Fine art gets contemporary with two new exhibitions

East meets west at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).

Two exhibitions, “Contemporary Outlook: Japan” and “Contemporary Outlook: German Photography” present recent art works from two different parts of the world. The exhibitions, which opened July 2, are housed in the MFA’s Rabb Gallery.

The Japanese and German collections are the first of Stover’s “Contemporary Outlook” series and will remain on display through Feb. 10, 2008.

MFA spokesperson Courtney Samuelson said the first two exhibitions bear several similarities.

“I think one of the main things about them is they’re taking tradition and using it with the evolution of ideas and making them more contemporary,” she said.

Samuelson said “Contemporary Outlook: Japan” blended Japanese and Western styles within its 30-piece collection of works from after World War II.

“The exhibition shows common Japanese culture focusing on a broad range of things,” she said.

Themes like feminism, minimalism and pop can be seen in the wide range of artworks. Daido Moriyama’s “Midnight” starkly portrayed a close-up image of a woman’s face. The photograph’s black-and-white quality makes the woman’s attempt to hold her eye open increasingly dramatic.

“Fish Eyes – Sixth of Ten Brothers,” by Chinatsu Ban, is a fiber glass elephant painted in yellow, pink and blue. The pop art work is brightly decorated and stands beside three fiber glass discs.

Samuelson said Takashi Murakami, an anime and cartoon enthusiast, was the most well-known artist on display. His large-scale acrylic painting, “If the Double Helix Wakes Up,” portrays an assortment of oddly-shaped orbs floating through a yellow and blue open space.

“Contemporary Outlook: German Photography” features about 20 works by 20th-century German photographers. The works concentrated on two main approaches, Samuelson said.

“The first form is where they take standing pictures from a different vantage point,” she said. “It turns everything on its head.”

This approach, pioneered by L’aacute;szl

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