The following photographic-rich article features the fine art group exhibition entitled “Experimentation” held from September 30th to October 29th, 2006, at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. This manuscript was produced by Dr. Eriko N. Bond, an active art critic and author in New York City, as told by Yamada and edited by Diane M. Taros.  Photographs were taken by Takeshi Yamada and Diane M. Taros.



Exhibition at Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery

Red Hook area of Brooklyn, New York

September 30 – October 29, 2006


Takeshi Yamada (in tuxedo, black tie, and Mardi Gras beads as his official artist’s reception

outfit) and his sweet monster called Sea Rabbit (aka Seal Rabbit, Rabbit Fish), at the Brooklyn

Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery for the fall art show of 2006. (Photograph by George Brock)


Super realism sculptures of oddities and curiosities of Takeshi Yamada have been displayed for public in a variety of styles of exhibitions and shows for over two decades in America. The recent Yamada’s artworks are inspired by Cabinet of Curiosities in the 16th century in Europe and gaffs shown at modern Coney Island style circus sideshows in America. The word “gaff” is a carny lingo which means man-made specimen/artifact to be used for the business of circus sideshows in America. Famous examples of them are Fiji mermaid, two-headed baby, Jackalope, etc. In recent years, Yamada has been creating new breed of gaffs as artworks to show traditional traveling circus sideshows, store style Dime museums, government-run museums, nature centers, and commercial galleries to proudly represent the cultural heritage of quickly disappearing American modern circus sideshow to younger generation of people. He had over 350 shows including 38 solo shows in Spain, The Netherlands, Japan and the United States.  He also taught art and gave lectures for public at over 30 educational institutions in Japan and America.



Experimentation (Fall Group Art Show)

September 30 – October 29, 2006

Opening reception: September 30, 2006, 1-6pm

Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery.      499 Van Brunt, Red Hook area of Brooklyn, New York.            Phone: 718.596.2507



Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition is the largest and oldest non-profit artists-running visual art organization in Brooklyn, New York with over 500 members including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. BWAC (pronounced B-wak) has been helping emerging Brooklyn artists advance their careers by presenting their work to metropolitan art lovers and BWAC neighbors is free art exhibitions for over 25 years. It is 501.c.3 charitable corporation. Takeshi Yamada is one of the Board of Directors of BWAC.  BWAC gallery is 25,000 sq feet in size and over 15,000 attendances in the previous year. This group art exhibition is one of the three major art shows held there annually. (


Show Announcement Card


Front and back side of the color announcement card of the art exhibition



September 30, 2006 Grand Opening Reception

The tradition of American circus sideshow’s banners as billboard to attract people can be adapted by today’s art communities and used across the United States. Using a banner cloth rather a banner plate (wood, vinyl, plastic, metal) is lighter, more durable, and economical. Examples shown below are banner of BWAC used for this group art exhibition.



A large new banner of the BWAC welcomes people.


Another BWAC banner with a picture.


Unlike the vividly hand-painted traditional Coney Island style circus sideshow banner, BWAC show banner was produced by using today’s computer-controlled large sized banner printing machine. The design is also more contemporary-looking and very straight forward business-like.


A large full color banner with a photographic image as seen here was also produced

for BWAC show. Volunteer greeters welcome people at the front entrance of the gallery.


This location is also one of the stations of the fancy Water Taxi for people visiting from Manhattan. The sublime view of the Statue of Liberty can be also enjoyed clearly from this waterfront location. The newly opened giant size Fairway grocery store is right across from the gallery of this rising neighborhood.   


For this popular annual fall group art exhibition at this prestigious non-profit art organization in Brooklyn, New York, Yamada exhibited following artworks inspired by Coney Island style circus sideshow gaffs. These artworks were not remake of any old gaffs; they were completely new breed of creative artworks evolved from the culture, heritage and history of modern American circus sideshow. 


Yamada immediately brought two new artworks to fill the space on his exhibition wall space. They are “New Orleans Mardi Gras: Mystic Krew of Comus” and “Pear in the Storm”.


#1. “Artifact of the Dreamland Fire of 1911: Coney Island School of Wizardry”

This is an artwork simulating the artifact of one of the most prestigious institution in Coney Island which was destroyed by the Dreamland Fire of 1911. The historical fire destroyed the most of the downtown and ended the golden era of the circus sideshow and amusement parks of Coney Island in 1911. The fire started from the “Hell Gate” on the opening day of the season. For many decades after the complete destruction of the area, the city and the investors did nothing to revitalize the area which was once the very center of the world regarding the entertainment industry furnished with the cutting edge technologies.


#2. A Giant Killer Sea  Worm of Red Sea Island (5 feet)

This simulation of fictional monstrous worm’s taxidermy (synthetic polymer, plastic, paper, metal, windowpane oysters, acrylic, glue) is based on the actual monstrous giant sea warm called Oniisome (actually grows up to 5 feet) commonly found at muddy sandy/rocky beach in south western Japan. The width of the Oniisome is only one inch just like that of a normal snake of 5-feet in length (compare to Yamada’s creation with the width of four and a half inches). Yamada actually caught an Oniisome when he was a child (it was as big as he was) and used it as live fishing bait. In tropical and subtropical areas of Japan (including Yamada’s home city Osaka, the sister city of Chicago), there were many monstrous giant animals when he was a young child. Yamada considered those real monsters as house pets. Example of them are a palm-size Takaashi-gumo (Japanese fast-running giant tarantula) living in the bathroom wall to feed on flies (Japanese bathrooms including those at schools in the 60’s were nothing but a small room with a ceramic covered hole in the middle, so, many flies grew easily despite the usage of massive insecticides then), Misuji-Kougaibiru (Japanese three-striped Giant land planaria) which grows up to 5 feet (compared to aquatic planaria commonly found in America which grows up to only half inch long), many giant size beetles (such as Kabutomushi or Japanese giant rhinoceros beetle) and giant size moths.  


#3 & #4: Framed labels of Coney Island brand exotic canned foods.

Yamada created fictional  exotic canned food labels to be mounted on real cans as gaffs (gaffs are super realism artworks to be used for circus sideshow business). “The Shinning Stars” features canned labels of Giant Starfish and Jewel Beetle”. “Black Diamonds” features canned labels of Kuwagata-mushi (Stag Beetle. They are called ”Black diamond” because of their black heads and thoraxes among insect pet collectors in Japan) and Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach (the most popular pet insect in America) with black head & thorax. In these artworks, stories were formed by combining multiple exotic canned food labels in a frame.


#5 & #6: Framed New York City Butterflies.

Three dimensional cut-out butterflies with digital full color illustrations on papers are created by Yamada. Each single detail of the body including each antenna of these insects were formed in three dimensionally by hands of Yamada. They were then framed in the style of “floating” just like normal butterfly taxidermy specimens mounted in entomologists’ specimen cases. The colors and patterns of right wing and left wing were intentionally made different to make their genetic abnormality cause by the unhealthy, paranoiac, and mad environment of New York City. Needless to say, butterflies with wings showing natural genetic abnormality are considered very valuable among collectors.


#7 & #8: Sea Rabbits.

Framed hand-enhanced (color pencil, pastel, graphite, pen and ink) mixed media prints made from his original pen and ink drawings on paper (each is 8.5x11inch on drawing papers) featuring Yamada’s original circus sideshow monstrous animal “Sea Rabbit”. Yamada explains that the black dry ink used for an indirect dry process printing (not a color computer printer ink at all)  is much more stable and last much longer than normal drawing ink, thus this process of creating artwork makes more sense for his valued art collectors. Yamada also states this also is a great way to make one of a kind (each is slightly different) editional prints available for wider audience. Each is entitled “Sea Rabbit” and Jackalope” and “Sea Rabbit”.   



(left) “Sea Rabbit and Jackalope” (right) “Sea Rabbit”


Replaced Artworks:

When Yamada arrived at the opening reception of the BWAC art exhibition, two of his circus sideshow-inspired artworks (“Sea Rabbit” and “Sea rabbit and Jackalope”) were already sold and removed from his booth. Following week, “Coney Island School of Wizardry was also sold. To fill the space, Yamada brought new artworks for his exhibition booth. Followings are descriptions of them.


 #9 “Divine Comedy: New Orleans Mardi Gras: Mystic Krew of Comus”

It is one of 48 paintings Yamada created for his “Divine Comedy: New Orleand Mardi Gras” art project. (acrylic/oil on canvas, 14x10 inch, 1989) Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is an official city holiday – even the post offices and schools close – to enjoy the special occasion in New Orleans. (Compared to this, the annual Halloween Parade or Thanksgiving Day parade in Manhattan which is considered as the biggest art parade in New York City is like a children’s school play.) The carnival and festivities held in New Orleans are considered as the “biggest free show on the earth” today. Strange to say, they have not developed the culture of circus sideshow as it developed in Coney Island. A House of Voodoo can be found in French Quarter but more authentic ones can be found in the suburbs of New Orleans. Mystic Krew of Comus is one of the oldest and most prestigious carnival organizations. Yamada had solo art exhibitions with them at Louisiana State Museum in French Quarter area of New Orleans, Louisiana 1990 (he was only 29 years old, and awareded the Key to the City and Honorary Citizenship by the Mayer at the opening reception) and Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi in1993.   The “Visual Anthropology Art” of Yamada reached its highest point with his artworks reflecting people, history, art and culture of New Orleans Mardi Gras. 



(left) Dressed up crew of Mystic Krew of Comus, acryl/oil on canvas, 14x10 inch, 1989

(right) Masked Ball of Mystic Crew of Comus on fat Tuesday (Not being exhibited at BWAC show)


#10 “Pear in the Storm”

This artwork was shown at a group art exhibition at a gallery in Chicago about the subject matter of pear. It is oil/acrylic painting on canvas (10x8 inch). After this, Yamada started creating series of human-plant hybrid exotic/erotic creatures on 8x10 zinc plates, and they became the part of the nation-wide traveling adult-only X-rated art exhibition curated by Chicago’s notorious artist MHD. The art show (which included many internationally known X-rated painters and photographers) was promoted as a parody of religious icon paintings produced on metal plates; this black joke caused local community’s protest. (Incidentally, MHD was recently investigated at his home by FBI agents for his production/distributions of artworks encouraging the assassination of the current president of the United States, George W. Bush). Some of the paintings of Yamada’s exotic plants can be seen in his gallery area of



#11 “Artifact of the Dreamland Fire of 1911: Coney Island UFO Research Institute”

This is an artwork simulating the artifact of one of the most prestigious institution in Coney Island which was destroyed by the Dreamland Fire of 1911. After it was painted on actual wooden board, this artwork was artificially aged and given the appearance of fire damages with an electric drill sander and black paint.




BWAC Silent Fine Art Auction

Takeshi Yamada auctioned one of his artworks for the fundraising of BWAC. Shown below is his artworks “Artifact of Dreamland Fire of 1911: Coney Island Anthropological Institute” on display among artworks by other artists.







All rights reserved by Takeshi Yamada, October 2006. Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders in Coney Island, 1405 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224, USA. E-mail:         

Special thanks to Eriko N. Bond, George Brock and Diane M. Taros. 



Takeshi Yamada © 2006 Copyright all rights reserved

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