Friday, July 15, 2005

Who writes the history?

The Chichu art museum on the island of Naoshima is celebrating its first anniversary. The director Yuji Akimoto came to give a lecture in my class at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Geidai). He showed how the "Art House Project" started with plain ordinary houses on the island. "There was a particular difficulty in starting from the chaotic space that the interior of the abandoned houses presented, and shift to the domain of abstract expression, culminating in the refined art that we find in the Rei Naitoh and Tatsuo Miyajima houses today". Yuji said.
Later in the evening, we had the Chichu Art Museum first anniversary symposium. Michael Govan of DIA art foundations gave a talk. Some audiences expressed concern that DIA is perhaps too much concerned with the promotion of American artists. I thought:It is natural for DIA to be concerned with American artists, since it is based in America. Although Michael stressed that it is not DIA policy to promote only American, there is a natural tendency as anybody can see. The whole question boils down to "who writes history". There is no single authoritative history. If the Japanese art world has been under the shadow of the history of contemporary art as dictated by people in the "mainstream", they have been doing so by their own choice. You can just ignore whatever mainstream framework there is, at your own freedom and at your own risk. Freedom comes with risk.
I enjoyed the evening overall.

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