7 Must-See Art Exhibits for the Month of March

Cherry blossom season is just around the corner, but art is always in full bloom in Tokyo. Here’s our pick of the city’s most interesting exhibits – and we’ve even included a sakura exhibit that will outlast the soon to be blooming flowers. For more information about each exhibit, click on the header.

The Prussian East Asian Expedition Photographic Team, Nagasaki Panorama (Part) 1861, Albumen Paper, Collection of Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

Geneses of Photography in Japan: Nagasaki

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Meiji era, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is exploring the earliest roots of photography in Japan, beginning with Nagasaki. The exhibit includes works by European photographers and pictures by some of the earliest Japanese enthusiasts who helped popularize the form, as well as maps, paintings, and crafts that add background to these transformative times.

Sompo Museum FACE Exhibition resize
Grand Prix, “Each time you jump, the rising ground is different than the time before,” Hiromi Sengoku, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2017

FACE 2018 – Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Art Award Exhibition

The Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art holds the idea of public art close to its heart – their motto is “the gateway to the art world regardless of age or affiliation” – and its FACE, or Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Art Award, exhibit brings this idea to life. This year, the competition drew 970 entries from around the country, from which 71 entries were chosen. The artists chosen range in age from their 20s to their 70s, and the Grand Prix Awardee will be included in the museum’s permanent collection. A great opportunity to see work by truly unknown artists.

Dish with Design of Lotus Leaf and Geometric Pattern, Overglaze Enamels, Ko-Kutani Style, Japan, Middle 17th Century, Idemitsu Museum of Arts

Iro-e: Japan CUTE!

Iro-e is a ceramics technique that features the application of multicolored overglazed enamel patterns, and it flourished in Japan during the Edo period. This exhibit collects many pieces of iro-e ceramics, including pots, plates, and incense burners; collectively, the pieces represent an important facet of Japanese art history and are an early example of the country’s influence on world visual culture.

Crossdressers in Ukiyo-e

The Edo period in Japan was surprisingly free in many ways, and the concept of what was male and what was female was something that could be played with — at least in the world of art and theater. Since women were banned from performing kabuki during this period, men took on both female and male roles on stage. Men performing female characters were often encouraged to take their roles to the next level, by living as women in their normal daily lives as well. Artists would often switch genders of historical figures and fictional characters in their work, creating playful parody pieces that were popular during this time. Gain some insight into the customs and creative pursuits of Edo period artists through this unique exhibition of ukiyo-e pieces.

Brueghel: 150 Years of the Artist Family

This exhibition traces the 150-year lineage of the Brueghel family, and highlights the beauty and appeal of Flemish art through landscape paintings, genre paintings, and still lifes of flowers by artists of the family. The exhibition will consist of some 100 works, many of them from private collections and rarely seen in public.

Senju Hiroshi, Cherry Blossoms in the Dark, color on paper, Heisei Period, 2001, Yamatane Museum of Art

Thematic exhibition: Sakura, Sakura, Sakura 2018 — Flower Viewing at the Museum!

Soon enough, the parks and streets will be bursting with cherry blossoms, so why not enjoy them at the museum as well? This thematic exhibition combs through the Yamatane Museum of Art’s vast collection of nihonga (modern Japanese paintings) to offer an anthology of 20th and 21st century paintings that capture the evanescent blooms in all their transient glory.

MOVE! into the Wild Life

This new interactive exhibition at Miraikan invites visitors to find out more about the weird and wonderful living creatures that cohabit this planet with us. Find out what it’s like to run across water like a basilisk lizard, slide on your belly like a penguin, learn to pounce like a lion and even try climbing inside a woodlouse shell! There is plenty of educational but genuine fun for all the family.

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