Thursday, October 18, 2007

At The Asian 2: History

Alongside the "Stylized Sculpture" fashion exhibit, Sugimoto has installed a show that's been traveling around the world for a few years, called "History of History."

It's an artfully displayed show of antiquities mixed in with a few modern photographs and artifacts, which are all owned by Sugimoto himself, who is obviously not in the "starving artist" category.

The entryway is filled with fossils, ranging in size from tiny to huge, and a large red fossil with vegetation (not pictured) may be my favorite object in the entire museum.

Sugimoto loves to play with "meta" ideas in his photography, such as photographing Madame Tussaud wax figurines of historical characters and somehow making them look bizarrely real. However, he's a good and simple writer who avoids nonsensical art writing, and again the brochure he and the Asian have produced describing all the works is wonderful and free.

I don't mean to pick on Kenneth Baker at The SF Chronicle, because he mostly avoids the worst of art-speak in his essays, but in his review of the exhibit he does give us sentences like this: "An array of proto-Noh theatrical masks, of folk origin, awakens the thought of any single facial disposition as a visible sliver of ineffable spiritual and human possibility." (For the whole thing, click here.)

In conjunction with these two shows, there's also a three-film series curated by Sugimoto on $5 Thursday evenings at 6:00 PM in Samsung Hall. It starts off tonight, Thursday the 18th, with a legendary erotic film from 1973 called "The World of Geisha" directed by Tasumi Kumashiro, which was banned for its sexual explicitness. Next Thursday the 25th it's "The Face of Another," the weirdly fabulous Kobo Abe/Teshigahara/Takemetsu follow-up to "The Woman in The Dunes." November 8 features Suzuki's "Tokyo Drifter," a 1960s mod gangster film that's almost pure fun.

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