Mori Art Museum
Tokyo’s Contemporary Artists Circle
The Mori Art Museum is set at the upper floor of the eponymous tower in Roppongi Hills, in the heart of the Japanese capital. A major place for Asian contemporary art, the gallery offers various qualitative temporary exhibitions all year round.
Opened to the public in 2003 at the same time as the Roppongi Hills complex founded by real-estate tycoon Minoru Mori, the Mori Art Museum is one the most renowned galleries in Tokyo. It was designed to show the best of contemporary art and architecture, starting by the very site sheltering it: the Mori Tower, a remarkable skyscraper characterized by two observatories (including one outdoor), and "Maman" a monumental sculpture by artist Louise Bourgeois created in 1999 standing as a spidery gate.
Original, enlightening and renewed exhibitions
As a platform to highlight East Asia contemporary artists, the Museum does not have a permanent display but rather stages various temporary exhibitions which make the interest of the place. Various types of artworks are thus offered to the visitors’ admiration: short movies, reconstitutions, sculptures, paintings, that can be either minimalist or of a large scale. The gallery boasts the display of internationally acknowledged Japanese artists such as Yayoi Kusama in 2004 or Takashi Murakami in 2015. Additionnally, the museum has recently started its own collection, named "MAM" (acronym for Mori Art Museum) gathering young and promising artists’ works, which are frequently displayed in turn.
Located at floor 53F of the Mori Tower, the exhibition room access crosses three levels:
- The glass landing of the 2F, continuing in a large spiral staircase, then,
- A second one at the 3F with access to the ticket booths and the lifts,
- Lastly a third level at the 52F with access to the museum by a final escalator.
Inside the museum, visitors enjoy a vast space that allows to move smoothly amid the artworks, usually highlighted by a high-quality lighting. The artworks’ details can also be admired very closely, and on the other hand it is possible to step back enough to enjoy the biggest ones comfortably. Moreover, many English-language explanations are available to better understand the artists’ works and intents.
Subsidiary Galleries: Mori Arts Center Gallery and Sky Gallery
At the 52F, two other spaces provide supplementary exhibitions on a smaller scale:
- Mori Arts Center Gallery is a temporary exhibition room more oriented toward popular culture, with displays focusing on manga, anime, movies, fashion and design. For example, at the occasion of the magazine Shonen Jump’s fiftieth anniversary, several exhibitions were staged in 2017 and 2018. Wonderful artworks and a few original animations were displayed. Exclusive merchandising was also available (but incredibly expensive).
- Sky Gallery is a gallery set in Tokyo City View’s glassed walled observation deck, that can be used as an extension of a current exhibition at the Mori Arts Center, or offer an original display.
Mori Art Museum is a must-see for contemporary art amateurs, but it is also suitable for a larger audience, such as families with teenagers, couples or friends who came to enjoy the eclectic entertainments offered by Roppongi Hills.