February heralds the first fleeting signs of spring, and with that, perhaps, a subtle nudge towards a more positive outlook for the year ahead. Keeping that positive spirit in mind, here are 10 great exhibitions scheduled to be open in Tokyo in February.
All of the institutions are undertaking coronavirus prevention measures, which are updated according to the current situation. It is important to check the websites before attending any of these Tokyo exhibitions for the most up to date information.
Tokyo National Museum – Japanese Architecture: Traditional Skills and Natural Materials
For anyone interested in traditional Japanese architecture this is a must-see. The Tokyo National Museum and the Agency for Cultural Affairs have put together this exhibition of intricate architectural models, all of historically and architecturally important Japanese wooden buildings. The idea is for visitors to gain the chance to observe the style and skill of the traditional craftsmanship of the original buildings through the models. Everything on display has been designated as a national treasure or important cultural property and includes architectural styles unique to Japan. More details at TW event listing here.
When: until Feb 21, 2021
Where: 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-8712
Note: All tickets are timed-entry tickets to be purchased in advance online.
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Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts – Contemporary Artist Series: Yayoi Kusama
If you have not had a chance or have not been able to visit the Yayoi Kusama Museum, but would like to immerse yourself in her visual world, then this exhibition is a good option. Kusama’s love of repetition and her distinctly graphic style make printmaking the perfect media for her. This exhibition covers roughly 30 of her prints, from the 1980s to the 2000s. Printmaking is often quite a personal pursuit, presenting the artist with boundless possibilities for experimentation. The results can present a lesser-known and more intimate side to well-known artists. The Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts is located in the pretty Serigaya Park, which can be enjoyed after your visit. As an added bonus, this exhibition is free.
When: Until Apr 11, 2021
Where: Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts 4-28-1, Haramachida, Machida-shi, Tokyo 194-0013
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Scai the Bathhouse – “Painting-Phenomena in Degrees of Depth”, Daisuke Ohba
Daisuke Ohba’s paintings explore the possibilities of multi-dimensionality through the use of light and texture, creating illusory images that challenge our perceptions of the world around us. For Ohba, space and time are in constant flux, and his paintings challenge us to rethink our relationship to our environment and our position in history. Using subjects such as the Archaeopteryx and dinosaur fossils, he creates narratives in his paintings that reflect myths from the East and the West. Canvases are layered in paint, with additional texture provided by gold-leaf and other materials. They are then bathed in light to create an ethereal, otherworldly glow suited to his subjects. The paintings provide us with an opportunity to rethink the forms that play a part in our everyday lives, and how they relate to the narratives that guide us.
When: Until Feb 27, 2021
Where: Scai the Bathhouse, Kashiwayu-Ato, 6-1-23 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001
Special Presentation “Botany and Botanical Art in the University of Tokyo – Makino Tomitarō and Yamada Toshio vol.2”https://t.co/LFVazKatUw#インターメディアテク #intermediatheque #IMT #Botany #BotanicalArt pic.twitter.com/mneEKFrZc7
— インターメディアテク (@IMT_Tokyo) December 28, 2020
Intermediatheque – Special Presentation “Botany and Botanical Art in the University of Tokyo – Makino Tomitarō and Yamada Toshio vol.2”
Japan’s love of flowers is practically etched into the national psyche. No matter the season, there will be a festival dedicated to flowers somewhere in Tokyo, although midwinter is admittedly not the best time for viewing them. Luckily, this exhibition at Intermediatheque will enable you to explore Japan’s beautiful flora, exquisitely drawn by the botanical artist Yamada Toshio. This newly discovered collection of botanical drawings, made in conjunction with the famous botanist Makino Tomitaro, is important for what it can tell us about the scientific pursuit of botany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but is also worth seeing for the exquisite draughtsmanship on show.
When: Until Apr 1, 2021
Where: Intermediatheque, 2F, 3F JP Tower 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-7003
21_21 Design Sight – traNslatioNs – Understanding Misunderstanding –
For anyone who has struggled with language barriers and problems from miscommunication caused by issues with translation, this promises to be a very interesting exhibition. I should imagine that for much of the foreign community in Tokyo, overcoming language difficulties has been one of the major challenges of living in this vibrant, exciting city. This exhibition encourages us to delve into some of the issues brought up by translation and to rethink how we connect with our own language as we try to make sense of the other languages that form part of our daily lives.
When: Until Jun 13, 2021
Where: 21_21 Design Sight, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
— 横浜美術館 (@yokobi_tweet) January 27, 2021
Yokohama Museum of Art – TRIALOGUE: The 20th Century Western Art from the Collections of Yokohama Museum of Art, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design
The Yokohama Museum of Art is preparing to close for a long 2-year renovation, so this is the last chance to visit the museum for some time. It is also an opportunity to view some western art in the capital area while the Tokyo Western Art Museum is also closed for a similarly lengthy renovation. The exhibition claims to reexamine the history of 20th century Western Art, through the excellent western art collections of these three museums. Granted, the history of 20th century Western Art is a well-worn area of art historical focus, making it unlikely that much novelty about the subject will be revealed to the visitor in this exhibition. However, it is an exciting opportunity to view the three separate collections together. How the collections were amassed and how they complement each other is of particular interest. Catch it while you can.
When: Until Feb 28, 2021
Where: Yokohama Museum of Art, 3-4-1, Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 220-0012
The National Art Center: “Domani: The Art of Tomorrow”
The theme of this year’s installment of the annual ‘Domani: The Art of Tomorrow’ exhibition is ‘Creating Space’. The theme was chosen in response to the spaces in the landscape created by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the spaces in time suggested by the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns. The hope is that this theme will encourage the artists and the audience to consider the impact of these ‘spaces’, and to focus on what is truly important in our lives. As the Agency for Cultural Affairs (who launched this exhibition series) puts it, they expect this exhibition to show “what can develop when artists with careers predicated on ease of international movement and display, find themselves in an art scene deprived of air for far too long.”
When: Until Mar 7, 2021
Where: The National Art Center, 7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-8558
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Nezu Museum – Radiant Raden
The lustrous shine and ethereal qualities of raden have fascinated people for centuries. Raden is a decorative technique using the ‘shiny’ layer of shells, often incorporated in lacquerware. This exhibition, mainly from the collection of the Nezu Museum, traces the adoption and development of raden techniques in Japan. It promises exquisite objects and examples of exceptional craftsmanship, and of course the beautiful garden of the Nezu Museum adds another dimension to your visit.
When: Until Feb 14, 2021
Where: Nezu Museum, 6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, 107-0062
Admission: ¥1000 – ¥1300
National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo Sleeping: Life with Art – From Goya and Rubens to Shiota Chiharu
Any parent will know the life-changing and essential importance of a good night’s sleep. People universally have mastered the art of sleeping in on a day off. Artists have taken the love further having sleep as an underlying theme. This multi-disciplinary exhibition looks at how a diverse selection of artists have considered the issue of sleep in their work. See TW event listing for more information. This is the final month for this exhibition, so don’t snooze on it.
When: Until Feb 23, 2021
Where: National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, 3-1 Kitanomaru-koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8322
Admission: ¥600 – ¥1200
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum – Yoshida Hiroshi: Commemorating the 70th anniversary of his death
Hiroshi Yoshida was a master of the modern Japanese woodblock print, or shin-hanga, fusing western-style naturalism with traditional Japanese woodblock techniques to create beautiful prints that tapped into the incredible natural environments of both Japan and the countries to which he traveled. This exhibition will showcase prints from every stage of his artistic development, and will also include woodblocks and sketchbooks. See TW event listing for more information.
When: until Mar 28, 2021
Where: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 8-36 Ueno-Park Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007
Know of any other exhibitions in Tokyo you think we should include in the future? Email us at [email protected]