It’s been a full decade since Mariko Mori’s last New York museum show, and viewers who remember that exhibition might not even recognize the artist in “Rebirth: Recent Work by Mariko Mori,” at Japan Society. The futuristic fashion plate of Ms. Mori’s earlier photographs and videos — the artist herself, in Manga-inspired get-ups — seems to have vanished, and so has her contemporary Japanese landscape of malls, airports and business districts.
In their place are meditative, abstract sculptures and installations, strongly influenced by Buddhism, theoretical physics, and prehistoric cultures (and also, it often seems, by other contemporary artists like Hiroshi Sugimoto and James Turrell). They make up an ambitious but disappointing show, which summons big ideas and primal energies only to give them trite, New Agey forms. Continue reading