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Giant Robot founder Eric Nakamura stands before the Super Famicom Car, a concept vehicle fitted with a retro video game in its front and back and controllers in the cabin. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

As part of its continuing “Salon Pop” series, Giant Robot and the Japanese American National Museum will unveil the concept exhibition, Zen Garage, developed in collaboration between the National Museum and Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot, on December 30, 2010 and running through February 13, 2011. The display will open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on December 30 at the National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles.

The organizers summarized their inspiration for the show as follow: “The concept of Zen has been thwarted by popular culture in the form of awkward connotations and new ‘urban’ meanings. Its basic meaning in our new world is essentially a ‘pure focus.’ Likewise, a garage is no longer just a place where one parks their vehicle. Today’s garage can also function as a place of inspiration, development, and creation. With these words together, we bring you Zen Garage.’

Zen Garage will feature three innovative creations illustrating various facets of contemporary aesthetics, lifestyles, and cultural backgrounds:

The Super Famicom Car, a retro video game inspired by a converted Scion xB that utilizes projectors from both the front and rear to play video games. Its conversion includes sound making doors, a cartridge starter key, and controllers for each passenger. Designed by Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura and fabricated by Onimotorworks Len Higa, the car includes a custom video game, “Return of the Quack” featuring art by Matt Furie, programming by Chevy Ray Johnston, and game consulting and co-producing by Adam Robezzoli.

David Choe’s custom Monster Scion xB features street-inspired graphics and a ready-to-play drum kit in the bed. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

David Choe’s custom Monster Scion xB exemplifies his aerosol street style as well as his larger than life perspective. A muralist and graphic artist, his work can be found on walls from Los Angeles to Vietnam. He is known as much for his exaggerated vulgarity as for his aesthetic sensibilities. An avid drummer, Choe keeps a drum kit in the bed of this Monster Scion xB that he played to an audience at Miami’s Art Basel in 2006.

Shinya Kimura’s Spike is not only a motorcycle, it’s a work of art. Inspired by his imagination, Kimura creates functional art by infusing his philosophy and aesthetic values into his sculpturally unique and rolling designs. Kimura believes that the motorcycle represents in its form barbarism, vulnerability, and ephemeral beauty. By exposing the inner qualities of these machines Kimura instinctively creates machines that are an extension of the soul.

Zen Garage is part of the Salon Pop Series. Salon Pop is an experimental program series that provides an opportunity for the Museum to present the creative talents of Asians and Asian Americans whose innovative work is having an immediate impact or influence on American culture. This series illustrates the vitality of Asian American youth culture and its place within our everyday society. Salon Pop is made possible with support from the James Irvine Foundation, interTrend Communications, Scion, and Giant Robot.

About the Curator
Giant Robot magazine began in 1994, as a staple-and-fold zine and has now grown into a full-fledged bi-monthly magazine, which is available at most stores and newsstands. Giant Robot opened its first store in 2001, and formulated a combination of pop culture goods, ranging from Japanese import toys, graphic design and art books, and monthly art exhibitions. Giant Robot currently has stores and galleries in West Los Angeles, San Francisco and even a restaurant called GR/eats in West Los Angeles. Curating this exhibition is the publisher/co-editor and owner, Eric Nakamura who curates most of the exhibitions Giant Robot puts on annually.

VIDEO: Giant Robot Famicom Scion xb at JANM Zen Garage

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