TOPSeptember ’16 Gallery Guide: Six Top Exhibitions to See

September ’16 Gallery Guide: Six Top Exhibitions to See

By Weekender Editor

September is when things slowly start to change in Tokyo. Let us be your guide to the art world, where you can stroll alongside naked visitors to one of Tokyo’s major museums, and see dozens of wonders from the plant kingdom. For even more things to do this month, take a look at our event calendar.

Dialogue with Trees – Five Stories of Rebirth and Renewal

Five contemporary Japanese artists who work with wood are the focus of the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum’s 90th anniversary exhibit. Collectively, these artists challenge the conventions of what is possible with this living medium – works on display run from massive installations to smaller, more intimate pieces, all of which explore themes of birth, death, and the endless cycles that motivate everything that happens in between. Held five years after the tragic events of 3/11, the exhibit also features poignant images of regrowth in the wake of destruction.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Until October 2, 2016
Map and contact details here.

tokyo metropolitan art museum
TSUCHIYA Yoshimasa, Phoenix, 2016, Collection of the artist, Photo: TAKENOUCHI Hiroyuki

Ultra Plants Exhibit 2016 – Seijun Nishihata’s Enchanting Plant Life

Nishihata, a fifth generation flower and plant supplier, has traveled around the world and collected thousands of plants. They’re on display at this fascinating exhibit, which features the bizarre flora placed in custom made ceramic vessels that are often as impressive as the plants they contain. It’s a pleasant way to see some green amidst the urban jungle, and some of the items are for sale, so if you’re on the lookout for an eye-catching balcony plant or a table centerpiece, this just might be your place.

Pola Museum Annex
Until September 25, 2016
Map and contact details here.

Pola Museum Annex


Today, you only need to look as far as Snapchat to recognize the ease – and appeal – of putting on a disguise, but mask-wearing goes back thousands of years and can be found in almost every culture around the world. This exhibition asks the question – “what do masks mean in the 21st century?” – and displays the multimedia responses of 26 underground artists from seven different Asian countries. The exhibition is curated by the Singaporean art collective Kult, which has been promoting contemporary art and artists around Asia for nearly a decade.

Diesel Art Gallery
Until November 11, 2016
Map and contact details here.


© Kittozutto
© Kittozutto

Kishin Shinoyama: “La Maison Des Rendez-vous”

Ever been to a museum where all of the photographs on display were taken at the museum where they were being exhibited – and all of the people in the pictures are naked? We’re betting that you haven’t, and neither have we. Shinoyama, a photographer who has been practicing his craft for more than 50 years, uses a collection of 60 photographs to draw viewers into a fantasy world that turns the Hara Museum into “a riotous party, a one-time affair lasting a little more than four months.”

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Until January 1, 2017
Map and contact details here.

Tokyo Weekender Kishin Shinoyama Hara Museum

Salvador Dali Exhibition

After two months in Kyoto, this retrospective of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali arrives in Tokyo. The exhibition introduces various chapters of the eccentric painter’s weird and wonderful life through his work, beginning from his birth in 1904 until his death in 1989. This is the first large-scale retrospective of Dali’s work to be shown in Japan, curated by the Dali Foundation, and will be a chance to take a deeper look at the fascinating man known as much for his strange wit and humor (not to mention his moustache) as for his artistic merit.

The National Art Center, Tokyo
September 14 – December 12, 2016
Map and contact details here.


Jeanloup Sieff: Nude & Fashion

French photographer Jeanloup Sieff is best known for his internationally acclaimed fashion magazine work and for taking portraits of celebrities Jane Birkin, Yves Saint-Laurent and Alfred Hitchcock. He worked from 1950 all the way to his death in 2000, using mostly black and white film, and employing a very cinematic look to his images. His fashion photos were featured in nearly all of the top magazines of the genre, including “Elle,” “Vogue” and “Glamour.” For this show, titled “Nude & Fashion,” many of the artist’s richly textured silver gelatin prints will be on display (and for sale), including some of his most provocative nude portraiture work.

Art Gallery M84
Until September 17, 2016
Map and contact details here.