Golden Week: Tokyo, 2011

Think Tokyo has gone quiet? Here are 60 events to prove you wrong

Golden Week: Tokyo, 2011

Shibusashirazu Orchestra, May 1

Art | Clubs | Films | Gigs | Family fun


Friday, April 29

Art in the abstract
Opening today: Postwar Abstract Painting in France deals with art informel, a form of expressionism developed by Jean Fautrier, Wols and Jean Dubuffet. The style was conceived as an expression of the subconscious and was intended to be unconstrained by reason. This exhibition at the Bridgestone Museum of Art sees work by the original masters, as well as those who followed their path, including Georges Mathieu, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Henri Michaux, Pierre Soulages, Zao Wou-Ki, Domoto Hisao and Imai Toshimitsu. For further details, click here

Saturday, April 30

Bicycle story
Closing today: Photographer Jesper Haynes found the models for his latest exhibition while cycling around New York. In what can best be described as artistic nampa, he says he offered them his number and then simply waited for them to call and arrange a shoot. 'I was attracted to the sense that these were girls who had stepped outside of their conventional lives and fearlessly immersed themselves in the madness of New York,' he explains, and the resulting shots fizz with sexed-up energy. For further details, click here

Sunday, May 1

Opening today: Toshusai Sharaku was more than just an ukiyoe master. He was, and to a large extent remains, a mystery. After appearing on the ukiyoe scene in May 1794, it took him just 10 months to produce around 140 woodblock prints - many of them now considered classics - before vanishing, apparently into thin air. To this day, so little is known about him that his very existence is the matter of study and debate (some believe he was actually a collective of artists, while others think he was the equally great Hokusai in disguise). Regardless of who he was, however, his work is on display this spring at the Tokyo National Gallery, with pictures sourced and brought in from around the world, including selections from the Kabuki actor series for which he is perhaps best known. For further details, click here

Welcome to the Saturn Theatre
Since 2001, the folks at the Ghibli Museum have made an annual habit of opening their screening room (Saturn Theatre) to the public, showing short films and allowing kids to get up close to cuddly versions of some of the characters. The films are typically Ghibli, with dog tales, underwater love stories and Japanese folk tales; one of them even follows the further adventures of Mei, star of My Neighbor Totoro. The current exhibition adds two more films to the collection, bringing the total to nine. With plenty of hands-on activities, plus the chance to see Ghibli's latest work fresh, this event looks like an ideal way to stop the kids' Golden Week boredom from kicking in. For further details, click here

Monday, May 2

The Quest for Chiaroscuro
Rembrandt, master of light and shadow, gets a big showing at the Museum of Western Art this spring, with around 100 major pieces on display. Collected from Rijksmuseum, the British Museum and the Louvre, amongst others, the exhibition includes 30 pieces printed on Japanese paper, which the artist started to use in 1647 after the East India Company began importing it into Europe. For further details, click here

Tuesday, May 3

Be alive!
The current exhibition at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art encourages us to 'live in the moment' and to fight against the horrors that surround us in daily life. It appears to be a theme well chosen for Japan, spring 2011, though the show has actually been open since the beginning of the year. On display are works by a host of artists, local and foreign, taken from the museum's collection. Look out for Yoshimoto Nara's 'Eve of Destruction', a typically cute Japanese portrait that takes on a monstrous air when coupled with its title (are those anime eyes really kawaii, or just plain kowai?), and drop by the 'Japanese Kitchen' video installation (pictured above), the debut piece by internationally acclaimed creator Tabaimo. For further details, click here

Wednesday, May 4

Shinjuku Turmoil
Considered one of Japan's most important photographers, Shomei Tomatsu was born in 1930 and has spent much of his time since providing visual comment on the changing country around him. This small exhibition deals mainly with the turbulent late '60s and early '70s, portrayed in a set of 20 astounding prints taken immediately after the photographer's relocation from Nagoya University to Shinjuku, where he claims to have actively sought out trouble and hardship as a subject for his lens. A fine collection. For further details, click here

Thursday, May 5

There are Many of Us: I'm Here
Spike Jonze’s latest short film, I’m Here (set to the eponymous tune by Aska Matsumiya) is an indie-techie romance between two robots, proving that androids may not dream of electronic sheep but they do dream of love. Behind-the-scenes video and artwork is on display at this exhibition held at Diesel Gallery, and the Japanese version of the film's book/CD/DVD package will also be on sale. Highly recommended. For further details, click here

Friday, May 6

New Documentary
Takashi Honma is known for his direct, almost emotionless style. His photography developed through years spent as an ad agency snapper, and they depict a clean, often colourful, yet vaguely detached world – a form of reportage, almost, that presents rather than suggests. His latest exhibition, New Documentary, collates some of his past work, along with newer pieces that utilize a variety of alternative media, including silkscreen printing and work developed specifically to be viewing through binoculars. An oddly fascinating series. For further details, click here

Saturday, May 7

Le Surréalisme
If art imitates life, why couldn’t the reverse be true? The young poet André Breton posed the philosophical idea that life and art were synchronous in his Surrealist Manifesto (1924), ushering in one of the most dynamic art movements in history. Drawing influences from dreams, myths and the dissolution of reality, the surrealist movement crossed mediums ranging from literature to painting, photography and film. Le Surréalisme Exhibition, closing on May 9, showcases surrealist superstars such as Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, as well as an impressive collection of objects, paintings and film on loan from the Pompidou Center in Paris. An absolute must. For further details, click here

Sunday, May 8

Taro Okamoto
Closing today: 100 years since his birth, Taro Okamoto is as popular as he ever was. A controversial figure given to pop art statements ('Art is explosion!'), his chaotic creations earned him a reputation as 'the Japanese Picasso' (very few major Japanese artists manage to avoid this condescension), and his devil-may-care attitude has been much admired by would-be rebels ever since. This exhibition features 130 of his pieces, including paintings, designs, sculptures and photography. A must for lovers of Japanese modern art. For further details, click here

Dirty! Dirty! Sex! Sex!
The title of this 'art happening' is as attention-grabbing as its contents. With work contributed by figures as prominent as Yoko Ono and Makoto Aida, each asked to create with the concept of 'sex' in mind, the potential is there for a riotous exhibit. Based on what we've been shown by the curator so far, it'll be an anything-goes mix of static and performance art, with a healthy dose of aural maltreatment thrown in for good measure. The event, put together by ArtGigTokyo, will run at Bar Exit for 12 hours and is absolutely free of charge. For further details, click here

Art | Clubs | Films | Gigs | Family fun

By Time Out writers
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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