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March 21, 2006

Tomoko Sawada at Zabriskie Gallery

Last weekTomokosawada_school_daysa I went to see the new show by Japanese Photographer Tomoko Sawada : Schoolgirls.

        This time Tomoko transforms herself through the wonders of technology into 41 different identities to make up an entire class of school girls posing for their annual class picture.  Can you say.. They all rook-a-rike? 

         But all kidding aside, I have to admit, this is one artist I've been constipated undecided on for a few years now. Initially I found her work playful as it explored issues of identity, public image, and social pressure for adolescents girls in Asian society.  Today, I question the works originality and artistic merits. It just seems like a boring one trick pony. The work does a nice job of poking fun at iconic work by Cindy Sherman, as well as Nikki Lee, and Yasumasa Morimura.  Tomoko has perhaps even earned herself the dubious reputation as the Asian Cindy Sherman. But, is this ever a good thing for an artists career?  I don't think so!

    Her first solo show in 2003 (NYT review by Ken Johnson, and Art In America review by Ed Leffingwell) featured her ID400 Series (1989-2001), Costume series, and Omiai series, all self portraits which were fresh and witty.  It was this initial concept of self identity/masquerade in her ID400 series which won Tomoko Sawada the ICP Young Photographer Infinity Award in 2004.   I've even come close several times to buying her work for the MAO photography collection.  In fact, if it were not for her gallery representation's lack of care, effort follow-ups, and already sky high prices, I would probably own a few.  Yes, MAO readers, you'll be happy to know.. Galleries in Chelsea have nothing on 57th Street when it come to bad business practices and poor client service. No surprise!

        Actually, now I'm bitter glad I waited, cause, 8 years later, this artist is still doing exactly the same thing, and it just seems flat, tired, and on a road well traveled.  Seeing the "new" show, totally turned me off this artist.  As further evidence of the works mediocrity.. the re-installation of the contemporary galleries at MOMA, "Take Two : World and Views: Contemporary Art from the Collection" actually included one of her ID400 series.  Need I say more?

The Tomoko Sawada show is open till April 29th.


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OMG that is soooooo not art! The Chinese are made for fabricating cheat shit, not ART!

I just saw the a piece of hers from the ID400 series at MOMA last week. I'd never heard of her before that. She gained and lost so much weight over the period and changed her hair, glasses, makeup etc. I loved it.

And it was too art!And fun to boot. So hush your face Brandon :-) I'll be checking out the show this week.

You went to MOMA without inviting me?? :-(

perhaps the artist just does her thing without regard for morimura or cindy... regardless, she's a copyculture master and it's a very sweet chunk of work.
the bolded "rook-a-rike" comment was abit offensive btw.

I really loved her first ID400 work...was about to buy one, but they are now priced at over 10k each! Ouch!
I think Tomoko is very much aware and directly responding to Sherman and Morimura's work..it was most evident in her "Costume Series" work. Which was fine, actually it added to the works complexity. This current show just didn't expand on her previous projects. I was disapointed.

And, sorry about the bold Ranguage joke.. didn't mean to offend.

sounds very chow-lame.

Was that a racial epithet or a racial slur in your first paragraph? What ever it was, I LOVED IT! Keep it coming. Now this blog is getting good!

You don't really need or want that lifestyle, it might hurt y'all slowly more.......Just tell him you
don't wanna repeat something your not too proud of z7uas.

You clearly know nothing about Tomoko Sawada.

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