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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

現代美術館, 東京

Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art Today I went with a friend to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Koto ward to see the last day of the Tokyo Collection of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art. It was an international collection that happened to include a few Japanese artists, like Erina Matsui with two paintings, one with moving parts, and Rinko Kawauchi, and Daido Moriyama. Being a weekend, as well as the last day of the exhibition, it was packed, and there was a 30-minute wait just to get in.

Denis Oppenheims’s installation ‘Table Piece’ (1975) was, in my mind the most memorable item. It consisted of a black and a white dummy at each end of a very long straight alignment of tables that gradually moved from black, through shades of gray, to white. The dummies were talking into microphones, jaws moving, in a staccato, rhythmic, unintelligible dialog that echoed backwards and forwards between them. It induced a state in the observer of both the awe one feels in the presence of the power represented by the formal weightiness and scale of the situation, of amusement at the inanity of the dummies and what they were saying, and slight fear inspired by both the inhumanness of it as well as the visceral, primitive rhythmic catchiness of the voices echoing around the vast room.

We then went to Omotesando and Shibuya to browse in bookshops and then Tower Records in Shibuya. I bought two Scarlatti CDs by Horowitz and Scott Ross to compare with Pogorelich’s playing which I find too dainty.

Tohokenbunroku ordering system We ended up at the West Shinjuku branch of Tohokenbunroku (the Japanese translation of the title of Marco Polo’s book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’), a Japanese-style chain restaurant. A remarkable thing about Tohokenbunroku is its ordering system: a touch screen at the table that you press your orders into, the food itself being delivered minutes later.

Got home slightly tipsy, but that’s OK: it’s how I woke up this morning!

Buy beautiful and unique cast iron calligraphy paperweights.

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