We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Some of the most interesting contemporary Japanese artwork uses the techniques of traditional utilitarian crafts for utterly fanciful purposes. Kazuaki Honma comes from a family of bamboo weavers and began his artistic career by crafting baskets in an established style. The artist hasn’t entirely lost that grounding: A few of the highly stylized pieces in this show could be functional (Playful Fish is pictured). There’s even one (a lamp) that is clearly meant to be used. Like so many Japanese artists past and present, Honma draws on organic forms: Such pieces as Flame are designed to suggest natural movement, whereas Movement looks more like an eccentric nest. The most interesting works, however, are those that look like traditional baskets or tatami mats that have experienced some sort of bamboo meltdown. While Gregarious Rhythm could be a serviceable, if unconventional, screen, The Threads of Destiny and Shining Tree look like mats in mid-morph, artifacts from a tatami-mat Terminator 2. On view to April 9 at the Japan Information and Culture Center at Lafayette Center III, 1155 21st St. NW. Free. (202) 238-6900. (Mark Jenkins)