The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT)

  • Art
  • Nogizaka
National Art Center - PR shot
国立新美術館(Photo: National Art Center, Tokyo)National Art Center, Tokyo

Time Out says

The National Art Center was opened on January 21, 2007, boasting the largest exhibition space of any museum in Japan. Unlike most conventional domestic art galleries, the National Art Center does not have its own permanent collection, instead choosing to hold special exhibitions only. Entry to the Center’s atrium is free, and the space boasts a café, two restaurants and an excellent shop, Souvenir From Tokyo.


7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line), Roppongi Station (Oedo, Hibiya lines)
Opening hours:
10am-6pm, Fri 10am-8pm, last admission 30 minutes before closing / closed Tue

What’s on

Henri Matisse: Forms in Freedom

Renowned 20th-century master Henri Matisse (1869-1954), though best known as a painter, was a true multimedia artist whose creativity also spanned sculpture, printmaking and other forms. This is the very first exhibition in Japan to focus on the French artist’s work with paper cut-outs, the medium he energetically pursued in the last decade-and-a-half of his life. Works on loan from the Matisse Museum in Nice, France show how the artist began creating expressionistic collages composed of scissor-cut pieces of paper in a multitude of colours. The subjects and themes of these cutout works included the female form, avian life, and a distinctive two-dimensional take on the flowers-and-fruit still life. While initially modest in size, these cut-outs grew in scale to become murals spanning entire walls: the largest example featured here is some eight metres wide. Also on show is a selection of works in other media, including painting, ink brush on paper, and stained glass. This exhibition is closed on Tuesday, except April 30. Text by Darren Gore

Universal / Remote

As the Covid-19 pandemic fades from our collective memory, the realities that were revealed over that distressing period come into greater focus for those willing to look back. The National Art Center, Tokyo’s first group exhibition in five years explores the idea that the pandemic, with its enforced social distancing, international travel bans and remote working, shattered the illusion that geographical and spatial distances between us had been eliminated by the tech innovations and globalisation of recent decades. Through a post-pandemic lens, ‘Universal / Remote’ looks mainly at art created prior to the globally disruptive event. Works by eight international and Japanese artists, and one art collective, are sprawled across two expansive sections. ‘Constant Growth at a Pan-Global Scale’ looks at how supposedly 'universal' capital and information continue to drive post-Covid society, with the balance between state power and individual freedom becoming increasingly tense. ‘The Remote Individual’ then investigates the paradox that, despite ever-greater connectivity, a sense of personal isolation is also growing. Highlights include ‘Dragonfly Eyes’, a video work by Beijing/NYC-based Xu Bing that stitches together actual surveillance camera footage to create a poignant love story, and Danish photographer Tina Enghoff’s desolate images of places where people have died alone. The exhibition is closed on Tuesday, except April 30. Text by Darren Gore

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