Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Posts Tagged ‘art in Tokyo’

Top 5 sites for Japanese contemporary art news by Matthew Larking

Posted by artradar on June 24, 2009


What are the top sources of information about Japanese contemporary art?

The Japanese art scene can seem impenetrable to non-Japanese speakers and yet, despite  this, there is a growing swell of global interest in contemporary art from Japan. There are several potential reasons:

  • Takashi Murakami, who has probably done more than any other artist ever to make contemporary art accessible. He has been astonishingly effective in widening the market for and interest in contemporary art globally;
  • the maturing of the art scene in Tokyo which has seen a new group of galleries open in the last fifteen years;
  • the wave of interest in manga and video games, spawned in Japan, which has swept across the world;
  • the ‘separateness’ of Japan whose monoracial, monolinguistic island society has developed its own cultural idiosyncrasies, creating ripe ground for art with a fresh perspective.

So what is the best way to keep abreast of art news in Japan? We asked lecturer and, since 2002 Japanese Times art critic Matthew Larking, to give his recommendations about what to read to keep up to date.

1. Tokyo Art Beat – – “gives updates and everything else on the Tokyo art scene”

From the website: “a bilingual art and design events guide which offers event listings, reviews and a shop. The site is updated daily and lists more than 500 current & upcoming art events, at any moment. Smart data organisation with events sorted by media, schedules, and location, as well as event lists like Closing soon, Most popular, Open late, and Free. Available via any PC or mobile phone.”

2. ARTiT – – “the ARTiT site has a few good interviews and bits and pieces here and there”

From the website: “a visually oriented, all bilingual (Japanese and English) quarterly magazine introducing the latest trends in the contemporary art scenes of Japan and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. ART iT features comprehensive interviews with topical artists, in-depth articles on current art-related subjects, and detailed information on exhibitions at top museums and galleries throughout Asia-Pacific.”

3. PING MAG – “now defunct but with some good archives is PING MAG which introduces a few artists who don’t get so much press in the usual places”

4. Japan Times “the Japan Times does a full page dedicated to the Arts every Friday, the only newspaper in Japan to do so and many of the writers are very good”

5. Artscape International

From the website:  “a monthly English web magazine for readers both inside and outside Japan, but especially overseas, with an interest in Japan’s art scene and artists. With one of Japan’s most comprehensive art databases, Artscape compiles up-to-date information about art events throughout Japan, presenting reviews of exhibitions and articles about art trends and artists.”

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Posted in Japan, Japanese, Manga, Overviews, Resources, Services, Takashi Murakami | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Changes in Tokyo’s art scene 2008 – new fair, art district, art guides

Posted by artradar on January 6, 2009


Heiko Blankenstein at Galerie Alexandra Saheb in Tokyo 101 fair

Heiko Blankenstein at Galerie Alexandra Saheb in Tokyo 101 fair



Tokyo Art Beat, a rare source of information in English about what is happening on the Japanese art scene, has produced a review of art events and news in Tokyo in 2008. Here is a summary of some of the changes.

Last year for art fair Art@Agnes

Art@Agnes, a compact art fair with just 33 galleries and 2500 visitors, held every January at the luxury Agnes Hotel and Apartments in Iidabashi is to close in 2010.

Citing that it has achieved its goal of establishing a new and fresh art fair in Tokyo, the Art@Agnes committee have declared 2009’s edition of the event to be the last, with plans for it to evolve into a new, as yet unspecified event in 2010. 

Gallery movements

A new art district is potentially developing in Bakurocho

Two galleries formerly located in Roppongi have relocated to the blue-collar neighbourhood of Bakurocho in East Tokyo, where they join a handful of spaces that were already there. Taro Nasu Gallery now occupies the same building as Foil Gallery and Roentgenwerke (now renamed Radi-um) finds itself next door to CASHI Contemporary Art. With spaces such as Makii Masaru Fine Art, Motus Fort and Parabolica Bis also already in Bakurocho, the neighbourhood is now something of a fledgling gallery district. Should more spaces open there over the next couple of years, Tokyo’s art scene could conceivably find itself grasping its holy grail: a relatively dense, walkable centre of commercial contemporary galleries.

Tokyo’s first art week

The first week of April was a flurry of art world activity: Tokyo was taken over by art fairs, art awards and numerous gallery openings for what was effectively the first Tokyo Art Week.

Tokyo Art Fair was joined by the inaugural edition of the 101 Tokyo Contemporary Art fair

Created by Julia Barnes of nonaca/Nakaochiai Gallery, Kosuke Fujitaka of Tokyo Art Beat/NY Art Beat and independent curators Agatha Wara and Antonin Gaultier, 101Tokyo aimed to be the antidote to the domesticity and conservatism of Art Fair Tokyo by featuring 28 young galleries – 14 from Japan and 14 from abroad – and injecting a sense of fun and unpredictability into Tokyo’s art market with a lively program of talks, performances, awards and parties.

New art guides 

Such a period of heightened activity was ideal for the launch of two new guides to the city’s art scene. After many months of intensive collaboration with Craig Mod of Chin Music Press, I published Art Space Tokyo, a 272-page guide to 12 of the city’s most architecturally and historically distinctive galleries and museums . Tokyo Art Beat released the Tokyo Art Map, a bimonthly, bilingual mini-guide to exhibitions taking place in key art areas around Tokyo.

Tokyo Art Beat

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Posted in Art districts, Fairs, Japan, Japanese, Overviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »