Due to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus, some events are subject to change. Be sure to check online for up-to-date information before visiting these art events in Tokyo.
From Trevor Shimizu’s landscapes around the Hudson River to cel animation for contemporary Japanese anime and contemplating “What Is Like the Present?” at the National Museum of Modern Art’s latest exhibition, Metropolis has got you covered. Whether you’re an aesthete, artist or simply curious, here are our 10 must-visit art events in Tokyo for February 2021.
Until February 4
JUN OSON: D_I_S_T_A_N_C_E
Jun Oson presents his first major solo exhibition in Japan in four years at Tokyo’s DIESEL ART GALLERY. The artist, famous for his colorful pop art-inspired images, has illustrated for NHK ETV’s television show “Ahare! Meisaku-kun,” as well as for the Tokyo Metro Cultural Foundation. “D_I_S_T_A_N_C_E” is Oson’s reflection on the physical and mental distance between individuals as a result of social distancing measures imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It features over 20 new paintings in his characteristically playful style.
Diesel Art Gallery
Until February 14
Susumu Koshimizu “Perpendicular Line”
Using wood, metal, stone and paper as media for her sculptures, Susumu Koshimizu will stage her exhibition at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP around an installation of cone brass weight suspended by a wire — a near-lifetime work that dates back to 1969. Alongside her vast collection of sculptures, the exhibition will also feature singer-songwriter and composer Madoka Mori’s recorded music performance and some of his renowned sculptures.
Tokyo Gallery + BTAP
Until March 7
“Domani: The Art of Tomorrow” Exhibition 2021
Seven emerging newcomer artists and additional returning artists Kengo Kito, Kei Takemura and Kyotaro Hakamata will join this year’s Domani exhibition to explore the theme “Creating Space.” The Japanese contemporary art exhibition will take a raw approach to recollect the bleakness of landscapes created (and destroyed) by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and will encourage the audience to reconsider what is truly important ten years on since the disaster.
National Art Center
10am – 6pm
¥1,000/Student & child discounts
Until February 14
Trevor Shimizu “Hudson River & More?”
New York-based artist Trevor Shimizu returns with his second solo exhibition at MISAKO & ROSEN. Known to entertain with crude, broad strokes on large canvases with subjects that are borderline autobiographical and sardonic (his previous show centered around farting), Shimizu shifts his interest to traditional landscape paintings in memories and depictions of the Hudson River, Connecticut and Westchester Country. The exhibition will feature some of his most recent work from past solo and group exhibitions, making it one of the art events in Tokyo not to miss.
Misako & Rosen
Until February 23
MOMAT Collection: What Is Like the Present?
Featuring over nine rooms, this year’s MOMAT Collection pushes the idea of considering the present through a century of art history by a variety of perspectives. Visitors can experience new works by Okazaki Kenjiro, created during the COVID-19 pandemic and some past favorites in the “Highlights” room. A section will also be dedicated to Nihon-ga (Japanese-style paintings). This art term originated during the Meiji period to distinguish Japanese painting from Western-style oil painting.
National Museum of Modern Art
¥500/student & senior discounts
Until February 23
Sleeping: Life with Art — From Goya and Rubens to Shiota Chiharu
This exhibit consists of 120 works that explore the theme of “sleep” across various mediums, from paintings to photography and three-dimensional objects, all of which urge viewers to reconsider their waking lives and everyday struggles. Featured artists include 17th century masters Peter Paul Rubens and Francisco de Goya, as well as contemporary performance and installation artist Shiota Chiharu.
The National Museum of Modern Art
¥1,200 / Student & senior discounts
Until February 28
Animation Art: Frame by Frame
Although no longer a common practice in modern production, cel animation remains a stanchion in the anime industry. With the theme of “Getting back to the origin of inspiration” in mind, Wada Garou Tokyo sets out to honor the footprints left by Japanese animators in contemporary Japanese anime. The exhibition will display hand-drawn cel animations from notable scenes such as “Doraemon,” “Dragon Ball” and “Mighty Atom.” Illustrations and merchandise of these popular titles will be available for viewing and purchase.
Wada Garou Tokyo
An art and anime appreciator? Also check these articles on Metropolis:
- 3 Japan-based Females Artist You Should Follow
- GOMA: The Intricate World of an Aomori-based Artist
- 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hayao Miyazaki
Until February 28
Explore 20th century art through the collections of some 70 highly accomplished and diverse artists including Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Appropriately named “TRIALOGUE,” this is a collaborative project between three public museums representing their respective regions. The exhibition examines Japan’s artistic inheritance of these pieces and will be the last event at the Yokohama Museum of Art before its two-year renovation.
Yokohama Museum of Art
¥1,500 / Student & senior discounts
Until April 4
Ancient Egypt – The Creation of the World
This exhibit introduces 130 masterpieces from the collection of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. Most of the items are being shown for the first time in Japan, including The Book of The Dead of Ta-remestch-en-Bastet and the beautifully decorated carved wooden sarcophagus of Tare-kap. Visitors can explore Egyptian mythology and marvel at its similarities with Japanese myth through animations and precious artifacts.
¥1,800 / Student & senior discounts
Until March 7
Rurouni Kenshin 25th Anniversary Exhibition
“Rurouni Kenshin,” one of the best-selling manga of all time, is commemorating its 25th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Tokyo Dome City Gallery AaMo is holding a limited exhibition. The showcase will allow visitors to view over 200 original drawings and manuscripts, while traversing through character and important battle themed rooms. Visitors who go on February 11 can also enjoy a special viewing of the famous “Reverse Blade Sword.”
Tokyo Dome City Gallery AaMo
11am – 7pm
¥1,600/ Student & child discounts