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21_21 Design Sight is Tadao Ando and Issey Miyake's labor of love. It shines an appreciative light on all things design-able, from furniture to utensils to architecture. There are many exhibitions and workshops held here as 21_21's primary function is to provide a creative meeting place for designers and craftsmen. The building itself is flat and triangular, resembling a folded origami design.
More of an exhibition hall than a museum, the National Art Center, Tokyo devotes over 14,000 square meters to beautiful artworks. The Center specializes in an ever-changing array of temporary exhibitions that concentrate on the diversity of modern and classical art. Kashiwa SATÔ, designer of the Center's theme, says the facility's focus is to promote "new, more open relationships between people and art". Other than the wondrous art installations on display, the monolithic structure itself is a real eye-grabber. With a curved, stained glass aperture, it is bound to captivate even from a distance. Overall, if you are an art connoisseur, then National Art Center is well worth your time.
Opened in October 2003, the Mori Art Museum is dedicated to contemporary art and has been critically acclaimed by experts for its diverse exhibitions. Every exhibition has its own specific theme and a number of related artworks—paintings, photographs and prints—are displayed. The museum not only encourages Japanese artistes to come up with innovative creations, but also attracts a wide range of audiences from all over the country through various public programs. Mori Art does not hold permanent exhibitions; the venue is closed to public when there are no displays.
Artwork from one of Japan's best-known illustrators of children's books forms the bulk of the museum's collection. Primarily a memorial to Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974) the museum was founded in 1977 on the site of her studio (which has been restored). The collection includes examples of her personal books and correspondence. Displays are changed six times a year. The permanent collection consists of some 8,000 original works, including early sketches. Recently, the museum has sponsored exhibits featuring picture books from overseas artists as well as other Japanese illustrators.
Founded in 1926, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum displays a wide range of Japanese art forms in its six huge galleries. Apart from organizing exhibitions of traditional Japanese crafts, graphic design and calligraphy by contemporary Japanese artists, the museum also holds art lectures and workshops for upcoming enthusiasts. Admission prices vary as per the exhibition. For more details, check the website.
If you want to see ultra-modern art, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is a good choice. The functionally experimental architectural design (Bauhaus) of the building is striking. Artists representing the permanent collection include Rothko, Pollock, Dubuffet, Appel, Nobuo Sekine and Tomio Miki. Exhibits include contemporary pieces, many from emerging international artists, adding more diversity to the museum's credit. Another noteworthy feature is the sculpture which is on display in the garden. Other than the striking exhibitions, there are a plethora of facilities such as holographic art, video presentations and a coffee shop to rest and relax.
Misako & Rosen in Toshima is all about promoting up and coming artists in the city. The gallery is devoted to promote fabulous emerging talent in the contemporary art space. Today, the gallery is one of the biggest contemporary art spaces in the entire Tokyo area and their collections include multiple mediums and forms of art. Sculptures, paintings and many other contemporary art forms are displayed here during their many exhibits.
Along with Nikon and Canon, Fujifilm is one of the Japanese photo industry's heavy-hitters. Fujifilm Square, located in Roppongi and dedicated to all things Fuji, is a great place to spend some time alone, with friends or with the family. The cool, modern complex centers around photography, in which Fuji has been involved for 50 years, but also exhibits the other products that involve Fujifilm, like healthcare or lifestyle improvement. Whether you want to pop into a free gallery, buy a limited edition print, rub some newly-developed emollient into your skin, or learn about Fujifilm's history, it can all be accomplished with just one trip to the impressive Fujifilm Square!
The Bankamura museum mainly focuses on exhibiting art of various forms, be it classical or contemporary art. They could at times feature a single artist's works, or have a culmination of many artists over a themed layout. They normally have 4-6 exhibitions which are held on an annual basis with four themes set in place - Western Paintings of 19th and the 20th centuries, internationally acclaimed art pieces, photography, and works of female artists. Please refer to website for fees, as admission depends on the type of exhibit.
The objective of this museum is to provide a venue for international artistic and cultural exchange. It is the only museum in Tokyo that systematically brings together foreign and domestic contemporary art. The Permanent Collection Gallery displays around 3,800 works. Established in 1995, the building's architecture is strikingly contemporary. Facilities include galleries for temporary exhibitions, a lecture room, an art library, museum shop, restaurant and a cafeteria.
Located in the Setagaya-ku area, this art museum is a large establishment that puts up exhibitions throughout the year. Equipped with a shop, an auditorium, a lecture room and a library, it has just the right facilities required to appreciate art. An on-site restaurant serves visitors lunch and snacks. The museum also has three annexes that function in collaboration with the main building—Mukai Junkichi, Kiyokawa Taiji and Miyamot Saburo. It is therefore no wonder that thousands of visitors flock to this art haven each year.
Gallery Koyanagi is tucked away at the back of the Koyanagi building, on the eighth floor. Here you will find around thirty artistic spaces, all occupied by well-established artists, both local and foreign (Sophie Calle, Rei Naito, Yoon Hee Chang). It's a space that requires time and quiet (it's one of the largest commercial art spaces in Tokyo) and both shall be richly rewarded.