Darren Gore

Darren Gore

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Articles (3)

13 best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

13 best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

With an abundance of art shows happening this season, it'll be hard to catch all of the latest installations before they disappear. Nonetheless, we've got a list of the top art exhibitions taking place in some of Tokyo's most popular galleries to help you figure out where to start – we've also included free exhibitions in this list. For a full day of art excursions, you should also check out Tokyo's best street art and outdoor sculptures, or fill your Instagram feed at the newly reopened teamLab Borderless. Note that some museums and galleries require making reservations in advance to prevent overcrowding at the venues.  RECOMMENDED: Escape the city with the best art day trips from Tokyo

6 best things to do at the new Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado

6 best things to do at the new Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado

Tokyo’s Harajuku-Omotesando intersection has a new landmark in the form of Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado. With stunning design that features a vertical rooftop garden embedded into a reflective, geometric facade, the new development shares aesthetic DNA with Tokyo Plaza Omotesando Harajuku directly opposite. A total of 75 shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses can be found across Harakado’s nine above-ground and three basement levels. Mixed among the shopping opportunities are a number of cool experiences: some unique in this corner of the city, others unrivalled in all of Tokyo. The leafy rooftop garden combines with a giant, sun-inspired art installation to conjure a refreshing sense of wild nature, while an authentic sento bath brings retro vibes to this 21st-century development. Harakado’s retail aspect too offers some pleasant surprises, including openings from some lesser-known names to watch, and a concept store dedicated to the safest of safe sex: the solo variety. You could spend a whole day at this fitting new addition to Harajuku-Omotesando, a spot where cutting-edge culture and sleek luxury have long converged.RECOMMENDED: 50 best things to do in Harajuku

14 new restaurants, cafés and bars to try in Tokyo

14 new restaurants, cafés and bars to try in Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the world's top food cities. Not only do we possess the most number of Michelin stars in the world, we are also home to the best restaurant and pizza in Asia. However, it's not just the international accolades that make Tokyo a beloved foodie destination. This vibrant, cosmopolitan city has a diverse and dynamic restaurant scene, with countless new openings popping up on a daily basis. To help you keep track of all that's new in Tokyo, we've compiled in this list some of Tokyo's most buzz-worthy and high-profile new venues which opened within the last six months or so. Here you'll find a cool, contemporary take on izakaya fare, a surprisingly affordable wagyu beef bowl, modernist cuisines by way of internationally celebrated chefs who run Michelin-starred restaurants in their home countries, and more. RECOMMENDED: 8 best no-reservation restaurants, cafés and bars in Tokyo

Listings and reviews (36)

Dialogue with Joseph Beuys

Dialogue with Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) is famed for a broad spectrum of activity that ranged from the deeply abstract, such as sculpting with fat and felt, to ‘aktion’ (actions) that had direct social and political significance. For this German-born artist who had experienced World War II, the act of participating in society to shape the future was a form of art that he called ‘social sculpture’. This exhibition, at the in-house gallery of Omotesando’s fashionable Gyre complex, takes an imaginative approach to exploring Beuys’ continued relevance from a Japanese perspective. Here, objects that Beuys used in his aktion is displayed within museum-style vitrines. These glass cases are presented as ‘complete’ Beuys works, and arranged in a manner that forms engaging dialogues with five Japanese contemporary artists from the postwar period. These noteworthy individuals include painter Akira Kamo, photographer Naoya Hatakeyama, and conceptual artist Wakae Kanji.

Tennoz Art Week 2024

Tennoz Art Week 2024

With the second edition of Tennoz Art Week, Tokyo waterfront district Tennozu is transformed into an art village from late June through mid-July. Spanning several of the area’s contemporary art venues, as well as the surrounding streets, the event is set to wow art enthusiasts and serious collectors with a program that connects the Japanese and global art scenes. One highlight, exhibited at Warehouse Terrada, is ‘Actually Wasn't Touched’ (July 5-15 only; separate ticket required), a new video installation by Tabaimo, who is known for work that combines hand-drawn imagery with digital processes. Working with a team of three animators, Tabaimo (real name Ayako Tabata) has created an experiential installation that appears to bring water and an assortment of creatures into the venue’s considerable floorspace. Over at the What Museum, an exhibition entitled ‘Sense of Structure: From Horyuji Temple to the Universe’ (until August 25; separate ticket required) gives visitors an engaging, easily understood look at the architectural field of structural design – literally, the frameworks upon which buildings are constructed. There are more than 100 exhibits here, including interactive installations ranging from elements of traditional Japanese construction to the most advanced contemporary architecture. Tennoz Art Week also hosts a whole lot of other events including an evening cocktail party at Terrada Art Complex, a street market (July 6-7, 13-15) offering food and crafts from across

Yoichi Umetsu: Exhibition Maker

Yoichi Umetsu: Exhibition Maker

One of Tokyo’s most inviting private art museums, the Watari-Um is hosting a show that seeks to break free of the conventional, well-established structure of the art exhibition. What does it mean to create art? And what does it mean to create an exhibition? These are the questions that artist Yoichi Umetsu asked, as he put together this exhibition that mixes contemporary works collected by former Watari-Um director Shizuko Watari, before the Watari-um was established in 1990, with pieces created as recently as the present year. Umetsu, born in 1982 and himself well represented here, is known for work examining Japan’s art history. Rather than conventional curation, Umetsu has approached his task with a mindset of ‘exhibition making’. The resulting show, featuring 44 mainly Japanese artists, employs some creative approaches to displaying art, and makes a great starting point for those wanting to explore Japanese contemporary art beyond the obvious household names. Highlights include ‘Patient’ (2020), an installation by Asako Hoshikawa (b. 1984) that comprises a full-size bed strewn with empty alcoholic drink cans, plush toys and assorted artefacts of Y2K Japanese pop culture. Comparisons with British artist Tracey Emin’s notorious ‘My Bed’ come to mind, before one realises that this is an institutional bed, occupied by a papier-mâché effigy (standing in for Hoshikawa and signifying her own struggles) that is simultaneously cute and somewhat disturbing. ‘Rainbow’ (1979), meanwh

Shigenori Uoya: Re-Weaving Urban Fabrics

Shigenori Uoya: Re-Weaving Urban Fabrics

Shigenori Uoya is an architect very much concerned with how historic townscapes such as Kyoto, where he is highly active, are in danger of disappearing. However, rather than seeking to preserve things as they are, which risks turning cities into ‘living museums’ instead of evolving with the times, Uoya seeks to reimagine storied buildings and their environments for the 21st century. The overarching objective of these projects is to create an urban legacy that can be passed on to future generations. This exhibition explores projects including Uoya’s Container Machiya. The initiative involved the corner of a row of Kyoto machiya townhouses being covered with a steel frame, then combined with container units to create constructions that pay homage to the city’s rich architectural history while meeting the needs of today's lifestyle. In 2020, Container Machiya was selected for the JIA Young Architect Award, which recognises outstanding works by up-and-coming architects. To illustrate the ‘materials’ with which Uoya works, this exhibition features the entire framework of a teahouse building that was earmarked for demolition, specially relocated from Kyoto’s Gojo district.

Yayoi Kusama: Portraying the Figurative

Yayoi Kusama: Portraying the Figurative

Yayoi Kusama is celebrated worldwide for her abstract paintings and objects that feature repetitive rendering of a single motif: most famously those iconic polka-dotted pumpkins. The very beginnings of her artistic journey, however, saw Kusama pursue accurate and finely detailed depictions of animals, plants and familiar everyday items. As this exhibition reveals, these fledgeling works nonetheless contain the seeds of Kusama’s later practice of translating her visions and inner perceptions into figurative, abstract forms. Works featured here, spanning the 1940s through to the present, include sketches and traditional Japanese paintings that predate Kusama’s career-shaping 1957 relocation to the United States. There are also collages that the artist worked on intensively from the 1970s to the 1990s, and prints representative of those she has been producing prolifically since 1979. Documenting the later decades of this ongoing artistic journey, meanwhile, are 21st-century paintings characterised by figurative images, such as eyes repeated to fill the entire canvas. Finally, the artist’s three-dimensional work is represented by an infinity room installation originally created to mark this museum’s inauguration, along with the world premiere of a soft sculpture-covered boat which embodies a concept Kusama first explored in the 1960s. Note that tickets are not available at the door; they must be purchased in advance online. The exhibition is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednes

Tatsuya Tanaka Exhibition: Miniature Life, Mitate Mind

Tatsuya Tanaka Exhibition: Miniature Life, Mitate Mind

Tatsuya Tanaka has been wowing Instagram since 2011 with images of his astonishingly detailed miniature models, which depict scenarios ranging from the slightly off-kilter – tiny human figures interacting with regular life-size objects – to the outlandishly surreal. In one work, ‘trains’ formed of sushi rolls, hotdogs, pencil cases and strawberry cakes simultaneously pull into a railway station. This exhibition at Nihonbashi’s Takashimaya department store is a triumphant homecoming for Tanaka and his minuscule marvels. ‘Miniature Life, Mitate Mind’ recently completed its premiere run over in Seoul, where it attracted over 90,000 visitors in the space of two months. Around 160 miniature works, all being exhibited in Japan for the very first time, are divided into seven zones taking the themes of ‘Home’, ‘Form’, ‘Colour’, ‘Scale’, ‘Motion’, ‘Life’ and ‘World’. One standout piece wittily evokes the work of Swedish-American artist Claes Oldenburg (1929-2022), which included everyday objects such as spoons and wood saws rendered way, way larger than life size. In this Tanaka work, visitors in a miniature art gallery marvel at sellotape dispensers and other stationery items that are to them similarly oversized, yet of standard dimensions in our own eyes. All of the works may be photographed, giving you the sense of being a colossal giant behind the lens. Better yet, there are dedicated photo spots that allow you to pose beside large-scale works that, when photographed, will reduce

Gotanda Shokudo

Gotanda Shokudo

The Gotanda JP Building, a new multi-use development set to reinvigorate this often overlooked neighbourhood on the Yamanote Line, is home to this modishly designed food hall. Eleven eateries offer an eclectic selection of culinary delights. Highlights include Kokonimo Todaka, a new offshoot of acclaimed Gotanda restaurant Shokudo Todaka. The original restaurant has become so popular, following proprietor-chef Yuhei Todaka’s appearance on the Netflix-syndicated show ‘The Solitary Gourmet’, that it can be near impossible to secure a reservation. The more accessible Kokonimo Todaka goes some way to compensating for this, via Todaka-originated dishes such as uni (sea urchin) on boiled egg, and a Japanese-style spicy sansho pasta that is exclusive to this location. Another Gotanda favourite is the new location of Shino, a long-established eatery previously located nearby that is a great example of the Japanese shokudo: a simple, canteen-style affair offering comfort food and teishoku set meals. Classic Shino fare, such as a stir-fried pork rice bowl, is joined on the menu by several new items to mark the restaurant’s relocation. These include Shanghai-style yakisoba and homemade sui gyoza dumplings. The coffee and sweets-focused Amameria, meanwhile, specialises in soft-serve ice cream that utilises lightly roasted, fruity-flavoured coffee. One way to sample this is in the form of a mango- and pistachio-topped parfait. Also waiting to be discovered under this food hall’s stylishly

Miranda July: F.A.M.I.L.Y.

Miranda July: F.A.M.I.L.Y.

The debut Tokyo solo show from Los Angeles-based artist, filmmaker and writer Miranda July is one that is pertinent to our social media-fixated times. F.A.M.I.L.Y. (the initials standing for ‘Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You’), taking place at luxury house Prada’s landmark Aoyama building, is an Instagram-facilitated video installation born from the artist’s favoured method of initiating exchanges that she controls to some degree, while simultaneously inviting her counterpart in the dialogue to express desires and perform actions. An array of screens span a section of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed flagship store, showing the results of a year-long artistic experiment in which July collaborated with seven complete strangers via Instagram. The artist sent these individuals a series of prompts, with their subsequent video responses then manipulated in her studio using the basic ‘cut-out’ tool of a social media video editing app. These surreal performances see July and her participants together explore intimacy and personal boundaries through a new form of physical language, with the artist hoping the project might achieve what she sees as one of the promises of Instagram: that the user is looked at so lovingly that they finally ‘feel okay’.

If I Must Die, You Must Live

If I Must Die, You Must Live

This highly topical group exhibition focuses mainly upon work by artists from Palestine, in order to shine a light on how the contested region’s people continue to survive under the harshest conditions. Celebrated Dutch artist Henk Visch has curated a selection of work that resonates with the emotions, ideas and words of multiple generations of Palestinians, and to this added pieces by both himself and foremost Japanese contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara, who endorses this show’s objectives. The exhibition takes its title from a poem by Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer, who in late 2023 was killed in an Israeli airstrike, and whose work is featured here. Also highlighted is Sliman Mansour, who has for many years been a leading light on the Palestinian art scene. He founded the League of Palestinian Artists in 1973, and was later active in the New Visions Movement which saw local artists boycott Israeli-sourced supplies in favour of locally produced materials. Mansour’s work frequently depicts the landscapes of Palestine and individuals in traditional dress, and here he contributes prints which honour the Palestinian people’s decades of suffering and resistance. Poetry meanwhile comes from Mosab Abu Toha, who was born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp. Toha has been immersed in the world of poetry since his youth, and his 2022 collection of poems entitled ‘Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza’ has been awarded both the American Book Award and the Palestine Book

Ueshima Museum: Opening Exhibition

Ueshima Museum: Opening Exhibition

Shibuya has a major new contemporary art venue with the opening of this museum, designed to share selections from the formidable private collection of entrepreneur Kankuro Ueshima. The six-storey facility, located within a dramatically renovated building that previously housed the prestigious British School, is set up to display Ueshima’s collection of over 650 works, from foremost Japanese and international artists, to their fullest potential. This inaugural exhibition approaches contemporary art from a variety of perspectives, with most unfolding over an entire floor of the museum. Down in the basement, the trailblazing spirit of abstract painting is explored through work that ranges in timeline from a 1991 work by Germany’s Gerhard Richter to a piece from London-based Jadé Fadojutimi, known for her investigations of identity and self-knowledge, that was completed just this year. Spanning the first and second floors, meanwhile, is a look at individual expression that encompasses a breathtaking range of global talent: artists include Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Dan Flavin and Theaster Gates, with several names being represented by multiple artworks. The power of collaborative efforts comes to the fore through pieces created by Takashi Murakami with late Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, and by Louise Bourgeois together with Tracy Emin. The gaze of Japanese female painters is the theme explored on the third floor, through works by artists including Ulala Imai and Makiko

Trio: Modern Art Collections from Paris, Tokyo and Osaka

Trio: Modern Art Collections from Paris, Tokyo and Osaka

This one-of-a-kind exhibition is something of a three-way modern art love-in. A trio of world-class art museums – from Tokyo, Osaka and Paris – come together to present highlights from their collections in an imaginative new way. The exhibition concept itself draws upon the idea of the ‘trio’: key works from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Osaka’s Nakanoshima Museum of Art and the hosting MOMAT are shown in series of threes, with each group highlighting commonalities between the diverse works included. The total of 34 trios, divided into seven chapters, is comprised of over 150 works from a lineup that reads like a who’s-who of modern art. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Salvador Dalí, Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Yoshitomo Nara, Mark Rothko and Pablo Picasso are among the 100 artists featured, whose work encompasses painting, installations, sculpture, photography and more. Trios and chapters avoid conventional means of grouping and categorising art, such as era, school or Western/Eastern. Instead a freer, borderless approach is adopted, which finds commonalities including subject matter, motifs, materials and the context in which the works were created. The result is some intriguing new ways to view, understand and enjoy modern art from the early 20th century through to the present day. The exhibition is closed on Monday (except July 15, Aug 12) as well as July 16 and Aug 13.

Clamp Exhibition

Clamp Exhibition

Manga lovers, as well as those simply curious about this dynamic and enduring element of contemporary Japanese culture, should check out this career-so-far retrospective from Clamp. This four-strong, all-female collective, hailing from Kyoto and Osaka, are among the country’s most critically and commercially successful mangaka. With well over 100 million manga book sales to their name, Clamp’s most famed titles include ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’ and ‘xxxHolic’. This extensive exhibition celebrates the collective’s success by tracing their story from the 1980s, when Clamp were founded as an eleven-member group to create dojinshi (self-published manga), right through to their character design for 2024 anime ‘The Grimm Variations’, which was released worldwide on Netflix. Exhibits unfold across the venue’s vast space in five consecutive themes: ‘C for Color’, ‘L for Love’, ‘A for Adventure’, ‘M for Magic’, and ‘P for Phrase’. The exhibition is closed on Tuesdays.

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This underground art installation near Tokyo is also a steam sauna

This underground art installation near Tokyo is also a steam sauna

The boundary between nature and contemporary art becomes headily indistinct at this huge art installation outside Tokyo in Tochigi prefecture. The Genki-ro is a towering, furnace-like structure erected within a subterranean space, and the latest in a series of large, highly experiential works by artist Takashi Kuribayashi, whose practice explores the boundaries between nature and society, the body and everyday life. This stirring piece of art functions as both something to appreciate with multiple senses, and a literally immersive experience that could be described as a sauna fuelled by both herb-infused steam and Kuribayashi’s creative powers. 画像提供:TRAPOL「大谷元気炉六号基」 The Genki-ro (literally, ’the furnace of vitality’) stands down in a tree-enclosed, open-air space in Utsunomiya’s Oyamachi, on land usually closed to the public. Its custom-built furnace boils water infused with medicinal herbs, then sends the aromatic steam through a pipe and up out of a sculptural arrangement of wood resembling the hollowed-out base of a voluminous tree. The surrounding ‘cavern’ is pervaded with a sense of healthy revitalisation. 画像提供:TRAPOL「大谷元気炉六号基」 Basic admission to the Genki-ro space costs ¥1,500. A more stimulating experience, however, can be had for a ticket price of ¥3,500. This option allows entrance to a windowed, sauna-style room pumped full of the Genki-ro’s high-temperature steam. Photo: Trapol ‘Bathing’ in this pungent medicinal steam requires that you bring swimwear: visito