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Art Space Tokyo: An intimate guide to the Tokyo art world


Ten Best Galleries and Works of Architecture on The Guardian

The Guardian has just launched its Tokyo City Guide, a fantastic interactive look at the city that includes recommendations for the best restaurants, hotels, bars, and clubs. Their summary of typical salaryman hangouts is a great alternative look at life in Tokyo.

I was asked to contribute my ten favorite galleries and museums, and my ten favorite architectural highlights. All of these locations are marked on a Google map of the city that you can play with here. The top ten galleries and works of architecture also have their own separate pages if you want to read them without having to click between from one to the other.

Art Map #7 - SCAI The Bathhouse - Yanaka

SCAI is located in one of my personal favorite areas of Tokyo. Yanaka is in all the guidebooks but it’s often overlooked in favor of the glitz of Shibuya or the moral dubiosity of Shinjuku.

Yanaka is a romantic’s Tokyo: low lying, temple filled, spiritual, wooden, old, textured, musty, comfortable, friendly, slow, delicious ... these are some words you could use to describe the area. Mainly, I love the excellent Japanese food (100+ year old senbei shops and superb soba) and the easy going mood. Visiting for a few hours is like a tonic to the rat race of the rest of the city. Many a great day can be had in the Yanaka area if you’re simply looking to whittle away a sunny afternoon. And SCAI, sitting in the middle of it all, is a great stop along the way.

Don’t forget to grab the PDF map.

Art Map #6 - Gallery Koyanagi, Ginza

In just a few days Ashley and I are off to New York to promote Art Space Tokyo, but more on that later!

This is just a quick post to alert kind readers to the new art map for Gallery Koyanagi just posted, this very moment.

Like most of its peers in Ginza, Gallery Koyanagi is located in a typical, nondescript office building. However, as the elevator doors open on the eighth floor, a sleek, discreetly lit cavern of contemporary art stretches out before you. You are about to step into one of the largest commercial gallery spaces in Tokyo. This is the consummate white cube, and Gallery Koyanagi wears this look better than any other art space in the city.

Nakaochiai Gallery — Art Space Map #5

Nakaochiai GalleryA little overdue, but our latest Art Space Tokyo art map is now up!

Nakaochiai Gallery, nestled in a small crook of mid-west Tokyo is one of our book’s most residential spaces. As always, don’t forget to download the high-res PDF version of the map.

We’ve also gone and added Nobumasa Takahashi’s drawings of the art space exteriors to all previous entries.

In related book news, we’re finalizing our September US release New York events and will be posting more information on those soon! 

Art Map #4 - 21_21 Design Sight, Roppongi

Today marks the release of Art Space Tokyo, Tokyo Art Map #4 — 21_21 Design Sight in Roppongi. Here’s what we have to say about the space:

Opened in 2007, this sleek, angular Tadao Ando-designed building is now one of Tokyo’s signature works of architecture: two triangular shards of steel-reinforced concrete and glass that rise up out of the ground, conveying lightness and poise.

And with the beautiful (if unseasonable — isn’t it supposed to be down pouring right about now?) weather lately, a great afternoon would be a stop by 21_21 and then a nap in the nearby park. 

YATAM (Yet Another Tokyo Art Map): Ghibli Museum, Kichijoji

Ghibli Museum

Today marks the release of our third Art Space Tokyo art map: Ghibli Museum, Kichijoji / Mitaka. Ghibli Museum is the one art space featured far beyond the innards of the Yamanote Line (Nakaochiai Gallery and Gallery éf are also beyond the Yamanote Line, but not by much!).

A perfect 8 hours in Tokyo: Embrace one of these rare sun filled days as we head into the 2008 rainy season, spend the afternoon wandering around Inokashira Park (Sundays are especially good, but crowded), take in Ghibli Museum and then enjoy a delicious dinner in Kichijoji. Sure, you’ll be sweaty, but you’ll also be smiling and full and have a deeper insight into the mind of Mr. Miyazaki. For bonus points: on the Chuo line back into town, meditate on this Hitotoki.

PDF Art Map Downloads:
Ghibli Museum
Tokyo Gallery + BTAP
Project Space Kandada

Art Map #2 - Tokyo Gallery + BTAP

Tokyo Gallery map

What’s that you hear? I believe a new art map is hot off the presses. Download the map file right away, or tuck away the map link for later perusal.

Art Space Tokyo describes Tokyo Gallery + BTAP thusly:

Tokyo Gallery was founded in 1950 by Takashi Yamamoto, the man largely responsible for introducing contemporary art to Japan. As Japan’s first commercial contemporary art gallery, Tokyo Gallery has been at the center of the Tokyo art world for several decades and has continuously exhibited groundbreaking works by Japanese, Asian and Western artists.

Almost everyone knows Ginza but I would venture to say few know this seminal gallery. Tucked away in a back alley near Shinbashi, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP straddles one of those void-like interspaces long time residents of Tokyo know well. To the east lies all the shopping and glamour Ginza has built its reputation on. To the north, a gaggle of upscale hostess clubs; to the west Shinbashi and the Nagakin Capsule Tower, and deep to the south, Tsukiji.

Latest exhibition information and schedules can be found on the Tokyo Gallery + BTAP homepage or their Tokyo Art Beat listing.

About & Community

A place to keep abreast of Art Space Tokyo related news, reviews, events and updates.

Art Space Tokyo is a 272 page guide to the Tokyo art world produced and published by Craig Mod & PRE/POST.

It was originally published in 2008 by Chin Music Press.

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