All posts tagged: Tokyo

Anthony Lister’s “Rude Words” in Tokyo Streets and Gallery Land Him in The Slammer

Anthony Lister’s “Rude Words” in Tokyo Streets and Gallery Land Him in The Slammer

AL: “Just spent 12 days in prison in Tokyo”

BSA: Fuck! Was the food as good as the art?

AL: Nope. The exhibition went great. The street stuff not so great. The food was terrible and was served cold.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)

And with that Anthony Lister summarized his experience to us on the streets, in the gallery and, unfortunately in a Tokyo slammer.

In town for the occasion of his first-ever solo exhibition in Japan, Listers’ new fascinating works wowed opening night February 7 on a dual bill with Brian Leo at the Megumi Ogita Gallery.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)

But oh the travails of a wandering art prankster. Prior to his trip to Japan, Mr. Lister was wondering if he would learn some rude words in Japanese while in Tokyo…we are certain that his stint in jail gave him opportunity to expand his Japanese vocabulary into something a bit more colorful.

The swashbuckling Lister shares with BSA readers some of his artistic interventions on the streets of Tokyo…quite possibly the cause of his 12 day hoosegow “residency”.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Boo! Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
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Augmented Impressionism

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Specter in Vladivostok, Nahodka and Tokyo

Street Artist and fine artist Specter hails from Brooklyn but has been traveling a lot and has been creating some interesting work in Russia and Tokyo, two places not typically mentioned during Western discussions of the street art scene – but we’d be remiss to miss.

“I was invited to Russia from my friend Pasha Shugurov who runs the artist collective 33plus1,” he says as he discusses the new piece called “Chromatin Structure”.

Specter “Chromatin Structure”. Vladivostok, Russia. (photo © Specter)

For the artists in our audience who were doodling in the margins of their science textbook during class, the chromatins are the combination of DNA and proteins that make up the contents of the nucleus of a cell.  The work is installed in Sister City Park. Also in the town of Nahodka, a port city in Primorsky Krai, he painted a geodesic dome with art students from the university there.

While in Tokyo Specter returned to some of the faux realism that we have become familiar with in his work in the last few years, recreating a façade that blends seamlessly, yet attracts your attention. The “Bodega Window” here is in the Harajuku Fashion District known for the chic shops and slick shoppers.

Specter “Chromatin Structure” in progress. Vladivostok, Russia. (photo © Specter)

Specter “Chromatin Structure” in progress. Vladivostok, Russia. (photo © Specter)

Specter. Geodesic Dome done in collaboration with art students from the university in Nahodka, Russia. (photo © Specter)

Specter “Bodega Window” in the Harajuku Fashion District of Tokyo, Japan. (photo © Specter)

Specter “Bodega Window” in the Harajuku Fashion District of Tokyo, Japan. (photo © Specter)

Specter’s project in Vladivostok was made possible from a grant from the US Consulate in Vladivostok and curator Kendal Henry.



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Street Artist Don John’s Experience in Tokyo

As we listen to, watch, and read the cautiously optimistic developments at the nuclear power plant in Japan and consider the ever-growing estimates of the number of people lost during the last week and a half, we send our condolences and support and reflect on our fragility and survival. In ancient times populations fell victim to natural disasters as we do today. While we are better prepared in many ways, that preparation is tempered now as we watch our outstanding technological advances turn into our nightmare, compounding the severity of damage rendered by the natural world. As leaders in Japan talk about using this crisis to learn, we reflect on nuclear facilities, deep water oil rigs, and technologically lethal implications of our own creation.

(Please see 5 ways to help at the end of this posting)


Tokyo at Night (photo © Don John)

Street Artist Don John lives in Copenhagen but happened to be on vacation in Tokyo when the calamitous earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck the coast of Japan. Nearing the end of holiday there with his girlfriend, some of his recent wheat pasted portraits had just appeared on streets in the Shibuya area of Tokyo.

brooklyn-street-art-don-john-tokyo-03-11-4-web Don John (photo © Don John)

The imagery for these pieces, developed far before the earthquake, in some ways mirror the shocked and saddened visages of the citizenry. Nonetheless, Don John reports that most people in Tokyo took the unfolding events in stride and reached out to one another and strangers to assist in a time of uncertainty and need. See some of his observations further down the page.


Don John (photo © Don John)


Don John (photo © Don John)


Don John (photo © Don John)

“We were amazed about how friendly and helpful Japanese people are, even in a situation like this. All trains stopped in Tokyo after the earthquake and we had 5 kilometers to walk back to our hotel. This super friendly guy offered to walk with us all the way to make sure that we found it. Having been around the people that are affected by this disaster makes it even more terrible to follow the developments in the news.” ~ Don John


Don John (photo © Don John)


Don John (photo © Don John)

From Sarah Milner Barry at New York University News, here are 5 ways you can help our brothers and sisters in Japan:

Text REDCROSS to 90999 or JAPAN to 80888

Each text to REDCROSS will provide $10 for the Red Cross, and each JAPAN text will send $10 to the Salvation Army. If texting JAPAN, make sure you respond YES when you receive a “thank you” message. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Visit the Google crisis response site

The site provides an aggregate of different websites accepting online donations, including the International Medical Corps, UNICEF and the Japanese Red Cross Society. The website is also continuously updated to provide the latest information about the crisis.

Donate via iTunes

Apple has created a simple donation page on the iTunes homepage where you can send money to the Red Cross in just a few clicks.

Spread awareness on Twitter

Here are some key hashtags to remember:
#Jishin: focuses on general earthquake information
#Anpi: confirms the safety of individuals or places
#Hinan: lists evacuation information
#311care: provides medical information for the victims
#PrayforJapan: shows general support and best wishes for victims of the crisis

Attend NYU’s vigil for Japan on Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at Gould Plaza, on 4th Street between Greene Street and Washington Square East.

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What IS Refrigerator Art? Important Insights

Is it still Refrigerator Art if it’s in the Gallery?

Periodically you hear an artist or gallerist or curator or critic posit the definition of what exactly is Refrigerator Art – and where it belongs, who should do it, who can talk about it, who can see it, and who can put it on sneakers. The topic usually wends its way through outrage and umbrage; charges are made, credentials are laid out, points are counted, offense is taken and some dumb-butt is finally put in their rightful place. Brooklyn-Street-Art-Japanese-Refrigerator-art

In recent years Refrigerator Art has gone truly global, as in this piece from Tokyo.

It’s a complicated and amazingly important topic that splits into a multitude of incredibly perplexing considerations; At the apples’ core is this saucy question: What is Refrigerator Art? More importantly, does it stop being Refrigerator Art once you see it in a gallery?  If it was originally stuck on the Refrigerator and it was carried into the gallery and hung on a nail, is it still Refrigerator Art?


Early Frigeritti, one of the precursors to today’s Refrigerator Art, was primarily text based. In fact, many frigeratti writers eventually expanded their expression to areas of today’s Refrigerator Art scene. A casual kitchen passersby may not decipher the messages in these colorful “tags”, as they’re intended to be understood by peers only. (photo © Kodak Girl)


A Refrigerator piece in situ showing some more of the character-based art of today’s Refrigerator Art Scene.

If a Refrigerator Artist created a stencil for the refrigerator and then they used that same stencil and spray can to create a piece on a canvas, does it stop being Refrigerator Art?  If a museum or collector commissions a well-known Refrigerator Artists to create a brand new piece to be displayed in a show, has that artist become detached from their Refrigerator roots and are they now a Jellout?  If the refrigerator has been discarded and is now on the sidewalk waiting for the Sanitation Department, is this Public Art, Ephemeral Art, or a Temporary Sculpture Installation? And what if that Sanitation Department truck hits a giant friggin pothole and the refrigeration flies through the air and lands on a dancer in her leotard smoking on the sidewalk outside of class?  Is it Refrigerator Performance Art?

And what about Refrigerator cred?


Some trend watchers have noted what may be a new Avant Garde in the Refrigerator Scene, like this Troll sculpture installation inside the fridge, by heady conceptualist Respecter.

Tad Tusnarky, an opinion writer for the influential and Senior Fellowe at the Wetbar Art Institute in Stamford, Connecticut, cautions that peoples understanding about Refrigerator Art is clouded by opinions that are not in alignment with his. He complains “It’s frustrating to see people who really know nothing about the whole Refrigerator Scene and haven’t done any reading about it in college trying to define it”. For him, the mainstream exposure of frigeritti and Refrigerator Art and its movement into galleries and museums has come with a high price. “It has, in my mind,” warns Tad, “diluted what is required to achieve genuine respect in the Refrigerator Scene. In addition, people don’t know enough about what I think.”


Live kitchen performance is pushing the definition of Refrigerator Art into it’s outer limits, as in this recent underground piece by an anonymous artist performed in Bushwick, Brooklyn – a veritable Refrigerator Art hotbed for experimentation.

Maytagger, a respected New York large appliance artist who’s been getting up since back in the day when there was no “Refrigerator Scene” has no stomach for spoiled newcomers who do a couple of pieces, snap them with their smart phone and then rush to publish them on Flickr or a so-called “Refrigerator Art” blog.

“We created art for the refrigerator, not ‘Refrigerator Art’.  The Internet and galleries have ruined everything. This stuff is limp – we were crisp.  It actually kind of boils my brocolli because a lot of these kids out here today just use markers and crayons and stick their paper to the fridge with a magnet or clip – that’s not real Refrigerator Art. If you don’t use finger paint and scotch tape you’re announcing to everybody in the kitchen what you are; Snack Meat.”


Contemporary poet of the Refrigerators, Knee-Finger, frequently uses the doors of fridges as veritable journals to express existential internal longings and wonderings.

Whatever your take on it, and let’s face it, everyone has an opinion about Refrigerator Art these days, it’s not likely to slow its ever-evolving permutations on iceboxes across the world today.  We’re going to keep chasing the fridges even if they roll out of of kitchens and into the museum. Whatever you call it, we’ll keep plugged into the exploding refrigerator scene as long as it keeps running.


Christina, a new artist on the refrigerator, may provide insight to dramatic trends of the future by mixing the character based with the text based in an old school/new school mashup of sorts.

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Upper Playground And Good Smile Co. Present: David Choe and James Jean “LA Secret Studio” (Tokyo, Japan)

David Choe

Good Smile Co. and Upper Playground Present:
Works by David Choe and James Jean

Tokyo, Japan [10/17/10] — Good Smile Co. with support from Upper Playground are pleased to present the work of two of contemporary art’s finest talents, David Choe and James Jean in Tokyo, Japan. The show gets the name ‘LA Secret Studio’ from the large warehouse studio set up in Los Angeles by David Choe, James Jean and Good Smile Co. – under the idea that the artists would be able to create in the large studio without the constraints of space and distractions of the public. The show will feature a display of some of David and James’ most famous works, clips from a documentary film, limited edition prints of their work, and a display of new pieces created in the LA Secret Studio which have never been publicly seen before.

The respective careers and backgrounds of David Choe and James Jean mirror the differences and similarities between their artist styles with an uncanny ability. Where David dropped out of art school at early age and fueled his artwork by the experiences he picked up as nomadic traveller, James worked diligently at the theory behind his craft to become known for his exquisite illustrations and won a multitude of awards for his commercial work. Artistically, Jean takes deliberate and almost ornate strokes in his work and creates with a refined intricacy, where Choe paints with violently wild lines of vivid colors which portray immediate emotions. But both paths and styles have led to very similar success with each of them becoming staples in the fine art world – and although each artist possesses a unique and immediately recognizable style, the undeniable genius behind both of their work has become inherently similar.

The exhibition will occur at Parco Factory (Shibuya Parco, Part 1, 6th Floor) in Tokyo, Japan on October 29th, 2010 and runs daily until November 14th, 2010.

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