Untitled, By The Pachinko Ginbasha Master Of Amakusa


A dismal, depressing subject can be made enjoyable by great writing. And the spirits can be lifted by an awesome photo at the end. These are my takeaways from Richard Hendy's travel/history/economics/politics/apocalyptic decline essay on Amakusa, a hardscrabble group of islands near Kyushu, Japan.

Hendy's blog Spike Japan documents the underside and overlooked, and Amakusa certainly sounds like it's had the short end of the stick since forever, basically, and all they have to show for it is a 15-year-old, $120 million Bridge To Nowhere--designed by Renzo Piano.

But this incredible photo gives me hope. I'm transfixed by this pachinko sign. I mean, just look at those lines. The neonya-san who made that is literally drawing with light in space here. Is there a kanji-based, gestural tradition within the Japanese neon signmaking industry? Have Zen brushstrokes been translated or reperformed and fixed in 3D glass tubing? Or maybe it's Action Painting, frozen in time and space instead of dropped onto the canvas in the barn in Springs?


Perhaps Peter Coffin's 2004 sculpture, Untitled (Line after B. Nauman's The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths) 1, isn't abstract at all, but documentary. Perhaps the topic could be addressed by a panel discussion at a future symposium, after Amakusa's calligraphic lighting sector has been revitalized, and the island has claimed its rightful place as the Japanese Marfa for the neon arts.

1 which, hello, is now in MoMA's collection.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Posts from May 2016, in reverse chronological order

Older: April 2016

recent projects, &c.

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Mar – Dec 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99