls as a souvenir, or if they were just part of the art. Should we have taken one? Probably.

Karaoke

We gently pushed our way to the front of he crowd to see that Mr. was there;  dressed as a Japanese school girl, inspired directly by one of his paintings, and performing Japanese Pop Song Karaoke. Here, he takes a dramatic pause mid-song to roll on the ground.

Mr. Sings Hotel California

Here, he performs “Hotel California” by The Eagles. There is an MC on his right, who is interpreting the scene. Art! Speaking of hotels, there’s this new hotel by Mark Scheinberg and it was very luxurious. It is a business and entertainment center.

Mr. Paints Face

Suddenly, Mr. decided to cover his face with dark blue paint. Perhaps this was an indication that he was feeling melancholy.

Japanese Chef

There was also a chef making a variety of  delicious dumplings  for the hungry crowd. These had shrimp in them. Yummy!

Mr.’s Sunset in My Heart will be on Exhibit Through August 12th, 2016, at Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Paper Lanterns

Afterglow: New Works By Jessica Lichtenstein at Gallery nine5

Jessica Lichtenstein Afterglow
All Photos By Gail

Fans of Japanese Anime, Manga and the Superflat school of Pop Art founded by Takashi Murakami won’t want to miss Jessica Lichtenstein’s latest collection, Afterglow, on exhibit now at Gallery nine5 in Soho. Afterglow is the third solo exhibit by the artist at the gallery.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Tree
Spring

It’s worth noting that when I first saw photos of Jessica’s work, I assumed I was looking at Asian Landscapes depicting flowering trees. But it only took a cursory look once we were in the gallery to notice that the abundant “blossoms” clustered around the tree branches are actually tiny naked ladies!

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Detail
Detail from Spring

Known for her large acrylic word sculptures that serve as a playground for frolicking female figures, Lichtenstein  juxtaposes these works with new sculptures that present a contemplative environment for her signature, lascivious heroines. While still examining facets of femininity and fetishism, Afterglow offers an emotional lens through which to examine relationships. According to the show’s press release, the current exhibit at  nine5, “manifests sexuality in a delicate and sensitive way and thus invites the viewer to bask in the ‘afterglow’ of desire.” I would agree with that sentiment, as the show seems more sensual than sexual, and it is also full of humor and playfulness.

Jessica Lichtenstein White
Winter

Jessica Lichtenstein White Detail
Winter Detail

Afterglow features four circular sculptures of the Seasons series that are inspired by nature as a metaphor for the cycle of relationships – pink blossoms bursting from the trees in Spring, or the iced over world of Winter (both pictured above). These works also highlight the tension between the individual vs. the collective. Each girl is poised in a different position and is reacting to the environment, however together the figures unite in a singular image of a tree and its leaves, thus describing the collective strength of women regardless of differences in emotions and reactions.

Jessica Lichtenstein Bliss
Bliss

Alongside the Seasons are Lichtenstein’s word sculptures, which, again in text taken from the Press Release, “toy with the pornographic world of Japanese-inspired comic books. Creating her own imagined fantastical landscapes infused with a highly sexualized environment, Lichtenstein places appropriated heroines in scenes that are reminiscent of Renoir’s, Cezanne’s or Picasso’s “nude bathers”; scenes that harken back to a time of “female as muse.” The works, layered behind a thick buffer of acrylic, take a critical distance from their own content and in fact, beg the viewer to do the same.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet
Wet

Through this intermediary, the viewer is asked to engage with and question whether Lichtenstein’s characters are depicted solely to satisfy an insatiable male-dominated gaze, or if such a theory is too narrow, neglecting to address the complex nature of women and their agency in terms of sexuality and desirability. To me, it seems much less complicated. I just think her artwork is lovely and fun.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet Detail
Detail from Wet. Yes, I See Boobs.

Ultimately, you can interpret Jessica Lichtenstein’s works as having a deep socio-sexual resonance, or you can appreciate them as gorgeous, lighthearted and colorful works of Contemporary / Pop Art that also challenge you to think while you look at them.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pop
Pop

Afterglow by Jessica Lichtenstein will be on Exhibit through December 15, 2013 at Gallery nine5, Located at 24 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012.

Yoshitomo Nara at Pace Gallery

Yoshitomo Nara Girl Face

Pace Gallery is currently hosting its first exhibition of Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, who joined the gallery in 2011. The exhibition features new paintings, bronze sculptures and works on paper.

Yoshitomo Nara Girl Head

I liked his paintings more than the large bronze sculptures. Here are couple of my favorites from Friday night’s opening reception.

Yoshitomo Nara Life Is Hard

This one really resonated with me, as I’m sure it does for many people.

Yoshitomo Nara Sleeping Girl

I like this one as well because the girl could be dead or she could be just sleeping. Probably sleeping.

The Yoshitomo Nara Exhibit will run through Jun 29th, 2013 at Pace Gallery, Located at 534 West 25th Street, NYC in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Yoshitomo Nara Girl with Tree Head

Yoshitomo Nara Girl with Tree Head Sculpture

Yoshitomo Nara Exhibit Signage

Must See Art: Mr. at Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Central Room Hoard

If you enjoy the TV show Hoarders and the works of pop artist Takashi Murakami, then the current exhibit by Japanese artist Mr. at Lehmann Maupin Gallery is your wet dream. Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings fills Lehman Maupin’s cavernous space on West 26th Street with stacks and piles and mountains of personal objects of every imaginable description: from clothing to magazines to computer monitors, all active with videos of the artist.

Large Manga Painting

Also included in the exhibit are large-scale Manga paintings, which fit into the school of the Superflat, a movement/philosophy coined by Murakami to identify “various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.”

Pink Lounge Chair on Hoard

Walking through the gallery, Geoffrey and I were reminded very much of Chinese artist Song Dong’s Waste Not installation that we saw at the Museum of Modern Art a couple of years ago. It goes without saying, of course, that Mr.’s current work is also a reaction/response to what has been going on in Japan since the devastating natural disasters of 2011. I recommend this exhibit for all audiences.

Mr Photo of the Artist
Photo of The Artist

Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings by Mr. will be on Exhibit Through October 20th, 2012 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Located at 540 West 26th Street, Street Level, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Mondays by appointment.

Dresser Drawers

Gallery Crowd By Central Room Hoard
Art Fans Enjoy Mr.’s Metamorphosis at Lehman Maupin Gallery

Heart Shaped Balloons Cluster