The internet is what’s keeping us together right now. It’s how we’re still managing to produce Tokyo Weekender magazine while working from home and it’s how we’re keeping in contact with our loved ones, even if we live only a few train stations apart. And, since we haven’t been able to physically visit any art exhibitions over the last few weeks, here are a few ways the web is bringing the work of thousands of artists into our homes.
As everybody began to embrace social distancing, Google’s Arts & Culture program quickly became the most comprehensive repertoire of virtual museum tours. Its seemingly infinite international lineup now includes several Japanese institutions, too: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, the Mie Prefectural Art Museum, the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts and, while not quite a museum, the Mt. Mitoku Sanbutsu-ji Temple in Tottori, and more.
More info at artsandculture.google.com
While you might not be able to physically surround yourself with art, now might be the right time to try your hand at it. We highly recommend Artbar, our favorite art and wine destination, who are offering online video classes throughout the coronavirus outbreak. Open to all, this is not only a great way to spend a weekday evening, but a good chance to enjoy a bit of social time, too.
More info at artbar.co.jp
We’ve seen a rise in live art streams from independent artists as well as high-profile players such as Takashi Murakami, who started spontaneously live-streaming his process on Instagram. Hiromart Gallery started sharing images of artists and their home studios to inspire their followers to connect with creators online. And there have also been a handful of initiatives to help support the art world. Notably, THE CLUB at Ginza Six launched their Covid-19 Relief Fund, an effort in collaboration with current and past exhibitors. Artists like Kour Pour, Claudia Peña Salinas and Jackie Saccoccio created small works on Instagram Live to be sold online with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards Médecins Sans Frontières.
Check out THE CLUB on Instagram: @theclub.tokyo
How to Support Your Favorite Artists
If you’re in a position to financially support artists, consider donating to your favorite museum or online shopping for a new piece of art. For those living in Japan who have a penchant for contemporary art, check out Oil, an online store curated and run by Japanese art publication Bijutsutecho, where you can browse works by renowned artists based in or inspired by Japan. Whether you have a thing for photography or printmaking, there’s something to suit any art lover’s taste.
More info at oil.bijutsutecho.com