From an ambitious exhibition that might make you begin questioning life, the universe and everything, to a fond reflection on children’s picture book illustrations, our August Gallery Guide is packed with plenty of unique events. For even more listings and things to do, check out our events calendar.

The Universe and Art – Princess Kaguya, Leonardo da Vinci, Teamlab

An ambitious exhibition that moves between religious art, science, science fiction, and space exploration, “The Universe and Art” is a tour de force that should fire your imagination and leave you wondering about our small place in the large cosmos. Divided into four different sections – “How Have Humans through the Ages Viewed the Universe?” “The Universe as Space-Time,” “A New View of Life – Do Aliens Exist?” and “Space Travel and the Future of Humanity” – the exhibit marks the first time that Leonardo da Vinci’s astronomy manuscripts are being shown in Japan.

Mori Art Museum
Until January 9, 2017
Map and contact details here

Tokyo Weekender Universe and Art

Magical Art Museum – Illusion of Light and Shadow

Most art only requires that you, the viewer, look at it and appreciate it. The pieces on display at the “Magical Art Museum,” however, only become complete when museumgoers interact with them. Created by artists both local and international, these works come to life in a play of light, shadow, sound, and patterns – one might transform you into a pixelated character, while another lets you bring a miniature landscape into scintillating action with the toss of a ball. Looks to be a hit for “kids” of all ages.

Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art
Until August 28, 2016 
Map and contact details here

Tokyo Weekender Magical Art Museum

A Treasury of Written Characters

Akira Nakanishi (1928-94) was the sixth generation head of a famous printing company in Kyoto, and became so enamored with the written word that he spent 25 years of his life traveling the world and collecting writing specimens from more than 100 countries. The “Nakanishi Collection,” which is preserved at Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, contains samples of writing from the Middle East and Europe, India and Southeast Asia, and China. A fascinating look at the variety of ways that humankind has captured language for posterity.

LIXIL Gallery 1
Until August 27, 2016
Map and contact details here 

Tokyo Weekender Treasury of Written Characters

From the Land of Children’s Illustrations – Stories and Dreams

For many of us, the illustrations that we came across in the picture books of our childhood were our first introduction to fine art. One publication that took this idea to heart was “Children’s World,” which featured illustrations by two pioneers of art for children, Takeo Takei and Shigeru Hatsuyama. The celebrated Japanese industrial designer Yoshio Akioka was inspired by these Showa period images in his youth, and this exhibition features works by all three figures, with an aim of showing how the pictures we love as children inform our creative style later in life.

Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo
Until September 4, 2016 
Map and contact details here

Tokyo Weekender From the Land of Children's Illustrations

Manuel Álvarez Bravo “Mexico, Light and Time in Silence”

Mexican master Manuel Álvarez Bravo left an indelible mark on the art of photography. Bravo first emerged as a prominent figure in the late ’20s after the Mexican Revolution and during a turbulent period associated with the muralist movement and avant-garde art. From that point until the late ’90s, Bravo constantly produced photographs that extolled a unique sense of quiet and poetic sentiment.

This exhibition, the first full-scale retrospective of the artist’s work to be held in Japan, conveys the allure of Álvarez Bravo’s nearly 70-year practice through approximately 192 black-and-white prints and countless documents.

Setagaya Art Museum
Until August 28, 2016
Map and contact details here


“Onago Room” Photo Book Exhibition

An exhibition of work by photographer Shiori Kawamoto that commemorates the release of his second photo book “Onago Room.” Kawamoto has continued his project of photographing women naturally in their private rooms with a variety of subjects including artists, models and idols, giving you a fascinating glimpse of their regular everyday surroundings, which may seem extreme to some. For those who have already purchased the book, the exhibition offers a chance to see previously unpublished outtake photographs and video. If you’ve ever felt intrigued by the mystery of girls’ bedrooms, or maybe you’re just curious to take a look inside someone else’s space, this is a must-see.

Takahashi Hiroki Oshiage Studio
Until August 31, 2016
Map and contact details here

Onago Room