At 8pm last night, people crowded the nook in the Henry Luce Gallery that holds Mika Tajima’s “Extruded Plaid (Suicidal Desires)” to see the New York artist’s performance piece that accompanies the installation. In five-inch black and gold glam heels Tajima crouched on the ground and smashed pieces of glass with a hammer—in a very deliberate, controlled, mesmerizing manner, a bang then a slow stir, as an alchemist at a cauldron. The crunching sound went into reverb and filled the gallery. Then she traded hammer for electric guitar, the volume slowly, almost imperceptibly rising, until it drowned out the sound of breaking glass. One art consumes another, like a serpent swallowing its tail.
Some raved about genius, others held their ears. It was the highlight of a night that brought the Honolulu art community together.
At the 5:30 opening for the Society of Academy Fellows, the key players in Asian Sensation spoke. The three-pronged exhibition marks the first time the Asian art department and the European and American art department have collaborated. From left to right are Academy director Stephen Little; Karin Higa, curator at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles and one of the three curators of “One Way or Another”; former deputy director Susan Sayre Batton, who just left the Academy to become acting deputy director of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; April Lee, manager of special projects and curator of “Leland Miyano: Historia Naturalia et Artificialia”; Rui Sasaki, who coordinated “One Way or Another” at the Academy; and Asian art curator Shawn Eichman, who was instrumental in bringing “Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art” to the Academy.
Cade Roster (whose work is in The Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawai‘i Artists) and Waileia Roster bookend Jean Shin and her husband, architect Brian Ripel, and son Tyler. “One Way or Another” artists Shin, Michael Arcega, Geraldine Lau, and Mika Tajima were able to come to Hawaii to take part in the Academy presentation of the exhibition thanks to a grant from the Rosters’ Laila Art Fund.
Leland Miyano is a naturalist and landscape designer, and some of his many ur-gardener friends came to the opening. Here he is, on left, with La Jardinière Extraordinaire (and Honolulu Advertiser columnist), Heidi Bornhorst. On the right he’s with his lovely wife and talented chef Karen Miyano.