10 Things in Tokyo: March 2017

Events and exhibitions happening this month in Tokyo and beyond

poster for Noritaka Tatehana “Camellia Fields”

Noritaka Tatehana “Camellia Fields”

at Kosaku Kanechika
in the Tokyo: Others area
This event has ended - (2017-03-11 - 2017-04-28)

poster for Posters of A.M. Cassandre: A Graphic Revolution

Posters of A.M. Cassandre: A Graphic Revolution

at Museum of Modern Art, Saitama
in the Kanto: others area
This event has ended - (2017-02-11 - 2017-03-26)

poster for Koya Nakamura: Yuzen Artist of Yokosuka

Koya Nakamura: Yuzen Artist of Yokosuka

at Yokosuka Museum of Art
in the Yokohama, Kanagawa area
This event has ended - (2017-02-11 - 2017-04-16)

poster for Namikawa Yasuyuki and Japanese Cloisonné - The Allure of Meiji Cloisonné: The Aesthetic of Translucent Black

Namikawa Yasuyuki and Japanese Cloisonné - The Allure of Meiji Cloisonné: The Aesthetic of Translucent Black

at Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
in the Ebisu, Daikanyama area
This event has ended - (2017-01-14 - 2017-04-09)

In Features by Jennifer Pastore 2017-03-08

Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul at The National Art Center Tokyo

March’s most celebrated exhibition is the polka dot and pumpkin queen Yayoi Kusama’s My Eternal Soul. With 270 works spanning Kusama’s career from early paintings to installations, an immersive light display, and a vibrant painting series started in 2009, this show fully demonstrates the extent of Kusama’s madness and genius and justifies the hype. Ends May 22.

Two new spaces are opening at Terrada Art Complex on March 11. Kosaku Kanechika presents artist and fashion designer Noritaka Tatehana, best known as the creator of heel-less platform shoes for Lady Gaga. See Tatehana’s physics-defying footwear and other works including a three-meter installation of hand-painted camellia flowers inspired by Kamakura’s Kakuonji Temple. (Through April 28.) Scai Park, a spin-off of the popular contemporary art spot SCAI The Bathhouse, makes its debut with a group show featuring Darren Almond, Daniel Buren, Jenny Holzer, On Kawara, and Lee Ufan. How will the diverse works of these boundary-pushing artists come together in one space? Ends April 1.

While these two exhibitions mark new beginnings, an ending is on the horizon, too. This will be the last year for the Tokyo Wonder Wall program, part of the initiative to discover and promote new artistic talent by Tokyo Wonder Site. TWS Shibuya (to be converted into an Art Brut center) hosts the annual fair Wonder Seeds introducing collectors and buyers to the works of young artists. (Through March 26.) Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, meanwhile, offers The Life of the Hunter by Ami Inoue, an artist examining intersections of urban and rural life in Japan. Her video art in this show reimagines her experiences as a hunter relocated to the sterile environment of a building in inner Tokyo. Until March 26.

The 20th Exhibition of the Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art spotlights artists who have “inherited Taro Okamoto’s will to present sharp messages to society.” This year’s thought-provoking, interactive show lives up to the ideals of its avant-garde hero with pieces such as Naoki Yamamoto’s ¥2 million grand prize winning Miss Ile’s Vista – a towering glass cube filled with sugar, news headlines, and the sound of screeching missiles – and Bontaro Dokuyama’s The 4th Branch, MITI recreating an anti-nuclear power protest camp. There’s also Yusuke Iguchi’s pedal-powered kaleidoscope 360, Masashi Kato’s eerily serene cityscape Vacant, and Ayako Ebata’s driftingly philosophical video Life Is Merely a Time Killer. (Through April 9.) If you leave fired up for more art with trenchant social commentary, don’t miss Chim↑Pom’s The Other Side with a tree house the provocateurs installed on the U.S.–Mexico border. Video, photography, and the restaged U.S.A. Visitor Center are at SNAC/Mujin-to Production in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa until April 9.

Posters of A.M. Cassandre: A Graphic Revolution at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama through March 26 is a tribute to the French forefather of modern design. Inspired by Cubism and Bauhaus, Cassandre’s sleekly geometrical works of commercial art captured senses of speed and momentum, dynamically reflecting the rise of the mechanical and commercial age. This display of his graphic works comes largely from the Ruki Matsumoto Collection, also behind the 2013 exhibition of propaganda posters from the Soviet Union. With their streamlined forms and bold blocks of color, Koya Nakamura’s yuzen (traditional Japanese dying) and wax-resist art features stylistic and thematic similarities to those of fellow modernists like Cassandre. Catch Nakamura’s uniquely Japanese take on modernist design in folding screens, fashion, and portraits of the Yokosuka area and its ships. (Ends April 16.) Both of these shows are eligible for discounts with the MuPon app.

Namikawa Yasuyuki and Japanese Cloisonné: The Allure of Meiji Cloisonné is another excellent MuPon-eligible exhibition. The craft of Cloisonné involves firing enamel in decorative designs on metal, and Imperial craftsman Yasuyuki Namikawa produced some of Japan’s finest specimens. His famed opaque-black pieces are now on display along with other examples of his vases and bowls exquisitely adorned with springtime motifs like flowers and butterflies. In this last exhibition before it closes until fall, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum has also opened its Japanese garden to the public. Visit before it ends on April 9.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated visitors could vote on a favorite work at The 20th Exhibition of the Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art. Voting has now ended.

Jennifer Pastore

Jennifer Pastore. Jennifer Pastore is Tokyo Art Beat's editor. You can follow her on Instagram @jepasto » See other writings

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