* Yoshiro Takeuchi @ hpgrp Tokyo / B1 5-1-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote to Harajuku Station, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda/Ginza/Hanzomon Lines to Omotesando Station). Takeuchi returns to the gallery with two years' worth of new paintings, beguiling and minimalist pools of color surrounded by almost ornate ribboned borders.
* Dirty Projectors (Brooklyn) @ Emo's / 2015 E Riverside Dr, 9p/$22. Confession: I know Dirty Projectors for the girls' wordless harmonizing over "A Peace of Light" (on The Roots' wonderful "How I Got Over" LP), that and "Stillness is the Move". Not Dave Longstreth's decade-long, multilayered project and pretty kick-ass live band. That's changing w/ new LP "Swing Lo Magellan". Call me what I am, a johnny-come-super-lately, but I dig it: astute and emotive, almost totally genre-less. w/ Wye Oak
* Ryoichi Saito 「如是」 @ Gallery TOSEI / 5-18-20 Chuo, Nagano-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Shin-Nakao Station, Exit 1-2). "Nyoze" is a Buddhist term roughly translating to "like this", as an opener to a sutra. It's a good indicator of the Tokyo-based photographer's new show, ephemeral and luscious gelatin silver prints of floodplains, mirrored lakes, and weathered plains.
* Hiroko Osugi @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya). The Fukuoka-born shod master delights in her continued prowess with ink and calligraphy as a contemporary art form.
* "Hausu" (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). The now almost-monthly late-night screenings of this spastic art-house horror classic returns! Think black cats are the only harbingers of evil? You haven't met Auntie's Himalayan! With enough painted landscapes, in-camera FX, fight-sequence theme-songs and cute girls to overwhelm even the most discerning crowd. See it on the big screen, again! ALSO SAT
* "Another" (dir. Takeshi Furusawa, 2012) @ TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills / 6-10-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Toei Oedo/Hibiya Lines to Roppongi Station). "Another" began as a mystery horror novel, then a serialized manga, then a recent 12-part TV anime series. Thank you, Japan, for your thoroughness! I really dig this: it's a middle-school drama where young dude and his eerie, doll-like classmate (played by mop-topped cutie Ai Hashimoto, who was the titular villain in "Sadako 3D") investigate the senseless, violent murders of their classmates.
* nisennenmondai @ clubasia / 1-8 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 11p/3500 yen. Tokyo's all-female, instrumental krautrock champs just clobber the hell out of clubasia. Think rubber-band basslines that slap against your spinal column, searing guitar loops, and Sayaka's ferocious spitfire drumming.
* tokyoDOLORES "Bionic Trigger" Summer Showcase @ Differ Ariake / 1-3-25 Ariake, Koto-ku (Rinkai Line to Kokusai-Tenjijo Station), 4p/4000 yen. Earlier this year, Japan's premiere pole-dance team tokyoDOLORES defended Italy from a deep-space viral terror. Led by Cay Izumi, the girls must now defend Japan against certain danger!
* "Possession" (dir. Andrzej Żuławski, 1981) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 7p. Rejoice, for this deeply disturbing (and blood-drenched) divorce drama, which won lead Isabelle Adjani the Palme d'Or, sees the light of day once again! The disintegration of a marriage is at the heart of this psychological horror film, which somehow balances political undertones, splatter SFX, and superb cinematography in one unclassifiable, unforgettable cinematic package. LIST-recommended! ALSO MON
* Yuuji Kaida "KAIJU" @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). You need not be a geek to know Kaida, aka Japan's "monster painter" and top-notch fantasy illustrator. He's responsible for contributing artwork to Godzilla, Transformers, Gundam, and decades of general mind-blowing monster design.
* "Tamed Territory" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. I see three levels of abstraction, or tweaking of reality, in this group show, focused on animals and their environments. Areca Roe uses the zoo as backdrop to her photographs, manufactured dioramas of "realistic spaces" for their animal inhabitants. Calder Kamin's ceramics tread the spectrum of pure kitsch—candy-colored and nostalgic, Koons-like—and disturbing, for even her sculpted roadkill appears cute under gloss and glaze. Casey Polachek's smallish-scale paintings (besides one rendering of a mammoth puppy frolicking in the snow) appear ostensibly the most lifelike, but in fact Polachek extracted elements from multiple photographs and studies—like painterly, analogue Photoshop—to execute his scenes. They have little to no semblance with reality beyond memory and imagination, yet his compositions are convincingly real.
* "Manscape: Male as Subject and Object", curated by Christopher Eamon @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces. There is a disclaimer on the gallery door noting that this group show "may not be suitable to all viewers". Sounds like my kind of show! But seriously, Eamon pulls off a thoughtful dissection of traditional male imagery and hierarchy in art via three young and compelling female artists (Mariah Robertson, Michele Abeles, and Adina Popescu) and tempered by a less-known male some 25 years their senior (John Massey). Photography is the focal point here: Robertson's two-pronged visual assertion of lone phalluses infringing onto optical illusion backdrops and Abeles' stealthy still-lifes (in one, she makes a compelling critical portrait of blue-drenched objectifier Yves Klein). Popescu gives her male subject a face (in her video "Jeremiah", screened earlier this year in "Blind Cut" at Marlborough Chelsea in NYC), but his voice is really her own words, a dialogue on consumption. Massey is not simply counterbalance here as the sole male artist and older figure. I wonder what the exhibition would be like without him. His contribution, a sensitive gaze into his own head and thoughts via his "Studio Projections" photographs (involving a maquette of Massey's studio and projections of images rephotographed from newspapers in the '70s), gives a vulnerability to this male artist via the admitted failures of depicted male-headed modernist activities. Back to the women: are they striving for the same sort of utopian goals in their respective truncations and takedowns of male imagery? I think when you take these works into the greater contexts of their respective oeuvres—like Robertson's darkroom experimentation and Abeles' continually groundbreaking compositional techniques—then the answer is not so clear. At the very least, I do not see these artists' progresses "destined for failure" like Massey's mining of decades' old modernism.
* Colin Doyle "An Inquiry Concerning" @ Courtyard Garden, AT&T Center / 1900 University Ave, 2nd Fl. This handsome photography presentation by young Austin-based artist Doyle left me hungry for more. And that was after staring for like an hour at the five well-sized prints, each focusing crisply on a single object or several related elements on a non-fussy, usually monochrome backdrop. I felt an intriguing kinship b/w Doyle's compositions and those of camera-geek Christopher Williams, some 30 years Doyle's senior. Both capture the purportedly mundane or banal, boosting that image into something quite beautiful and thought-provoking. Though Williams gets a bit funny sometimes with his bisected cameras and lengthy titles, while Doyle features only one funny print of five, "Picture For Maggie", the oldest work in the show. Compare this— the red funnel, enlarged to bucket proportions and topped off with white powder, floating tuliplike on a just-there clear test-tube—to "Three Lines", both a gigantic staple and three finger-sized black lines forming a most elementary shape. The former feels almost excessive and flashy now, yet it is practically as elegant as can be. Ditto "Six Bricks", a Carl Andre-style array that speaks both to preschool-age counting exercises and my favorite style of Minimalism. Couple these with the blinged-out "Triangle" and the graceful curves and bright colors of "Sum Sum" (refrigerator magnets?), and you have a whole reductive visual language. You might be surprised at how long you spend looking at them.
* "Wish You Were Here" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Nobody in NYC is showing young E. European talent like Ana Cristea. Case in point: laddish Andrej Dubravsky, whose murkily titillating scenes I first discovered via Prague's Jiri Svestka Gallery. Or the jewellike subversion by Oana Farcas (seen her in Copenhagen's LARMgalleri). Their elder Gideon Kiefer rounds out the lot with his subtly surreal scenes. Recommended!
* Yuki Tawada "Burnt Photographs" @ Taro Nasu Gallery / 1-2-11 Higashi-kanda, Chiyoda-ku (Sobu Line to Bakurocho Station). The Shizuoka-born artist returns to the gallery with a truly transformative solo exhibition. She burns inkjet prints and paints them in acrylic, creating a new image phoenix-like from the gnarly, ashen remains of its previous state. Much emotional involvement and sense of place occurs here.
* Katsumi Hayakawa "PHASE III" @ Gallery MOMO / 2F 6-2-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Toei Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). Intricate, gridlike paper structures emulating mathematical formulas, superconductor circuits, futuristic city-plans straight outta "Neuromancer" and a whole helluva lotto other cool stuff.
* Ine Izumi @ Taimatz / 1-2-11 Higashi-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku (JR Sobu Line to Bakurocho Station, Toei-Shinjuku Line to Bakuro-Yokoyama Station). I'm totally a fan of Izumi's thoughtful, delicate ink and acrylic renderings of the mundane, ornamental, and dreamlike. (ENDS SAT)
* Yutokutaishi Akiyama @ Aisho Miura Arts / B1F 2-17-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station). The performance artist, who gained nationwide fame in the '70s by running in the Tokyo gubernatorial election under "politics to be pop art", unveils a new performance work plus Buriki sculpture.
* Keiichi Tanaami @ Nanzuka Underground / B1F 2-17-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station). Tanaami is one of Japan's strongest answers to classic Pop art — think more the acid-toned Chicago school than NYC — which he's been producing since the '60s. This exhibition traces his creative and subversive illustrated history, plus includes a new digital animation. (ENDS SUN)