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

The Book — Essays

The essays in Art Space Tokyo provide you with a broader look at the key themes dominating the contemporary art scene in Japan.

Changes in Tokyo's Contemporary Art Scene since the 1990s

by Fumihiko Sumitomo

Fumihiko Sumitomo, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, gives us a concise survey of the emergence of new media art, the use of public art to redevelop urban and rural areas, the work of young experimental artists and the social development of the art scene against the backdrop of the seriously faltering economic conditions of the 1990s.

The State of Art Journalism and Criticism in Tokyo

by Tetsuya Ozaki

In this essay, Tetsuya Ozaki, the publisher and chief editor of ART iT magazine and, provides an overview of the developments in bilingual art listings and publications in Japan and Asia, followed by a critique of the weaknesses in art criticism in the contemporary Tokyo art world.

Under the Influence: The Syntax of Tokyo Graffiti

by Ian Lynam

Designer and author Ian Lynam discusses graffiti artist Barry McGee's influence on a generation of young graffiti writers working in Tokyo, and looks at the way in which graffiti articulates the urban environment of Tokyo.

A Huge, Ever-Growing, Pulsating Brain that Rules from the Empty Center of a City Called Tokyo

by Roger McDonald

Roger McDonald, co-founder and deputy director of Arts Initiative Tokyo, reflects on Tokyo's ongoing metamorphosis and how the city's residents perceive and use the space they inhabit. He explains the city's history of alternative spaces starting in the 1990s.

One Unbroken Stroke: From Heian Era Pottery to Locker Art

by Eric Van Hove

Artist Eric Van Hove takes a critical look at the nature of the Tokyo art scene and the lack of dynamism either among artists or art spaces. He describes how the physical and social space of Tokyo led him to alter his approach to making art work and describes his Off the Record project, which makes use of public locker systems as mini-galleries.

Takashi Murakami: Tokyo Impresario

by Roland Kelts

Author of Japanamerica, Roland Kelts considers the relationship between the aesthetic of manga, anime and the Superflat work of Takashi Murakami, Japan's most internationally renowned contemporary artist. Through a comparison and contrast of the urban planning of Tokyo and New York, he considers the degree to which Murakami's Superflat concept is a reflection of the Tokyo cityscape.