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)

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