Sunday, May 10, 2015

Chiho Aoshima's "Rebirth of the World" at Seattle Asian Art Museum: May 2 - Oct 4 | "Classic French Film Noir: Honor Among Thieves" at Seattle Art Musuem: Apr 2 - May 21

The Japanese urban art underground finally hit the larger US museum-going audience and critical regard with exhibits throughout the mid-2000's assembled by the KaiKai KiKi collective and it's cultural figurehead, Takashi Murakami. Who's "Little Boy: The Art of Japan's Exploding Subculture” exhibit and and more recently the Brooklyn Art Museum's “©Murakami” retrospective covered in the New York Times "Watch Out, Warhol, Here’s Japanese Shock Pop", brought Japan's Otaku-generation anime, design, sculpture, video art to a larger western audience. But it was the proceeding "SuperFlat" touring exhibit that introduced many people to the blissfully macabre transposition of dream and waking world seen in the vibrant surrealistic work of another KaiKai KiKi member, Chiho Aoshima. Her large scale murals and video pieces exhibited a enraptured contradiction in palette, style and subject matter the Los Angeles Times called, "Chiho Aoshima: At Once Childlike and Monstrous". For those who missed it the first time around, a decade later her jubilant psychedelia has returned to Seattle for the Asian Art Museum's, "Rebirth of the World". Of special note the exhibit includes the expansive "Takaamanohara", a second foray into video art again with New Zealand animator Bruce Ferguson as the follow-up to 2005's "City Glow".  

Seattle Art Museum's cinema programming also deserves a mention, as this past season's calendar has been filled with quality repertory and archival works, beginning with a series by one of the defining voices of Italian neo-Realism, "Blowing Up Cinema: The Art of Michelangelo Antonioni". Including the masterful existential puzzlework of "L'Eclipse", the urban feminism of "Le Amiche", the part murder mystery, part postmodern gender commentary classic "Blow Up", another great classic in the form of the tragically hip, haunting observation on the modern disaffected and shattered romances, "L'Avventura" and the surrealistic experimental narrative of alienation and unease set against France's modernist industrial landscapes, "Red Sands". Concurrently SAM has also been running a "Classic French Film Noir: Honor Among Thieves" series, often starring the ineffable cool of Jean Gabin, in seminal genre establishing, and even later color neo-Noir by many of the great names who worked in the style, including Jacques Becker, Louis Malle, Jean Becker, François Truffaut and the master of them all, Jean-Pierre Melville. The nine titles in the series spanning almost four decades of cinema from the genre, "Golden Marie", "Honor Among Thieves", "Bob the Gambler", "Elevator to the Gallows", "The Finger Man", "Army of Shadows", "Le Cercle Rouge", "One Deadly Summer" and "Confidentially Yours".