COOL was born in hope of becoming a bridge to let the art lovers all over the world inspire each other, link together as one, and create a new future in arts. The main contents consist of interviews of both New York-based and international artists and creators, special feature articles, art reports from around the world, reviews and column series. We contribute to the cultural exchange through arts and to the development of the art industry so that people in the world can enjoy arts casually and New York and major cities in the world can connect through the media COOL.
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A charity art auction opening reception at ouchi gallery on March 24th 2009.

The dates: March 24th(Tue)-29th(sun)
Opening reception: 24th(tue) 7pm -10pm
Exhibition: 25th(wed)-29th(sun)-appointment only info@zankandmars.com

42 Japanese artists produce art work for African children in Nigeria, and all the proceeds from sales will be donated. A contribution in the amount of 50 dollars will go to school expenses and uniform fees, so that children can go to the elementary school for one year.

Participating Artists list:

Kyousuke Uchida
Yukari Hirayama
Yuichi Nakashima
Hirokazu Hori
Mikiko Yamabayashi
Mumu Hunaki
Koujun Hiraoka
Yukki Uchida
Genta Takahashi
Fumihiko Yokouchi
Shinobu Kamaukura
Ikko Taniuchi
Makiko Nakamura
chika Yamashita
Megumi Hioki
Yoshimi Ohtani
Daichi Aijima
Masami Higuchi
Emi Harukusa
Akira Ishiguro
Masamitsu Katsu
Takuji Soga
Kosuke Yamawaki
Daisuke Funaki
Saori Louise Tatebe
Kouhei Hatada
Aiko Hayakawa
Aki Kano
Daisuke Kiyomiya
Keiko Fukuda
Sanae Yoshikawa
Fumiko Yoshioka
Siori Kitajima
Koh Murao
Sonomi Kobayashi
Rika Maeda
Yoko Suetsugu
Ayako Bandou
Atsunobu Nakada

arisa itami (curator)
ouchi gallery


By train

A C F to Jay St. Borough Hall.
Exit last car if you are coming from Manhattan
Once you exit stay right out of the turnstiles where you should be across
the street from the Marriott. Proceed down the hill (this is also Myrtle
St.) through the corporate park (Metro Tech) to Flatbush. Make a left on
Flatbush. Walk to Tillary St. and make a right. 170 has the red door and is
directly across the street from McDonalds. Buzz #507.

Q and R Trains.
Exit last car if you are coming from Manhattan.
Stay right as you exit the turnstiles. Once you exit you will see the
Manhattan Bridge. Follow Flatbush as you walk towards the bridge. Walk to
Tillary St. and make a right. 170 has the red door and is directly across
the street from McDonalds. Buzz #507.
03-15-2009 22:00 at Sulu Series: Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery St., New York, 10012

Sulu Series: Bowery Poetry Club "Every 3rd Sunday of the month @ BPC" Door open 8PM General: $8 Students: $5 Started in October 2005, the Sulu Series is a monthly showcase of emerging and established Asian American artists locally and across the country. Others on bill: Stone Forest Ensemble (Hip Hop/Classical/Afrobeat)

Brown Rice Family is today’s freshest world roots band that delivers the message of unity and diversity to the people. BRF firmly believes that the most natural way is the most civilized way and such philosophy is vividly expressed in their musical and visual presentations. BRF shares rhythm driven music that makes everyone dance. Joe Jang’s conscious lyrics and catchy melodies inspire people to sing from their hearts. Virtuosic horn solos will leave everyone all jazzed up. At Brown Rice Family event, you will surely experience many rhythms of the one world. There will be reggae, ska, rock, jazz, African/Jamaican traditional drums, Korean traditional drum, dancehall, and much more… BRF is deeply rooted in the ancient sounds of the world and thus they are the “world roots band.”

Brown Rice Family’s vision is to create originality which will give birth to diversity. BRF musicians have gathered in New York City from different parts of the globe. However, it’s not their differences that make them different, but rather it’s their unity that makes them shine among others even in NYC. BRF is always struggling to understand each other’s cultural and musical differences and through such activities they artistically create “common vibes” that everyone can feel. The good vibes they create are so universal that it knows no race, age, or gender. BRF is a reminder to the world that we are just one big family.

Brown Rice Family is an independent company that makes organic handmade soaps and distributes organic grains, beans, and tea. BRF is dedicated to sharing quality food and products to the world where quality is a rarity.

Joe - Vocal/Ukulele
Yuichi - Djembe/Producer
Caz - Lead Guitar/Bass
Amu - Bass
Ezana - Trumpet
Isaiah - Saxophone/Clarinet/Harmonica
Sangyul - Ggengari/Chekere
Tama - Drums
Geng - Djangoo/other percussions
Etsuko - Melodica/Keyboard
Ted - Sticky Rice

Booking: booking@brownricefamily.com

Don’t want to wake up from this beautiful dream, C-print, 2008, 112cm x 300cm or 300cm x 800cm

2009.2.21(SAT) – 2009.5.10 (SUN) at DIESEL DENIM GALLERY AOYAMA

Sprinting Forward-2, C-print, 2004, 120cm x 152cm

Concept:The Panoramic View of Delusion – Great view of Self degradation and Spacious Craziness

The bizarre panoramic world of “self degradation” created by upcoming Chinese artist, Chi Peng are extended all around the gallery. Chi Peng is sprinting around naked. Using his own body to confront himself, he transcends the limits of oneself. This is the transformation, the new way of self expression of this new generation of young Chinese.

In this exhibition, the gigantic installation work will reveal the“panoramic view of delusion”.

Curator: Kimiko Mitani Woo / MW Company

Curator: Kimiko Mitani Woo / MW Company
Date: 2009.2.21(SAT) – 2009.5.10 (SUN)
Address: 6-3-3 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 81-3-6418-5323
Hours: 13:00~20:00
Holidays: Non-regular holiday
Host: Diesel Japan
Cooperators: Roland DG Corporation
Web: www.diesel.co.jp/denimgallery

Born 1981 in Shangdong, China. Graduated in digital media from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Has presented numerous photographic series with himself as the subject, using disguises and digital effects. He has had several solo shows in Beijing, where he is based, as well as abroad.
Group exhibitions include the 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2005), Chinese Photography Today (New York, 2005) and China Avant-garde (Vienna, 2006). He visited Japan in March 2008 as part of a Yokohama-Beijing artists in residence exchange.

Kensui Arao  PROFILE
Executive Creative Director / Saatchi & Saatchi Tokyo, JAPAN
Kensui has been Senior Creative Director 2000 to 2002 at Saatchi and Saatchi Tokyo, 2002 to 2004 at TBWA\Tokyo, Executive Creative Director at EURO RSCG Japan, most recently at Publicis Tokyo and back in Saatchi since Oct 2007. He has been involved in innovative solutions for a wide range of clients including Air France, Emirates, adidas, Nike, Intel, GUINNESS, Renault, Toyota, Lancome, Pedigree, Kal Kan and so on. Renown as out-of-box thinker, he’s set a new standard of outdoor advertising in Japan demonstrated by a series of guerrilla advertisings for adidas 2002 Worldcup Korea/Japan in Tokyo. The latest awards won are Bronze at CLIO and Gold at PMAA for an integrated campaign for BEAMS 30th anniversary event called TOKYO STYLE CLASH/HOT OR NOT through which he’s showed an unexpected new way of connecting people on the streets and people around the world.

Kimiko Mitani Woo / MW Company  PROFILE
Independent Art Curator / Art Producer.
After a career at Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo as an account executive of Nike, Kimiko Mitani Woo follows her dreams working with“Asian art and design”. Having worked on a few art projects such as Akasaka Art Flower 08, the artist management for Nam June Paik Art Center Opening, she established MW Company in February 2009 and started working in art producing in Tokyo and Shanghai. The main role of the company is to expose young and upcoming artists who represent a unique and non-traditional perspective of the world. By doing so, MW Company provides and encourages opportunities and development of the East Asian art scene.

Only existing in Tokyo and New York, DIESEL DENIM GALLERY is a store where denims are displayed as art works, providing creative shopping experiences. It also supports young artists actively, by holding art exhibitions in the store.
In this unique creative space, you can also enjoy DIESEL DENIM GALLERY Collection, which are the most prestigious items of Diesel. Since 2001, these rare items are released only in limited numbers every season, and they are placed as “wearable art”.
Moreover, at DIESEL DENIM GALLERY AOYAMA, there will be the store installations and art exhibitions featuring different artists each time on 1st and 2nd floor, the interior will have a complete new look twice a year by an art installation. On the 2nd floor, which is known as gallery floor, there will be art exhibitions for four times a year, and will be selling his/her actual artwork. Enjoy its unique innovation and originality that are evident around this new Diesel’s art space.
Variously shaped objects are installed on the wall. Lights shining on these objects bring forth shadows which float on the wall; the side of a face, a walking figure, and a young girl sitting, amongst others. At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw the mysterious sight. This was the fantastic world created by New York City-based artist Kumi Yamashita. In spite of appearing on Japanese television programs such as “Kiseki Taiken Unbelievable” and “Friday SMAP,” and being showered with attention, she remains natural and honest. I had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with her for the first time for a magazine at her studio in New York.

COOL: First, tell me about your background please, Kumi.

Kumi Yamashita: After graduating middle school, I entered high school, but I soon went to America as a foreign exchange student. After that, I spent some time in Italy before returning to America, where I graduated from college. On a visit to Scotland, I was enchanted by the buildings of Glasgow University, and I entered their graduate program just like that.

COOL: When did you first take an interest in art?

Kumi: I’m not sure, but if I had to say, I think it dates back to pre-school. I really like drawing pictures, and was always drawing. I remember being praised by my mother and teacher for drawing my mother’s face and painting her hair purple (laughing). If, at that time, I had been pushed toward drawing properly or by the book, I might not be the person that I am now.

COOL: How was your concept of art using shadow born?

Kumi: I’m not really conscious of ‘when’ in this case either. I guess I’ve always been enchanted by the concept of light and shadow. As I watched the sky as the sun set, I would announce the changes one by one to my mother. I found those changing shapes and shadows beautiful. I often discover beautiful things in nature. I think a lot of people are that way, but I have a particular tendency to take a special interest in this beauty.

COOL: Recently, you’ve become a popular topic in Japanese media. Has anything changed around you?

Kumi: Absolutely not. I didn’t even know I was a topic. I just have the chance to hear impressions I had never thought of. It’s really interesting to hear all the different viewpoints about my own work. Sometimes, when I hear the opinions of third parties, I think to myself, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s it!” (laughing).

COOL: How was it appearing on Japanese television programs?

Kumi: Tiring. I have to carry everything over from New York, then work all night to set everything up in the studio. My work has to be constructed on the site in line with the light. Of course, each work is a little different each time. I can never make exactly the same one twice.

COOL: How did you get the offer from the Japanese television station?

Kumi: Probably someone from the station saw my work on the web. Also, I only got my solo exhibition in San Francisco because, coincidentally, one of the judges at an open exhibition I applied for had connections with that museum. And that led to the exhibition in New York. I’m no good at self-management.

COOL: What’s your source of inspiration?

Kumi: Always being happy. If I am happy, ideas naturally spring forth. The more I try to think of good ideas, the worse my work is. The times when I am making good art are the times when I am enjoying making it. If this feeling starts to crumble even a little, I stop working and do something completely different. For example, I’ll participate in a wild flower picking tour in Central Park (laughing), and find that happy feeling in another field. For me, feeling happy is normal and, at the same time, very important.

COOL: Have any artists influenced you?

Kumi: I don’t much see other artists’ works, and I don’t really know, but if I had to, I would say I like Pheidias, a sculptor that worked on the Greek Parthenon. I became interested in him after hearing about an episode that occurred when he was working on the sculptures on the roof of the temple. Pheidias completed the sculptures on the eaves of the Parthenon in Athens. But, the Athenian accountant complained angrily about the bill, saying that, ‘The backs of the sculptures can’t be seen. Why would you carve something that can’t be seen and include it in the bill.” Pheidias replied, “That’s not true. The gods can see them.” After hearing this, I immediately liked Pheidias. More than his work itself, I am moved by his dedication to his work.

COOL: Why did you move to New York?

Kumi: I grew up watching Sesame Street, so I naturally always had an interest (in New York). I thought New York would be hard if I came when I was older, so I moved here about two years ago. I didn’t really come to see art. To tell the truth, I was really scared at first. But actual life here was natural, so it was enjoyable. No one is really a foreigner here. So it’s possible to come into contact with people on a personal level. That might be one reason it’s fun.

COOL: How do you make your art?

Kumi: How… Like I said before, the most important thing for my doing my work is that I always feel happy. If this isn’t the case, I definitely can’t make anything that will satisfy me. When I’m happy, ideas come to me naturally. I don’t consciously think about ideas. Ideas just pop up, and I sketch them on paper. After that, I move toward making them into real works. First I set the pieces up on the floor with light coming from the side. When I’m finished with that, I move them up onto the wall.

COOL: The shape of the shadows and the shape of the base you make are completely different, as if the concrete was being born from the abstract. Where did this conception come from?

Kumi: First, I use real shadows as a model. Then I create my base for the shadow. I’m a very concrete person, so I really respect abstract artists. I know nothing about the abstract world (laughing). I have no idea where the conceptions for my art come from. It seems like they just fall from the sky, and then my hand notices them and moves itself.

COOL: Do you use computer graphics or blueprints?

Kumi: I am a very analog person, so I’m not very good with computers. I can send e-mail (laughing), but my work is all done by hand. I like to use pencils. I guess I haven’t made much progress since pre-school (laughing).

COOL: What is ‘art’ for you?

Kumi: Recently, in a conversation with a friend, we accidentally discovered that ‘art’ is an ‘act of God.’ As I’m creating my art, I always think it’s not really me creating it. It’s something in a higher place, whether it’s God or something else. My work must be a revelation from something beyond myself.

COOL: Tell us what you plan to do next and in the future.

Kumi: I have no idea (laughing). I haven’t really thought about how to develop my work. But I’m always thinking about how to enjoy life since living happily provides my inspiration and is the source of my art. As long as I continue to create quality art, I think my development will naturally spread in good directions. Is that too optimistic? (laughing)

Interview by Sai Morikawa

Le Théâtre de la Huchette is a small theater with 86 seats located in the students’ quarter of Paris, Quartier latin. In 2007, at this theater, Eugène Ionesco’s “La Cantatrice chauve” (The Bald Soprano) had its 50th anniversary. Mr. Nicolas Bataille, who has kept producing this play since its first performance, talks about numerous exciting adventures he has experienced to date.

Mr. Bataille was born in Paris in 1926. When he was young, he was deeply impressed by Operetta which his grandmother took him to see. When he was 17, France was occupied by Germany during WWII. Since the students who attended national educational insitutions were exempted from forced labor in Germany, he attended Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique. In addition, he also learned performances at the acting school, run by Pathé, a movie company, and at Cours Simon, a private performing school established by the actor, René Simon. At Cours Simon, he met Juliette Gréco who later became the singer representing France, and the actor, Gérard Philipe. They often gathered in Saint-Germain des Prés to discuss films and performances. One day, he met Jacques Prévert, a poet/scriptwriter who had recommended him to appear as an extra in the movie of Marcel Carné called “Les Enfants du Paradis” (Children of Paradise) (1945) whose script Jack wrote.

‘Shooting in those days was completely different from now. The cameras and equipment were certainly different though, we have to do everything on a larger scale such as making the road for a movie shooting. Today, the sceneries and buildings appearing in “Good Old Day’s movie” were all built up completely just for movies.’

‘Besides this, Mr. Bataille has other memories of celebrities. At the age of 19, he made an unexpected visit to his idol artist, Jean Cocteau with his friend. Cocteau welcomed them pleasantly. His words, “Performance is magic!” resonated deeply inside his heart. After that, Mr. Bataille was strongly influenced by the Avant-Garde performances of Louise Lala and Édouard Autant and became interested in producing theater performances. In 1948, he produced the prose poem of Arthur Rimbaud’s “Une Saison en enfer” (A Season In Hell) and won the award of “le prix d’avant-garde au Concours des Jeunes Compagnies.”’

“Since I was orginally trying to be an actor, I had never dreamt of being recognized as a producer in the future. An accident posesses great power. I got attention from people as a producer of Avant-Garde performances.”

After that, Mr. Bataille was shocked to see “The Bald Soprano” written by Ionesco and he performed this program with his group. Looking at the title, we could guess the audience would expect a hairless chanteuse to appear, but that idea would be turned over. The script that could be perceived as word play continued like this. “An English man, Mr. Smith who sits in one of the English armchairs by an English fireside, wearing English slippers, puffing away an English pipe, and reading an English paper.” and the unmatched conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Martin went on and on. As the program symbolizes, “The Bald Soprano” had no context. This play that completely broke the theory of the theater performances of those days, had its 50th anniversary at Le Théâtre de la Huchette in 2007.

‘When I first read “The Bald Soprano”, I strongly felt that I definitely wanted to do it. I didn’t think I wanted to succeed with this play. Rather than that, I really wanted to make this play that I felt so attracted to. At first, critiques were mostly negative. But 7 years had past and other programs of Ionesco such as “Le Leçon” (The Lesson) and “Les Chaises” (The Chairs) were gradually gathering peoples’ attention, so I also started to get evaluated more.’

Ionesco, who brought “The Bald Soprano” to the world, had later become a scriptwriter representing French “The Theatre of the Absurd” with Samuel Beckett.

“The1950’s were when theater performances had their highest time in France. Also, this was the era that gave birth to the new genre of “The Theatre of the Absurd.” In those days, there were 7 theaters in Quartier latin. But now, only Le Théâtre de la Huchette remains there. The performance at Le Théâtre de la Huchette had its 50th anniversary, though the actual start of “The Bald Soprano” performance was in 1950. That performance was held at the theater we no longer have and it was in the same Quartier latin. It’ll have been 58 years by this year. I was spotlighted because I found the talent of Ionesco. But on the other side, it is true that I have had no chance of producing classic theaters such as Molière or Corneille. I got labeled by everyone as Nicolas Bataille = Ionesco.”

In 1967, Le Théâtre de la Huchette was invited to Japan on the 10th anniversary of “The Bald Soprano” and the play was performed at the national theater. At that time, it was very rare to have a small French theater group visit Japan to perform. Since then, Mr. Bataille became fascinated by Japanese theater performances and cultures, and Japan had become his second home.

‘In the1960’s, new theater performances were born in Japan. They included Karajuro’s situation theater, Tadashi Suzuki’s Waseda small theater and Shuji Terayama’s Tenjo Sajiki. They had very interesting activities going on. I was completely taken by them. Even though Huchette’s performances in Japan had ended, I continued to stay there for 4 more years and watched various theater performances. During that time, I wrote a script for the educational French language program of NHK and produced numerous plays including Antonin Artaud’s “Van Gogh le suicidé de la société” at The Institution of French-Japanese in Tokyo. Even after I went back to France in 1971, I visited Japan for 6 months a year and continued to work for production until 1983. I really had a lot of work including the production of the Takarazuka Revue Company. Last year, I visited Japan for a month to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my production work there.’

Among “Angura” (Underground) Theaters, he especially has an intense feeling toward the late Mr. Shuji Terayama who was leading “Tenjo Sajiki.”

‘Mr. Terayama was an extremely important person to me as much as Prévert and Cocteau. I’ve never been so excited as when I saw “Hanafuda Denki” in Tokyo in 1967. I also saw “Kegawa no Mary” starring Akihiro Miwa. Lured by his talent and his work, I produced “Hanafuda Denki” in Paris, wishing he would be famous in France. The audiences were very shocked. In those days, Japan was an unknown country to French people as if it was located in another planet. Apart from some intellectuals, French people had no knowledge of Japan. Even if they see this performance depicting the world of Yakuza, nobody knows Yakuza. It was the time when Kabuki and No were yet unknown and having a French person producing the program of Japanese underground theater performance was just unimaginable to the French theater world, I guess. In 1991, I produced “Terayama no Yube” which I combined the extracts from the 4 programs of Mr. Terayama. Despite 20 years passing since “Hanafuda Denki”, it seemed that the work of Mr. Terayama was still shocking to the audiences in 1991.’

During his stay in Japan, Mr. Bataille had numerous encounters except the producers of Underground Theater. One of such encounter was the late Hisao Kanze. As Hisao saw “The Bald Soprano” at Le Théâtre de la Huchette in Paris, he was very impressed and invited Mr. Bataille to the lesson of No when he visited Japan.

“Throughout 5-months-lessons, I learned the spirit of No from Mr. Kanse. Although I felt No was really fantastic, I never thought of taking its techniques directly into my production. I know there are some European producers who tried it. But I think No is too different from the European theater. It was a very rich experience for me to learn the world of No’s spirit through Mr. Kanse’s lessons.”

From co-starring with Brigitte Bardot and Marcello Mastroianni for “Vie privée” (A Very Private Affair) (1962) directed by Louis Malle, Mr. Bataille has appeared in a number of movies. However, he feels great attraction for his life as a producer.

‘I love the word,“magic’’ mentioned by Cocteau. I think the wonderful producers besides myself are Giorgio Strehler and Dario Fo. (laugh) Their production has magic and fantasy. The production of Fedor Dostoievsky’s works is fantasy itself. Play has to be magic. Curtains open up, a stage appears, and there is a different world from real life spreading out. It is essential for human beings to dream. And it is very important to have curiosity too. Lacking curiosity will narrow down various possibilities. Particularly with art, it is very important to challenge with curiosity.’

‘My future schedule is to keep producing “The Bald Soprano” and to keep performing the role of Mr. Martin on this program, sometimes. I’ll become 82 years old by this year. I’m getting older, “Kawaisou, Boku chan” (Poor me).” His last word was Japanese. Contrary to his word, Mr. Bataille smiled like a naughty kid. Tonight, the theater is full to capacity again. Dressed in costume, Mr. Bataille goes to stage to perform the role of Mr. Martin. There will be the audiences trapped by his magic again tonight.’

Nicolas Bataille, actor and theatre director, was born on March 14, 1926. He died on October 28, 2008, aged 82

Text & Photo by Chiho Yoda
English / 日本語
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