January 21, 2007
Tokyo gets a new museum
Tokyo got its latest cultural infusion on Jan. 21 with the launch of the National Art Center, Tokyo, or NACT, a mammoth new museum just minutes from the busy station crossing,
Designed by Japanese architecture legend Kisho Kurokawa, the NACT is another corner of the so-called "Art Triangle Roppongi" with nearby Mori Art Museum and the renovated Suntory Museum of Art, which opens on March 30.
The NACT's undulated glass facade might look grander if you could actually see the whole length of it. But it's hard to -- the building is squashed in between an awkwardly positioned research center and rows of houses, and you can't seem to walk far enough away to take in the whole structure.
(There is a great view of the museum, though, from the observatory on the 51st floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.)
Entering the NACT creates a sense of walking into an unexpectedly large space -- 14,000 sq. meters of it, in fact. The giant foyer with two cafes perched on top of separate flower-pot-shaped concrete blocks is a nice eccentric touch, but the layout is otherwise very standard.
Showing till Feb. 4, free of charge, is "Power of Expression, Japan," a wild walk through Japanese art and pop culture in the 20th century: Godzilla suits and Space Invader arcade machines to works by contemporary Japanese artists like Tabaimo and Yasuhiro Suzuki.
Suzuki's "Blinking Leaves" is a particularly fun piece of art. You can get a sense of it here: mabataki
The NACT, which has no permanent collection of its own, is also showing "Living in the Material World -- 'Things' in Art of the 20th Century and Beyond." The center has a restaurant, three cafes and an art shop.
NACT English Web site