With many places closing, reopening and then closing again in the past few months, people’s plans have been thrown into disarray. Fortunately, there are still some Tokyo exhibitions to see in June 2021. With Tokyo still in a quasi-state of emergency, it is particularly important to check with the gallery or museum before visiting, as opening hours and days are subject to change. Most of the institutions listed below were closed during the last state of emergency, so it is possible that end dates may be changed. 

Midway Between Mystery and Symbol: Yayoi Kusama’s Monochrome

Yayoi Kusama tokyo exhibitions

Yayoi Kusama Museum, 2F Installation. © Yayoi Kusama

The latest exhibition at the ever-popular Yayoi Kusama Museum focuses on the artist’s use of a monochrome palette. Repetition has long been a key theme for Kusama. She draws on the power and possibilities of multiple forms to find different meanings. The visual impact of repeated images is often enhanced by the use of a monochromatic color palette. It is, therefore, not surprising that monochrome works have featured throughout her career.

As this is Yayoi Kusama, don’t expect a field of black and white. The exhibition plays with the idea of monochrome. For example, some of her work with mirrors are in essence monochromatic but when viewed in person the multicolored reflections dominate. The exhibition features works from throughout the artist’s career, including her latest series of paintings ‘My Eternal Soul.’

When: Until Dec 26
Where: Yayoi Kusama Museum, 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku-ku

*Please note that only timed 90-minute tickets are available. They are only available on the museum’s website (no tickets at the door) and please check the latest information, including temporary closure on the museum’s website.

Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging – 16 Women Artists from around the World

Mishima Kimiyo at Mori Art Museum

Photo: Tayama Tatsuyuki
Photo courtesy: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

The focus of Another Energy is on 16 female artists, all over 70, from 14 different countries. Their art and backgrounds might be incredibly diverse, but they all share a common goal: To forge their own path and develop their art according to their own values. While this might not seem like a radical notion in today’s society, 50 years ago the world was very different. It takes considerable strength to stand up for your own convictions in a world that doesn’t want to listen. That is what the artists showcased in this exhibition were prepared to do.

When: Until Sep 26
Where: Mori Art Museum, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku

“Immaten”: imma’s Heaven – imma and Friends

imma influencer

Meet imma — Instagram personality, Tiktok star, pink-bob-haired icon and, above all, Asia’s first virtual human. In this collaborative exhibition at the Diesel Art Gallery, 13 artists base imma as the center of their graphics, digital data, photography and painting works. Led by the brilliant mind of art director Minoru Murata, various works of imma narrate for a dynamic space with the theme of ‘heaven’ and challenge the line between genuine existence and imitation.

When: Until Sep 2
 Diesel Art Gallery, 1−23−16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku

Shiriagari-san, Hokusai-san — Show Time, with a Giggle!

tokyo exhibitions

© Blue Fuji (Shiriagari Kotobuki). Courtesy of The Sumida Hokusai Museum

Known for his dark humor and satirical twists, manga artist Kotobuki Shiriagari isn’t reluctant to give absurd interpretations to ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai’s masterpieces. It’s all at once a homage to the Japanese pioneer and a playful jab at his well-known artworks, which Shiriagari considered as “playing a little trick.” Full of mischief and lacking in common sense, it’s an eyebrow-raising way to get familiar with both Hokusai’s iconic and lesser-known paintings. In addition to 36 gag strips of Shiriagari’s returning comical renditions, his newer works such as Blue Fuji and Ruri Fuji, alongside replicas of Hokusai’s prints will also be on display.

When: Until Jul 10
Where: Sumida Hokusai Museum, 2-7-2 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku

Ewelina Skowronska: Voices from the Inside

Image by Maciej Komorowski

“When a woman thinks alone she thinks evil,” reads the Hammer of Witches. Patriarchy and fear, morphing into mania, once drove Shinto female priests and European witches in the middle ages into oppression. Tokyo-based Polish artist Ewelina Skowronska relives this narrative and the depth behind their stories in her exhibition Voices from the Inside. Known to explore gender, identity and female body through her ceramic sculptures and prints, Skowronska uses experimental airbrush techniques to further examine the cultural and mythological significance of shamans and witches. Once deemed outsiders with uncanny powers, they have now resurfaced as symbols of feminism and sexual liberation. Carnal and provoking, Skowronska centers her exhibition on the spiritual, sexual and cultural elements of the female anatomy.

When: Until Jul 27
Where: The Knot Tokyo, 4-31-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku

Bonus entry: A day trip to Hakone for the sake of art

Foujita: Explorations in color

tokyo exhibitions pola museum

Leonard (Tsuguharu) Foujita was the most celebrated Japanese painter of the early 20th Century. His delicate use of black lines, milky white glaze and his ability to bring out the life of his subjects were all highly regarded in Europe, not least by the leading artists of the 1920s such as Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani, with whom he mixed. He left Paris in the early 1930s to travel to South and Central America. After that, he headed back to Japan and on to South East Asia.

Foujita was eccentric, talented and controversial. Unsurprisingly he ran into trouble a few times throughout his illustrious career. There is plenty of depth here for curators to explore. However, this exhibition opts for a lighter path, focusing on Foujita’s use of color in the context of his extensive travels. If you missed the 2018 Foujita retrospective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, this is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with one of Japan’s best known and most notorious artists.

When: Until Sep 5
Where: Pola Museum of Art, 1285 Kozukayama Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture

*Top image © Yayoi Kusama