Taro Okamoto’s Tower

An encounter with Taro Okamoto’s Sun Tower from a window of a winding train was the highlight of a trip for a story about American beef.
Maybe it was the way the monument held its head _ so strangely animalistic while being so robotic and manmade, so full of intelligence yet so devoid of thought _ eerily and suddenly making its presence known through the trees.
It was very surreal.
It didn’t fit, yet it fit so perfectly.
A reminder of how an artist’s statement _ view on life/death and the meaning of art _ speaks to us today.
It was almost painful.
Maybe it was also the way a coworker shared that moment of Truth and Joy.
The AP photographer jumped up:
“Ah, taiyo no to da!”
This moment came back to me recently because my son and Amanojaku taiko drummer Isaku Kageyama talks about Okamoto on his blog.
In that, Okamoto , whose famous motto was: “Art is Explosion,” says something like:
Art isn’t pretty.
Art isn’t comfortable.
Art isn’t well-done.
Okamoto was fully aware of the real-life context in which his piece was going to be perceived, and that’s how he delivered his message so effectively.
The tower became complete only in that moment, when the photographer and I saw it and felt it.
Standing proud and ashamed, a mutant monstrosity built to herald an Expo, the work is a genius of Modern Art.