December’s museum picks focus on two future-oriented exhibits and the reopening of one of Tokyo’s landmark museums.

By Sarah Custen

“17th Domani: The Art of Tomorrow”

As forward-looking and future-oriented as “17th Domani: The Art of Tomorrow” tries to be, the exhibition has a very strong foothold in the past. And that’s a good thing. This diverse and novel group show has a long-standing history of supporting new and emerging artists since 1967 through its Overseas Study Program for Artists. The basic premise, according to PR representative Arika Suminaga, “is to support the artists who would be the next leading figures in Japan’s art world.”

Through the Agency for Cultural Affairs, a select group of up-and-coming artists are offered the opportunity to gain training in their specialized fields through personalized overseas study. “Some pursue research at universities, some are involved in specific art organizations, some study under master artists through apprenticeship, while others get into specific studios to acquire certain techniques,” explained Suminaga.

Though the ACA has been dispatching Conservation and Restoration artists for years, this 17th Domani marks the first time that work in this under-represented but essential discipline will be made public. “As a first time attempt, we hope to introduce and promote this aspect of the program,” said Suminaga. “Conservation and Restoration is necessary and critical for the artworks to last for centuries to come.”

In addition to the three C&R artists, this year’s show features twelve other Japanese-born specialists representing a wide array of media—from painting to engraving, photography, pottery, casting, animation, and installation—all under the theme of “Density and Purity of Japan Contemporary Art,” and each bringing their own unique interpretation of this concept. “However,” said Suminaga, “If the audience looks at the highly delicate and sophisticated artworks presented in the exhibition, I’m sure they will be able to see the connecting thread.”


Asuka IRIE, Le Petit Cardinal, 2014. Collection of the Marunuma Art Park, photo by Koichi Hayakawa

“17th Domani: The Art of Tomorrow”
The National Art Center, Tokyo
December 13, 2014–January 15, 2015
Open 11:00–18:00, Fridays until 20:00, closed Tuesdays

“Group Show of Contemporary Artists 2014” at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

An equally varied and modern exhibition, Tokyo Met’s “Group Show of Contemporary Artists” is now in its third run, poised to set up a different sort of legacy and reflection of contemporary art and exploration. Comprised of six distinct, overlapping but non-simultaneous exhibitions, this show is designed to be “viewed together, but as six full exhibitions of young artists,” said curator Kumi Shimokura.

Furthermore, each individual exhibition is made up of its own small group of three or more people whose work has been carried out together in the past. The idea is “to challenge the new expressions which have been [the group’s] own point of view,” said Shimokura.

In this year’s show, these forms of expression include film, Japanese painting, sculpture, printmaking, and calligraphy. Shimokura compares the group dynamic to a chemical reaction, with the opportunity to exhibit publicly providing the possibility for further cooperation and exploration.

“Group Show of Contemporary Artists 2014”
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
November 2014–January 2015
Open 9:30-17:30, Fridays until 20:00, closed 1st and 3rd Mondays

Reopening of the Teien Art Museum

Originally opened in 1933, The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum is available once again to the public, newly renovated and restored after a 3-year closure. During this suspension, the main building—the former Prince Asaka Residence—has been restored to its full Art Deco glory, down to the last meticulous detail and with no expense spared, in order to replicate its original luxury and beauty as closely as possible while preserving it for future generations.


The Teien Museum’s new building, foreground, with the restored main building in the background. (Photo courtesy of the Teien Museum)

Additionally, a series of “white cube galleries” have been added in an annex to the original grounds, based on a concept by contemporary artist Sugimoto Hiroshi. This addition enables Teien to maintain its foothold in Japan’s past, while also extending its reach towards the future—exhibitions to come include performing arts such as music and dance, as well as contemporary art and film.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
November 22, 2014
Open 10:00–18:00, closed 2nd and 4th Wednesdays

Main Image: Ken KITANO, day light, Mojave Barstow Highway, March 20, 2013.