Set amongst steaming rainforests amid luscious vegetation with the mere sound of wildlife for company, it may seem no wonder that El Otro Lado has been fashioned into a “Congo Art Chic” boutique. But the hotel owned by the Spanish family Eleta is far from the jungles of Africa. Literally translated as “The Other Side,” the multicolor property is located on an island across from the UNESCO-listed fortified town of Portobelo on the Caribbean side of Panama.
by Robert Michael Poole
Hotel Max, Seattle’s downtown boutique art hotel, has revealed its latest collaboration, teaming up with legendary local independent record label Sub Pop to combine music and art in its lobby – and beyond.
Art Fair Tokyo revealed its line-up for the 2014 edition at press conference on Monday at Palace Hotel Tokyo, presenting a broadening of its content in both art form and origins of the works on show. Japan’s biggest art event returns from March 7-9 at Tokyo International Forum, and as in previous editions, will feature selections of items of antiquity, ceramics and modern art.
While the works of master ukiyo-e artist Hokusai are world famous, the talent of the daughter who followed in his footsteps has been difficult to evaluate. Many of the works by Katsuhika Oi have proven hard to identify or been lost with time, which makes the retrospective now on show in Harajuku all the more vital.
Times gone by are often treasured in retrospect, but rarely as they were actually experienced. Tony Bennett grew up in the golden age of American popular music, listening to the standards as they were first being released, working with the icons of the early 20th century, and then joining their ranks during the 1950s pre-rock’n’roll era as he made his own name. Spending time with him now feels magical in the moment, partly due to the feeling of warmth, honesty, and star quality of a man who can tell tales of Billie Holiday first hand — but also because at the age of 87, it’s clear that his love for being onstage has not ebbed one bit.
Located for the past three years in Tokyo’s up-and-coming Bakurocho gallery district, Tobin Ohashi Gallery is run by American Bob Tobin and Japanese Hitoshi Ohashi, an affable duo who have been making concerted efforts to inject some dynamic, freewheeling social life into what can be an overly closed gallery scene in the Japanese capital. Ohashi leads regular tours for collectors as part of his Tokyo Art Collectors Group, while Tobin often hosts informal mixers over wine and snacks at both the gallery and the couple’s art-filled residence in Roppongi, whenever visiting artists are in town.
Chiang Mai, Thailand’s green and pleasant northern city near the intersection of Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand — Southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle” — has been a hot spot for travelers for generations for its walled city of temples, massage parlors and mystical mountain basin setting. But it’s not all elephant rides and cooking classes anymore; a new influx of tourism has catalyzed the regional melting pot of cultures into a new and flourishing arts scene, with galleries and cafe culture blooming all over, from the Ping River in the east to Nimmanhaemin Road in the west. ARTINFO gives you the lowdown on six of the best, as well as essential intel for spending a few days immersed in Chiang Mai’s burgeoning art scene.
Japanese architect Toyo Ito has been named the 2013 Laureate and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner at the age of 71. The prize is considered architecture’s “Nobel” and is given each year to a living architect who demonstrates talent, vision, and commitment consistently, while providing “significant contributions to humanity and the environment through the art of architecture.”
When Leslie Kee attended the opening of his first gallery exhibition in November 2011, it was the culmination of years of work as a foreign photographer working in Japan. The series, titled Forever Young, featured glossy shots of full male nudes, stylized to match his commercial fashion work, but unretouched and presented as art. Last week though, he earned a combination of notoriety and heroism when he was arrested and thrown in jail on charges of obscenity for the second exhibition of the series, again at the Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, which featured similar full-frontal shots of men with erections. BLOUIN ARTINFO Japan sat down with him to discuss his story, and the boundaries of art and pornography.
Francois Curiel, Christie’s President in Asia, was in high spirits during his latest visit to Japan. And no wonder, the auction house had just announced 2012 sales of US$6.27 billion, up 10% on 2011, and its Japan office has recently moved to a prestigious new location in Marunouchi whilst celebrating its 40th anniversary. ArtInfo sat down with Mr. Curiel to discuss Christie’s strategy in North East Asia in 2013.
Following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan, photographer Leslie Kee, renowned for his celebrity portraits, began to document the aftermath. Six months later, he exhibited the photographs at a gallery in Omotesando Hills, central Tokyo. The exhibition, titled Love & Hope featured prominently a set of images with Japan’s most successful pop star, Ayumi Hamasaki. Joining the exhibition as a guest was actress Erika Sawajiri, Japan’s most talked about celebrity of the year, representing the first ever between meeting the two.
Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee may be renowned for nude shots of celebrities, models and artists but when faced with the March 11 earthquake he was quick to turn his camera to the disaster, capturing and publicizing the aftermath, before devising a plan to raise money the best way he knew how. “I spent two days meeting soldiers, children, old people and it changed my life,” Kee said at the launch of “Love & Hope,” a ¥5,250 book containing his shots of the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Namie Amuro.
Yoko Ono caused a commotion at the Audi Forum in Harajuku on Friday when she walked in wearing her trademark black shades to announce a new photo exhibition.
Running from December 4, 2010 until January 5, 2011, the Kishin Shinoyama Photo Exhibition brings together intimate original images from the 1980 photo shoot for the cover of album “Double Fantasy,” featuring John Lennon and Yoko Ono kissing in front of The Dakota building in New York.
Getting time to sit down with celebrity photographer Leslie Kee during his utterly hectic schedule to speak in detail about his career was the easy part: getting him to stop speaking requires a trickier sleight of hand.
The Singapore-born and Tokyo-based Kee has a thick resume, photographing such uber-celebs as Ayumi Hamasaki, Zhang Ziyi, Kumi Koda, Choi Ho Jin and Beyonce among countless others for magazines, books, posters and commercials. Recently, his proclivity for taking photos of subjects unclothed and au naturale has sent shock waves through conservative Asia, but Kee sees it as a revelation and hopefully a revolution in an entertainment and fashion industry that lacks aesthetic diversity.