Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York—Yayoi Kusama, Taka Kigawa, Taro Hakase, VAMPS

Yayoi Kusama with "Love Is Calling" (2013) installed as part of the artist’s inaugural exhibition "I Who Have Arrived In Heaven" at David Zwirner Gallery, on view through Dec. 21 (Will Ragozzino)

Yayoi Kusama with Love Is Calling (2013) installed as part of the artist’s inaugural exhibition I Who Have Arrived in Heaven at David Zwirner Gallery, on view through Dec. 21. (Will Ragozzino)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

With Thanksgiving weekend (and the hopes of eating right) now just a memory, we turn to colder weather, falling snow, and the new year to come. Fortunately for Japanese culture fans, December is just as busy as the holiday season itself. Whether you’re hosting guests from out of town or looking to squeeze in an event or two in between parties, we’ve got you covered.

This month’s highlights include:

Now through Saturday, Dec. 21

Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived in Heaven

David Zwirner Gallery, 525 West 19th Street


In case you missed last year’s retrospectiveat the Whitney featuring the artist’s mega-buzzed about Fireflies on the Water, this current exhibition by Yayoi Kusama features 27 new large-scale paintings and The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, a new mirrored infinity room made especially for this exhibition and the United States debut of another infinity room, which was recently on view in Tokyo at the Mori Art Museum. Also exhibited is the artist’s video installation, entitled Manhattan Suicide Addict, that draws its title from her first semi-autobiographical novel published in 1978.

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 8:00 p.m.

Three’s Keys feat. Taka Kigawa

Klavierhaus Recital Hall, 211 West 58th Street


As part of its third annual festival entitled Timbre Tantrum, Composers Concordance(“Enterprising new music organization” –New York Times) presents this all-piano production featuring Taka Kigawa (“Extraordinary pianist” –New York Times), Inna Faliks (“Signature blend of grace and raw power” –Lucid Culture) and Carlton Holmes (“Inventive” –Jazziz). Each pianist will present a 20-minute solo set of their own contemporary repertoire, including music by Shchedrin, Zhurbin, Ellington, Palkowski, Monk, and Alexander. The grand finale serves up a triple-piano suite composed by Dan Cooper, Sean Hickey, Debra Kaye, Milica Paranosic, and Gene Pritsker performed on Klavierhaus’ antique instruments, including a 19th century Pleyel.The concert will be followed by a brief reception.

Thursday, Dec. 5, 8:00 p.m.

Taro Hakase

Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street


A violinist since the age of four, contemporary classical and crossover musician Taro Hakase returns to New York as part of his first-ever world tour. Entitled JAPONISM after his latest album, Hakase’s pop-infused compositions and charismatic showmanship are known to get fans dancing at his concerts. First brought to international attention following a collaboration soundtrack and a concert tour with Celine Dion in 1996, Hakase has performed before over two million people and has sold more than six million albums in Japan alone. Along with his eight piece band, Hakase brings his tour to one of New York’s most celebrated stages.

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