For this Contemporary Art Hopping Meetup, we will spend the afternoon in Omotesando and Aoyama.
Our first stop will be Watari-Um, Museum of Contemporary Art to see:
JR | "Could Art Change The World" (from Tokyo Art Beat) French artist JR is known for his audacious projects, such as exhibiting giant photographs on the wall that divides the Israeli and Palestinian communities, and his large portraits in honor of women who died in war. The street is his stage for presenting regional dilemmas to the world. This exhibition introduces the work he started making in November 2012, portraits of some 400 locals which he then exhibited in the towns of the Tohoku disaster zones for his "Inside Out" project. There will also be documentary footage of JR's past activities.
After Watari-Um, we will head to Spiral Hall to check out the first session of the Spiral Independent Creators Festival. This festival features contemporary creative talent every spring. Two sessions with 50 booths each will display paintings, photographs, images, products, objects, installations, and other works. The artists will be present at the booths, giving visitors the opportunity to speak with them face to face. Visitors can also vote for the audience prize, while a jury of leading Japanese cultural authorities will give out the Juror’s Choice, Grand Prix, and runner-up prizes.
After the Spiral Independent Creators Festival, we will wander the backstreets of Omotesando and Aoyama to see:
Glenn Ligon at the Rat Hole Gallery (from the press release) The exhibition will present a suite of new paintings, neon sculptures, and drawings, and marks the first time for New York-based artist Glenn Ligon’s work to be shown in Japan. The exhibition will also feature several small-scale drawings produced with oil stick and coal dust, which repeat the phrase “negro sunshine,” a fragment of text from Gertude Stein’s 1909 novel “Three Lives.” In both Ligon’s paintings and works on paper, the appropriated text is transformed into abstract compositions, creating a dialogue between visibility and erasure and between the artist’s use of formal elements (such as the monochrome palette, stencil lettering, and repetition of text) and the emotional narrative. In addition, they exemplify Ligon’s interest in the force of language, the multiplicities of meanings across generations, and shifting notions of identity and the self in relation to culture and history.
The next stop on this afternoon of contemporary art hopping is the hpgrp gallery to see:
Ai Ohashi | Piece (from Tokyo Art Beat) Photographs taken between early 2009 and summer 2012 that reflect on the intertwined nature of life and death and the lost pieces of life born from pain. These themes were brought home to the artist after the death of a loved one and the Great East Japan Earthquake.
If there is time and we have the energy, we will make one more stop at Espace Louis Vuitton to see:
Urban Narratives (from Tokyo Art Beat) Art historian and critic Nanak Ganguly curates the show, and he has selected four emerging Indian artists, all active in Kolkata (West Bengal, India), an area which he believes has contributed enormously to the creation of a contemporary visual world.
The show was born from the idea of presenting the Indian scene as an Indian based in India sees it unfolds. Through the eleven pieces, out of which seven were newly-commissioned, it takes India during the moment of transition where space and time cross over to produce complex figures of differences and an identity.
Let's meet in front of the Watari-Um Museum of Contemporary Art (access)
Admission Fee for JR | "Could Art Change The World" - 1000 yen
Admission Fee for Spiral Independent Creators Festival - 700 yen
All other exhibitions - FREE
There is a lot to see for this afternoon of contemporary art hopping.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring your curiosity.
See you then!