All in Exhibitions

teamLab Borderless

If you’re in Japan and on any social media, it’s hard not to know something about teamLab. The imminently Instagrammable digital art museum is designed for selfies to share. There are rooms filled with projections of flowers, strings of beautifully flashing lights, small lanterns of changing colors, and a room that’s great for moving around, especially with kids, called the Athletics Forest.

Vienna on the Path to Modernism

This exhibition focuses on fin de siècle Vienna as the precursor to modernism, providing historical context through influences such as the Freemasons and the Emperor Joseph II’s reforms, through Biedermeier Era, the rise of Vienna’s business class, and the effect of the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873. The rest of the exhibition focuses on the artists of Vienna of the early 20th century: the architecture of Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. It also includes the the Vienna Secession, Wiener Werkstätte and Expressionism. There are over 400 items, including paintings, prints, clothing, household items, furniture and much more.

The Nature Rules: Dreaming of Earth Project

This exhibition highlights the Dreaming of Earth Project, a concept launched by Jae-Eun Choi. The project centers around the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the 38th parallel of the Korean peninsula. Because the land contains an estimated three million landmines, the land itself is human-free and is inhabited by over 5000 species of animals. To preserve this ecosystem, the project proposes different components, such as a vault for seeds, a floating garden and more. The exhibition includes work by several artists.

Walk this way

One of the great things about the Watari-um is that you’re always in for a surprise. John Lurie is a musician, co-founder of The Lounge Lizards, a jazz ensemble. He is an actor, director and producer. And he is a painter, focusing on this art form since his 2000 diagnosis of Lyme disease. Art lovers can be snobby about these multi-hyphenates, often thinking one person can’t be good at all these different types of art. But his paintings. His paintings, mostly watercolor and some oil, are really beautiful. Quirky, ephemeral, with a sense of humor, and with nods of Klee and Moreau and Basquiat.

Meet the collection

In celebration of the Yokohama Museum of Art’s 30th anniversary, which neatly corresponds with the length of the Heisei era, the museum is marking this milestone with an exhibition from their extensive permanent collection. Works by Japanese artists are interspersed with those by well-known, international artists, with paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and more on view. The exhibition is made up of two parts: LIFE and WORLD. WORLD ends June 23 and will be replaced by The Eye of a Connoisseur: The Legendary Hara Sankei Collection. LIFE is on view until September 1. Four Japanese artists have curated “encounters” between their own work and works by other artists from the museum collection. Yusuke Asai (partial view of his Tree of Life above) is one of these curators and his section is dramatic.

Parabola of Pre-Raphaelitism

This exhibition highlights the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel in 1848. This art movement was championed by the art critic and artist, John Ruskin. This brotherhood desired art similar to that before the time of Raphael, using intense colors, focusing on nature and Biblical and historical themes. The exhibition consists of artwork by all of these artists and continues through to the work of other Brotherhood associates, Edward Burne-Jones in particular and the decorative arts of William Morris.

information or inspiration?

Ready to see beautiful Japanese artwork with a fresh approach? This exhibition lets the viewer experience art through two different perspectives. One calls on the right brain, using your intuition to experience the artwork, the “inspiration” perspective. The other approach provides details for the left brain, allowing the “information”, and a full, unobstructed view of the artwork, to enhance the experience. This exhibition is made up of only 22 works of Japanese ceramics, glassware, incense burners and more, but visitors go through twice, choosing to begin with either the information (white) side or inspiration (black) side.

The Treasures and the Tradition of “Lâle” in the Ottoman Empire

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Turkey, this exhibition is a great entrée to the country’s art and culture. There are over 170 objects to admire, mostly from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Beautiful jewelry and bejeweled pieces, clothing, carpets, ceramics and all sorts of decorated pieces. The exhibition explains the symbolism and importance of the tulip, or lâle, in the context of the Ottoman Empire and highlights the relations between Japan and Turkey.

To-ji Temple: Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala

Even the title in English is a bit confusing to us non-Japanese -- where is the To-ji temple? What/who (it’s a who) is Kukai? Mandalas, they’re normally seen on paper or in powder form but as sculptures? This exhibition is an opportunity to see some of Japan’s most cherished National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. Almost all of the objects are from the To-ji Temple, which was built almost 1200 years ago in the then newly established capital of Kyoto. The exhibition tells the story of Kukai, the Japanese priest who had recently returned from China and established To-ji as the center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. Kukai brought mandalas to Japan and he is believed to have arranged the statues in the sculpture mandala in To-ji’s lecture hall. The exhibition includes many statues, two dimensional mandalas, various ceremonial objects, and papers and ends with the The World of Mandalas, large room filled with incredible Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Wisdom Kings, and Devas.

Weavers of Worlds — A Century of Flux in Japanese Modern / Contemporary Art —

This exhibition commemorates the reopening of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) and uses the occasion to present a survey of Japanese art of the last 100 years. Different elements of life in Japan across the years are “woven” into this exhibition of artwork. Beginning with 1914 through today, the artwork, mostly paintings, are grouped chronologically, using events such as the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II, and a variety of artistic themes (light, words, universality) to group works by chapter. The exhibition also includes artwork relating to the Kiba district where the museum is located, highlighting the dramatic changes the area has witnessed in the last 100 years.

Sense of Humor

Any exhibition that combines ping pong, Buster Keaton, zen, and surrealism must be aiming for something different. Katsumi Asaba, a graphic artist, calligrapher, and champion ping pong player, among other things, is the exhibition director for Sense of Humor. He presents film, posters, photographs, sculptures, all types of objects and much more with a sense of whimsy and delight. In his words, “humor soothes the spirit; humor stirs the soul….Humor is the heart of communication.” There are lots of colors, shapes and other sights to explore and enjoy.

Roppongi Crossing 2019: Connexions

Roppongi Crossing is a contemporary art exhibition held every three years. The work of 25 Japanese artists/groups (collectives), born in the 1970s and 1980s, is on display. There are several large scale works, videos, cats, a simulated ocean, glowing honey jars, and more. Themes of connection and disparity in the age of the internet, artificial intelligence, and the current state of Japan are explored.