EXOTIC × MODERN: French Art Deco and inspiration afar

Art Deco had been the epitome of its era, flourishing in France in the years between the two World Wars of the twentieth century. Inclinations towards encounters with the arts and culture of regions outside of Europe presented a significant influence on the aesthetics and formative sensibilities of Art Deco. Such as the Ballets Russe’s appearance in 1909, Josephine Baker who sailed to France in 1925, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, Citroen’s La Croisierie Noire and La Croisierie Jaune expeditions with automobiles travelling north to south across Africa and Asia for the first time, and the L’Exposition colonial internationale at the Bois de Vicennes in 1931, various topics had enlivened the streets of Paris.
What kind of formative aspects of these distant lands did the artists and designers of the time direct their attention to? It was indeed the field of fashion that had been the first to turn its eyes to their value. Jacques Doucet, recognized as one of the most prominent fashion designers in Paris was a patron for avant-garde artists like Picasso, yet at the same time had sought innovative value in the formative elements of African art. Master French couturier Paul Poiret held his soiree la mille et deuxième nuit (The Thousand and Second Night) with guests in costumes inspired by Middle Eastern dress, thus focusing on the extraordinary nature of this culture and leading to new developments in colors and styles.
Japonism, or an interest towards Asia as a whole, came to be reinterpreted as a catalyst for modernity. In the midst of such movements was the presence of Japanese artists such as Seizou Sugawara who had trained architect and designer Eileen Gray and designer Jean Dunand in the traditional techniques of lacquer, as well as the ivory sculptor Eugénie O’kin.
The exhibition introduces approximately 85 works including dynamic paintings and sculptures that draw inspiration from Africa and Asia, centering on those housed in the museum collections of the Musée des Années 30, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and the Mobilier National, which will be presented in Japan for the first time.


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    Adults 1,200yen
    College and vocational students 960yen
    Junior high and high school students 600yen
    Senior(65 and over) 600yen
    Adults 960yen
    College and vocational students 760yen
    Junior high and high school students 480yen
    Senior(65 and over) 480yen

    ※Admission is free for elementary and younger students and for middle school students residing in or attending school in Tokyo.
    ※Admission is free for visitors (and one accompanying person) with a Physical Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Certificate, Rehabilitation Certificate, Mental Disability Certificate, or Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate.
    ※Admission is free for seniors (65 and above) on the third Wednesday of each month.

    For more details, visit the official site.

  • Closed days

    Closed on Oct.10 & 24, Nov. 14 & 28, Dec.12 & 26, Dec. 28 – Jan. 4 & Jan. 9

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    10:00〜18:00 ※Last entry 30 minutes before closing time ※Nov. 23, 24, 30 and Dec. 1, 7, 8 opening until 20:00 (Last admission at 19:30)
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Catastrophe and the Power of Art

Recent decades have seen a stream of catastrophes around the world – from 9.11 in 2001 to the global financial crisis of 2008, Japan’s devastating quake and tsunami in 2011, and the list goes on – and many artists have produced works dealing with these tragic events, in an endeavor to inform the wider world of them, and ensure their stories are passed down to future generations. Unlike media coverage, with its emphasis on objectivity, such documenting from a personal perspective presents to us another kind of truth, difficult to discern in the shadow of numerically overwhelming public opinion. Such works may also be designed to expose contradictions and cover-ups


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