Exhibit Information

Asia Society

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Website http://asiasociety.org

YOSHITOMO NARA: NOBODY’S FOOL

Opening: 9/9/2010 - Closing: 1/2/2011

YOSHITOMO NARA: NOBODY’S FOOL

[9 September 2010 to 2 January 2011]

It may well be Overkill—unless you are a fanatic-admirer of Japanese avant-gardistes—but the Asia Society is now devoting its entire-museum-space to Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool.

Nara is said to be one of the most influential Neo-Pop artists today. At the Asia Society, more than 100 art-works—including drawings, paintings, sculptures, & installation-works—will emphasize the relationship of Nara’s art to Rock & Punk-Music, an inspiration & major reference-point in his work.

Born in 1959 in Japan, where he presently lives and works, Nara is internationally-recognized for his art-works, which have inspired an enormous Cult-Following among youth in Japan & throughout Asia.

Nara’s work is often associated with Manga and the Japanese Pop-Movement of the 1990s. This show is designed to shed New-Light on the artist’s Practice, focusing on the influence of Rock & Punk on Nara, through the exhibition’s Content, Thematic-Focus, & unsual Installations.

There are three thematic-sections: Isolation, Rebellion, & Music. Each section traces the development of Nara’s recurring Characters, Motifs, & Subject-Matter.

Enhancing these artworks, there’s also a new Large-Scale, Site-Specific Installation, as well as two other Installations, each incorporating Nara’s drawings, paintings, & various objects selected by the artist.

The first section, Isolation, includes paintings, drawings, & sculptures, many of which depict solitary, wide-eyed girls or dogs, seemingly deep-in-thought. Early works are drawn in a loose style that reflects a Sense of Loneliness relating to Nara’s own childhood as a "latchkey” child, living in the small city of Hirosaki in Northern-Japan.

The paintings of a Solitary-Girl—with an oversized-head & large eyes—are Minimalistic. Some commentators believe them to be Emotionally-Intense. [Two immense white models of this Girl are now standing on Park-Avenue Medians!]

Another Iconic-Character is a White-Dog, symbolizing feelings of Alienation, a recurring-theme in Nara’s work. There are also three larger-than-life-sized fiberglass Dog–Sculptures, standing on stilts.

Rebellion features Nara’s intimately-scaled drawings, with Scribbled-Texts that speak to such emotions as Anger, Frustration, & Exuberance.

The third section, Music, highlights the importance of Music to Nara. Music permeates & animates Nara’s practice, which is characterized by the creation of an Internalized-World that resonates with his fans & followers around the world.

Nara’s art reflects the Rebellious-Spirit of Rock & Punk: the feelings of Hopelessness, Frustration, & Disaffection shared by Restless-Youth. Such lyrics provide the sub-text for many of Nara’s works.

Song-titles & lyrics are often used as image-titles or are written directly on the drawings. Other references are more overt, like a painting of a girl named Ramona with an air of Defiance, a reference to the Ramones. [Wow! How Topical!]

Also included in the Music section of the exhibition are painted Ceramic-Vessels & Plates, displayed alongside 12-inch record-album-jackets selected by Nara from his own collection. Nara has designed album-covers for bands such as The Star Club, one of Japan’s first Punk-Bands, and the German New-Wave group, The Birdy Num Nums.

Nara’s art was also used for the CD-cover of the 2001 single "I’ll Take the Rain” by R.E.M., whose animated Music-Video was based on Nara’s work.

There is also a special Installation-Structure intended to evoke an Artist’s-Studio, a Concert-Stage, & a Carnival-Tent—sites that the artist finds most familiar, exciting, & inviting, respectively. Two other house-like installations from their earlier collaborations, Untitled [formerly Home] & Doors, are included.

Half the exhibition’s title, Nobody’s Fool, is drawn from the title-track of Dan Penn’s 1973 Southern Soul-Album.

An American songwriter & singer, Penn is somewhat reclusive, avoiding the limelight to maintain his Creativity & Independence. Nara’s choice of this title—with references to Penn in his work—are his homage to the Individualism of a musician he reveres. [Right On!]

The Asia Society collaborated with the Park Avenue Armory, where Nara & designer Hideki Toyoshima’s collaborative-team, YNG, held an Open-Studio, from 23-27 August, to complete works for the current exhibition. The team rebuilt the installation-work Home, for the Asia Society’s galleries.

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