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  • Mar 25, 2020

87-Years-Old Kyoto City Museum of Art Will Reopen In April

The newly renovated Kyoto City Museum of Art, renamed

Kyoto City Museum of Art, one of Japan’s oldest public art museums, will re-open to the public on April 4 as Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art after three years of renovation led by architects Jun Aoki and Tezzo Nishizawa. The renewal project is supported by the local technological magnate Kyocera Corporation, who paid approximately JPY 5 billion (USD 450 million) for a 50-year naming rights contract.

Set at the foot of the Higashiyama mountain, the imperial crown-styled building is located in the cultural and historical district of Okazaki. To highlight the museum’s axis and connect the main entrance with the east entrance, Aoki descended the central foreground to create a slope and built a new “glass-ribbon” space for museum shops and cafes. A new wing dedicated to contemporary art, Higashiyama Cube, reconstructed from the previous storage building with a new design by the late architect Kiyoshi Kawasaki, will hold photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s large-scale retrospective “Post Vitam,” as one of the inaugural exhibitions. The solo show will present his series taken at Kyoto’s Rengeoin temple as well as his latest works from the series OPTICKS (2009– ), also dedicated to Kyoto. The artist’s outdoor installation Glass Tea House “Mondrian,” presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, will be placed in the museum’s garden. 

In the original main building, an exhibition titled “250 Years of Kyoto Art Masterpieces,” will display more than 400 works of art from the past two centuries gathered from institutions across Japan, ranging from traditional paintings from the Edo period to artworks by the avant-garde collective Pan-real Art Association. Upcoming programs for the rest of 2020 also include an exhibition of works by Andy Warhol.

Built in 1933 as the Kyoto Enthronement Memorial Museum of Art, the institution was renamed as Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art following world war two. Numerous key exhibitions highlighted both local artists and the international art scene, including “Kyoto Independent Exhibition” (1957–91), “Venus de Milo” (1964), “Tutankhamun Exhibition” (1965), and “The Story of Shiten and Kyoten Municipal Exhibitions and Drawings and Sketches of Takeuchi Seiho” (2013). 

The original opening date of March 21 has been pushed back due to the spread of Covid-19.

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor. 

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