Five Art Exhibitions to See in Tokyo – July 2017

June 30, 2017

Fluid World by Yee I-Lann, featured at Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s To Now

As the cultural capital of the country, Tokyo is absolutely awash with great art galleries and events going on all around the city.

This is a round up of our favorite five that are going on in the month of July, 2017

Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s To Now

50 years on from the formation of ASEAN, ‘Sunshower…’ is the largest and most significant exhibition of Southeast Asian contemporary art to be held in Japan. The exhibition’s name references the frequent meteorological phenomenon that occurs in the tropical climes of Southeast Asia, but also serves as a metaphor for the fluctuations and revolutions fo the region in the latter half of the 20th century, featuring Cold War conflicts, dictatorships and economic advancement.

This exhibition explores contemporary art in Southeast Asia from the 1980s onward with participating artists including Malaysian photo media creator Yee I-Lann, and Jompet Kuswidananto, who represented his native Indonesia at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

  • Where: Mori Art Museum, Mori Tower 53F, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku (map)
  • When: July 5 – October 23, 2017
  • Website: www.mori.art.museum
  • Price: Adults 1,000 JPY; Students 500 JPY

The Art of Eric Carle

There can be no doubt that the world is a brighter place thanks to the art of Eric Carle. The creator of the children’s classic ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ has captured the imagination of children the world over, while his other works such as ‘Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me’, only cemented this status.

This exhibition looks closely at the the themes of animals, nature, journeys, fairy tales, fantasies, and family in Carle’s work, whilst also touching on the author and artist’s life as well as his relationship with Japan. As a showing for children, there is a distinct nod towards education, with visitors traveling through his world while learning about changing seasons numbers and dates.

If you miss this exhibition, it may be worth taking the kids to The Art of Disney at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

  • Where: Setagaya Art Museum, 1-2 Kinuta Koen, Setagaya-ku  (map)
  • When: Until July 2, 2017
  • Websitesetagayaartmuseum.or.jp
  • Price: Adults 1,200 JPY;  college and high school students 800 JPY; children aged 6-15 500 JPY

Tombeau Tokyo: Nobuyoshi Araki x Guimet Museum

This is an exhibition to which you probably do not want to bring the kids. Widely considered to be one of Japan’s greatest – and most prolific – living photographers and contemporary artists, Nobuyoshi Araki focuses on love, life, death (which he himself cheated following a bout of cancer) and pornography.

This exhibition comes from the controversial artist’s retrospective exhibition at the Guimet Museum of Asian Art in Paris, parts of a new series ‘Tombeau Tokyo’, a few new pieces, and some of his favorites from the early days of Japanese photography. Expect playful profanity and darkness reflected in a hentai-esque light.

  • Where: Chanel Nexus Hall, 4F Chanel Ginza Building, 3-5-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku (map)
  • When: Until July 23, 2017
  • Websitechanelnexushall.jp
  • Price: Free

Dayanita Singh: Museum Bhavan

One of Dayanita Singh’s ‘book objects’

While Araki’s imagery has at times something of the exploitation of it, Singh goes very much the other way. Having rejected the glorified exoticism of poverty of her home country held by the Western publications she worked for, Singh branched out on her own to create photo-books of work, or ‘book objects’ that have become a series of mobile museums that allow her images to be endlessly edited, sequenced, archived and displayed.

This two-part display, previously shown in London, Frankfurt and Chicago, and her native Delhi, consists of one such project including a section that draws on her most celebrated pieces such as ‘Myself Mona Ahmed’ (1989-2000), which focuses on India’s eunuchs, and ‘I Am As I Am’ (1999-), an exploration of female students at a monastery in the holy city of Varanasi.

  • Where: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Ebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku  (map)
  • When: Until July 17, 2017
  • Websitetopmuseum.jp
  • Price: Adults 800 JPY, college students 700 JPY: high school students and younger, seniors (65+) 600 JPY

Cruising around Edo

As the summer heat descends, what could be better than taking to the waters around the city? This is precisely what the Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art had in mind when they curated this exhibition focusing on ukiyo-e depicting maritime amusements such as ‘pleasure boats’ and firework festivals in locations around the old capital.

Edo (present-day Tokyo), surrounded by rivers and its huge bay, was often referred to as the “city of water”, and its conduits were a primary means of transport, with sailing locals, taxi- boats and merchants sending goods around the city on the waters. This stunning exhibition documents this period via the popular medium of the time, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, with words from the great masters Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi and Kunisada all represented.

For more information about ukiyo-e, check out our guide here.

  • Where:Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 1-10-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (map)
  • When: Until July 23, 2017
  • Websiteukiyoe-ota-muse.jp
  • Price: Adults 700 JPY, students 500 JPY, children aged 15 or under free

Mark Guthrie

Image: via http://www.nact.jp/english/exhibitions/2017/sunshower/ – screengrab (modified)

Image: via https://dayanitasingh.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/c2a9-simon-white-museum-of-chance-hayward-shot-c.jpg – screengrab (modified)


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