Friday, November 19, 2010

65. Museum Review: Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

Founded in 1979, the Hara Museum was one of the first contemporary art museums in Japan.  Located in Shingawa Ward, the building was originally a private residence constructed in 1938. 

The entrance to the museum is surrounded by lovely shade trees, and a number of exhibits are scattered around the lawn.  Inside are two floors containing 5 gallery spaces and a cafe overlooking a grassy space that contains more exhibits and outdoor seating. 
The museums's collection comprises of about 1,000 works by leading and upcoming artists from around the world.  In addition to permanent sculptures in the garden, there are some very interesting permanent exhibits inside including 'My Drawing Room' by Yoshitomo Nara and 'Time Link' by Tatsuo Miyajima. 
By the way, when you wander the museum, don't hesitate to open any doors that you see.  Except for the obvious (toilet, office), behind most doors are exhibits themselves. 
On my most recent visit, the museum was holding a special exhibition for Jae-Eun Choi called 'Forests of Asoka'.  I often find the exhibits here to be quite bizarre, but was pleasantly surprised with Choi's work.  *Her exhibit runs through December 26, 2010.
This museum never seems to be busy, and they offer a couple of really tasty lunch specials, as well as some yummy desserts.  Although I don't find the garden space (above) to be that impressive, it is a quiet oasis in the city.  The garden/park of Gotenyama is directly behind the museum and entry is free.

Address:  4-7-25, Kitashinagawa, Shingawa Ward
Phone:  03-3445-0651
Hours of Operation:  11:00am - 5:00pm, Wednesdays until 8:00pm.  *Last entry 30 min. before closing.
Closed:  Mondays
Admission:  1000 yen (general), 700 (high school and univ student), 500 yen (elem and Jr high).
*Free for students through high school every Saturday during the school terms.

Directions:  5 minutes by taxi or 15 minutes by foot from Shinagawa Station (Takanawa Exit).  Or, from the same station, take the No. 96 bus, and get off at the first stop (Gotenyama), and walk 3 minutes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

64. Museum Review: Shiodome Museum / Rouault Gallery (Shiodome)

When Panasonic opened their new headquarters in Shiodome in 2003, they also opened the Shiodome Museum to showcase the paintings and prints of the twentieth century French painter Georges Rouault (1871-1958).  Their collection, which consists of approximately 200 of his works, have been collected by the company as part of its cultural contribution to society.
A rotating selection of Rouault's work is on permanent display, and the museum periodically holds special exhibitions relating to the artist. In addition, the museum holds exhibitions on themes corresponding to the actual undertakings of the company, such as "architecture and living" and "life and design."
The current exhibition, Hans Coper Retrospective - Innovation in 20th Century Ceramics, runs from June 26, 2010 - September 5, 2010.  Hans Coper was one of the masters of British ceramics in the 20th century.  If you've never seen his work, this is a great opportunity - It is impressive and  very original.
The museum itself is very quiet (very few people know of its existence), well laid out, and easy to get to. 
Hours of operation:  10:00 am - 6:00 pm (Entry until 5:30 pm).  Closed on Mondays (excluding holidays), New Year holidays, museum summer holidays, and during changes of exhibits. 
Admission:  Adults:500/ Senior high school and college students:300/ Elementary school and junior high school students:200/ Seniors:400     (Different fees may be charged during special exhibitions.)
Address:  Shiodome Museum   4F Pansonic Electric Works Tokyo Headquarters, 1-5-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-8301
Phone:   03-5777-8600

Five-minutes' walk from Ginzaguchi Exit of JR Shimbashi Station.
Three-minutes' walk from Exit 2 of Shimbashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.
Three-minutes' walk from the ticket wicket of Shimbashi Station on the Toei Asakusa Line.
One-minutes' walk from Exits 3 and 4 of Shiodome Station on the Toei Oedo Line

Thursday, April 15, 2010

63. Museum Review: Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

Taro Okamoto was Japan's pioneer in avante-garde art.  He was a painter, photographer, sculptor, designer, and more!  Influenced by Picasso at a young age, his art was radically different than anything a Japanese had ever created before. 

Here is a very interesting video about him:
The Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum in Minami-Aoyama was Okamoto's home and studio for over 40 years. He lived there until his death in 1996 at the age of 84.  The museum has over 600 pieces, including a 140cm prototype for his 'Tower of the Sun', which is a 70 meter tall sculpture created as the symbol of the 1970 Osaka Expo.
In addition to displaying his works, the museum kept Okamoto's studio and garden intact. 

A small cafe called 'A Piece of Cake' sits next to the garden and it is not necessary to pay the entrance fee to enter either.  The day I was there a Japanese mom had brought her daughter to the garden to color (see photo below).  Obviously inspired, the two of them were drawing vigorously!    
Many of the paintings here are unfinished works as Okamoto had already donated over 1,800 of his pieces to the city of Kawasaki before he passed away.  You can see my entry on that museum here:

Even if you are not a fan of this type of art, the museum is a quiet, and interesting, oasis not far from Omotesando. 
Admission:  600 yen for adults, 300 yen for elementary school students
Hours of Operation:  10am - 6pm (last entry at 5:30).  Closed on Tuesdays and during the New Year's holidays.

Address:  Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama 6-1-19, 8 minutes walk from Omotesando Station.
 Use exit A5, go right.  Walk down to the third traffic light and turn right (the Nezu Museum will be in front of you).  Walk straight, and just before the main street (and traffic light), make a right. 
Phone:  03-3406-0801
Website:  http://www/  (Japanese only)