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Friday, February 16, 2007

National Art Center Tokyo

国立新美術館

National Art Center, Tokyo.Art in Tokyo just got an extra dose of glam! Starting to feel a little jaded about Roppongi Hills? The National Art Center, Tokyo, just opened at the end of January a short stroll away from the Hills. Designed by Kisho Kurokawa, this undulating silvery, glassy new dimension to the capital is Japan’s largest exhibition space and is unique in being a devoted exhibition space with no permanent collection of its own.

Built on the old site of the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Solid State Physics (now out at Kashiwa City), with its completion Roppongi has convincingly reaffirmed itself as Tokyo’s most cutting edge area.

There are two exhibitions on at the National Art Center, Tokyo, at the moment: an overview of 20th century art, and a collection of works from the Pompidou Center in Paris.

I went for the 20th century exhibition: “Living in the Material World – 'Things' in Art of the 20th Century and Beyond”. I got there at 4.15pm thinking an hour and three-quarters would be enough. However, by closing time I had only made it about two-thirds of the way through and had to rush through what was left to me in the remaining cavernous rooms.

The building is immense! Many of the exhibition rooms would by themselves provide ample space for an exhibition in a provincial city, but put them together and the scale becomes mind-boggling. However overwhelming the structure might look from the outside, once inside it feels much, much bigger.

This is an exciting addition to Tokyo. Keep an eye on what’s on there at JapanVisitor's What's On in Tokyo and Kyoto page.

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