at Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2017-03-18 - 2017-04-15)
at Take Ninagawa
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2017-03-11 - 2017-04-22)
at SCAI The Bathhouse
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2017-03-03 - 2017-04-22)
in the Shibuya area
This event has ended - (2017-03-25 - 2017-04-30)
at Ichihara Lakeside Museum
in the Kanto: others area
This event has ended - (2017-03-18 - 2017-05-14)
Spring has sprung, and there’s no artsier place to spend it than at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The highly anticipated Cosmos in a Tea Bowl showcases ceramic masterpieces created in a secret family art for 15 generations. Five minutes away, MOMAT’s Crafts Gallery brings out a beastly menagerie of creature-adorned pottery, textiles, masks, and more in the appropriately titled Animals, Animals, Animals. Both shows end May 21, but now during MOMAT’s Spring Festival while the Imperial Palace cherry trees are in bloom is an excellent time to go. The festival ends April 9.
For cycling enthusiasts, Era of the Bicycle at the Chigasaki Museum of Art southwest of Yokohama is another breezy spring outing. Home to Japan’s first bicycle race during the Meiji era, Chigasaki still prizes its reputation as a cycling-friendly city. This show on through June 4 traces the history of the bicycle from social, cultural, and athletic angles, displaying weird and wonderful machines from the 1800s through today, paintings and posters of bikes, and cycling fashion. Events including a tour of a bike-maker’s studio, a cycling photo scavenger-hunt, and peddle-powered tuk tuk rides also look fun.
Parody and Intertextuality: Visual Culture in Japan around the 1970s is the season’s surprise hit. Works by postmodern savants like Yokoo Tadanori, Genpei Akasegawa, and Ushio Shinohara explore how Japanese artists have ingeniously spoofed and satirized culture at home and abroad as means of creative expression and social commentary. See this show with a MuPon discount before it ends April 16. (Editor’s note 4/2/2017: This exhibition is geared toward the Japanese reader with few English explanations provided. Bring along an art-loving Japanese friend if you aren’t fluent).
Tomoo Gokita has built a fast-rising reputation by seamlessly mixing mediums and styles in works that can seem themselves like pop culture-infused parodies of family photo albums. Holy Cow at Taka Ishii Gallery presents Gokita’s latest black and white gouache paintings alchemizing equal doses of humor, pathos, and absurdity. Ends April 15.
Other stand-out gallery shows this month include painter and sculptor Izumi Kato’s neo-primitive tykes at Take Ninagawa in Azabu and Tatsuo Miyajima’s Life (Complex System) at Scai The Bathhouse, both ending April 22. Miyajima continues to explore ideas of time, mortality, and signification in a new series of somberly ticking digital installations. Masanori Handa’s Tokyo Palace at Statements in Shibuya recreates the metabolism of the city in mixed-media works mimicking Tokyo’s patterns of urban behavior. Until April 30th.
April is also an excellent month for media art with two shows by leaders in the field. First, Rhizomatiks 10 at Spiral in Omotesando looks back on the commercial collective’s decade of creative innovation in projects bridging art, design, and entertainment for acts like Perfume. Find out what they’ve been up to recently in the fields of research, architecture, and design. (April 19th–April 30). Tokyo Dome City’s new cultural space Gallery Aamo offers another chance to see Rhizomatiks’ work with a two-day dance installation created in collaboration with dance troupe Elevenplay. (April 15 and April 16).
Finally, the enticingly nature-surrounded Ichihara Lakeside Museum in Chiba presents Parallax by Carsten Nicolai. In this MuPon-eligible show, the multi-media artist and musician fills the museum with his extensive catalog of works playing tricks on sensory perception, such as the display Particle Noise turning radiation into audible sound. Nicolai’s first exhibition at a Japanese museum in 15 years ponders the Greek concept of “parallaxis,” the phenomenon of objects appearing differently depending on viewing angle. Until May 14.