Tuesday, March 27, 2012

what's on at MOMAT

The most interesting thing about the Jackson Pollock Centennial Retrospective, happening at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo now through May 6th, is that it includes works from New York's Museum of Modern Art as well as the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Stop nuclear proliferation, let art bring us together! Give drips a chance.

In his review in Metropolis, C.B. Liddell writes that the show's centerpiece, “Mural On Indian Red Ground" (below), on loan from Iran, "is something of a cultural hostage," having been purchased by the Shah when the country was Westernizing itself - a push that halted with the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Nowadays, the painting - recently valued at $250 million and considered JP's most valuable work - is generally kept out of sight, stored underground with other "decadent" Western works. I bought the poster.

Mural on Indian Red Ground, Jackson Pollack, 1950

If you do go, don't forget to explore the rest of the museum. Particularly "Tokyoites," black and white street photography from 1966 shot by Takanashi Yutaka; screen paintings of old Edo, and Momat's own vintage museum posters, advertisements for 50 years' worth of exhibitions.

image from "Tokyoites" collection at Momat

Momat is located next to the moat and walls of the Imperial Palace, so you can combine a museum visit with some springtime cherry blossom viewing and stroll through the fabulous Kitanomaru park, featuring gleaming white gatehouses and enormous dry-stacked stone walls (as in no mortar, amazing to behold, much like a wooden temple roof that fits together without nails). Take the Hanzomon line to Kudanshita, exit 2, walk up the hill and enter on the left; you'll pass the Budokan (where you may start singing "Surrender" on sight) and a pretty decent children's science museum. More directly, take the Hanzomon line to Kudanshita and transfer to the Tozai line for Takebashi, exit 1B. 

Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
3-1 Kitamaru koen, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03 5777 860
Museum is closed on Mondays.

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