The Mori Art Museum is a privately funded institution and is the brainchild of property developer Minoru Mori who, with his wife Yoshiko Mori, was committed to creating a contemporary art museum in Japan. Aware of the fact that Tokyo lacked a proper institution to present contemporary Japanese and Asian art to Western countries, Mori appointed a British director, David Elliott, from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Stockholm. Elliott was originally Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford. He has also staged many exhibitions on post-war Asian art and will be well placed to present contemporary Japanese arts and culture to the rest of the world with a refreshing perspective that, perhaps, a Japanese director could not have mustered at this point. For the museum architecture, Mori called upon American architect Richard Gluckman, well known for the Whitney Museum in New York and Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Mori has also gathered high profile figures from the global museum world including Glenn Lowry from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Alfred Pacquement from Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Nicholas Serota from the Tate in London to form an international advisory board, thus ensuring that he gets a museum with a truly international viewpoint.
Elliott says, 'Tokyo seems to be isolated from the rest of the world and now it is about time to communicate and get involved with the rest of the world'. He recognises great energy in Japanese audiences but points out that the contemporary art community is still very marginal:
'We are very concerned in the relationship between art and our life. Art is only intelligible in its relationship to our life. Without that, art has no meaning. So our policy is to focus on the contemporary, primarily Japan and Asia, the things around us; not just a visual art but also fashion, design and architecture which make our museum different from other museums in the world.'
The Mori will not at first be creating a permanent collection. Having said that, the Mori has already commissioned about 20 public artworks and street 'furniture' from leading international artists and designers to adorn its premises. This, together with the museum's extensive outreach programmes, underscores the museum's vision of making contemporary art more accessible. And the Mori is not just confined within the museum; its activities will include performances in the outdoor arena, with the aim of flowing into the city at large.
Yoshitomo Nara: From the Depth of my Drawer
Yoshitomo Nara: From the Depth of my Drawer – The title of this exhibition somehow creates nostalgia in your mind. We all have times in our life when we reflect on our past; our childhood days that held so many hopes for the future, or those sweet memories of falling in love for the first time. In this exhibition, Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara has revisited his past life as an artist.
The World is a Stage: Stories Behind Pictures
As Shakespeare wrote, the world is a stage on which everyone is a player. At Mori Art Museum's current exhibition, 'The World is a Stage: Stories Behind Pictures', the meaning behind the art is everybody's story. Art critic, Dave Hickey, once said that art has the power 'to redeem our isolation'. This exhibition provides viewers with the opportunity to share artists' feelings about the world in which they live and the paths that their lives have taken.
Douglas Gordon: Superhumanatural
The film and video artist Douglas Gordon had his first one-man exhibition in Britain at the Lisson Gallery in 1994, sponsored by its perceptive director Nicholas Logsdail, to which he returned again in 2001. The following year, he was to exhibit 'Entre'Act 3' at the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven. 'Fuzzy Logic' followed at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and from about this time his work really took off internationally.
Interview with David Elliott, Director of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Since it opened in October 2003, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo has attracted 750,000 visitors for its inaugural exhibition 'Happiness: a survival guide for art and life'.
A Crystalline, Kaleidoscopic Universe - Prada Aoyama, Tokyo by Herzog & de Meuron
In 1999 Prada launched the "Epicentre Store" programme to examine different ways of reinventing the Prada retail experience by commissioning avant-garde architects like Rem Koolhaas and SANNA to design their new shops.