What’s happening in the Tokyo art scene this spring? We’ve compiled a list of all the must-go shows from March to May 2021. Keep in mind that due to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus events are subject to change. Be sure to check online for up-to-date information before visiting. For a full list of what’s happening in Tokyo, head to our upcoming events page.
Until April 11
New York-based experimental artist Tam Ochiai showcases a portfolio of works created over the past 25 years in this lively and diverse exhibition. Born in Japan, Ochiai is well-known for his drawings featuring childlike depictions of female forms. “Tapetum Lucidum” highlights the surprising diversity of the artist’s mediums, which include mixed-media works such as “Ashtray Sculpture Guitar List” (2017), paintings, drawings, installations, videos and more.
GINZA MAISON HERMÈS Le Forum
March 23 – May 16
During the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), Western technology and knowledge flooded into all fields of Japanese culture and life, including the art sphere. Artists responded to the turbulent circumstances with expressions other than “simple beauty,” tending to portray reflections of people’s desires and anxieties of the time through grotesque, decadent and erotic paintings, prints and illustrations. The “Ayashii” (“suspicious” or “strange” in English) exhibition is one of the National Museum of Modern Art’s most eerily fascinating shows to date, and one not to miss.
The National Museum of Modern Art
¥1,800 / student discounts
Until May 10
If you’ve been in Japan even for a second, then chances are that you’ve seen something that Kashiwa Sato designed. Having worked with conglomerates like Uniqlo, Tsutaya, 7-Eleven and Nissin, Sato is revered as one of the most sought-after creative directors in the country. Curated by Sato himself, the exhibition at National Art Center Tokyo explores the trajectory of his career so far and invites visitors to contemplate the visual language of design in daily life.
The National Art Center Tokyo
¥1,700 / student discounts
Until May 13
Up-and-coming collage artist Yabiku Henrique Yudi is the latest creative to be spotlighted by DIESEL ART GALLERY. Yudi looks for beauty in the discomfort and incongruity of today’s world. “One day, as I saw a viaduct, my eyes went straight to a deteriorated section with graffiti,” he writes in his artist statement. Currently, the Brazilian-born creative is expanding his style beyond collage and into design objects and spatial installations, which will be on display at “MOTION.”
DIESEL ART GALLERY
Mar 20 – Jun 20
In its first large-scale solo exhibition at a museum, Japanese group Rhizomatiks attempts to uncover the “new role of the artist” in an ever-shifting, post-COVID-19 society. Known for its innovative explorations of the relationship between humans and technology, the group celebrates its 15th anniversary by showcasing new projects, including virtual installations, data visualizations and creative solutions for social distancing. These transmedia works ambitiously blend technology with art, the virtual with the real and space with time.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
¥1,500 / Student discounts available
May 29 – Sep 10
This exhibition at the recently renovated Artizon Museum features paintings from the Musee D’Orsay in Paris — home to the world’s best Claude Monet collection. The founder of French Impressionism, Monet, was fascinated by the beauty of natural light and dedicated his life to the practice of plein air painting (painting outdoors), to enhance the shifting lights and colors of a landscape or moment in time. Visitors will have the opportunity to view Monet’s studies of the French countryside, such as his famed “Water Lilies” series.
¥1,900 web-booking, ¥2,200 same-day
April 22 – Sep 26
In “Another Energy,” 16 international female artists from the ages of 71 to 105 present art pieces that reflect their diverse passions, goals and careers. From paintings, sculptures and videos to largescale art installations and performances, the diverse range of works expresses the continued vitality of these female creatives, as well as the challenges faced over their long careers. The sight of these women who walked their own path with immovable conviction will inspire viewers to tackle their own futures.
Mori Art Museum
Until March 14
Located within Shinjuku’s Tokyo Opera City Tower, media gallery InterCommunication Center redefines the concept of an exhibition by offering a multilayered experience through both a virtual and real-world venue. Installations that can be accessed online feature elements that are exclusive to an augmented reality app. This exhibition uses new art methods and multimedia technology to show the coexistence of the online and offline worlds. Visitors can also attend virtual workshops to draw on digital scenes and convert data for virtual exhibition venues.
NTT InterCommunication Center
Until March 21
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting its original schedule, Roppongi Art Night has decided to develop a special spin-off project this year with the theme “Right now, can art rejuvenate the city?”. Brimming with a wide range of art expressions from classical to contemporary works, the event will span over the whole district and take over Tokyo Midtown, ranging from music, exhibitions, installations and performances.