• gerard van weyenbergh

Tokyo despite pandemic organizes contemporary art show "Stars"

Without Olympics, Tokyo is finding color thanks to contemporary art amid a pandemic.

After five months of closure, an ambitious exhibition opens at the Mori Museum. STARS brings together works by popular Japanese artists like Takashi Murakami or Yayoi Kusama.

The exhibition should have started in April and attracted tourists who came to the Olympics. Still, the cancellation of the event because of the coronavirus turns its ambition into a real challenge.

Hilarious flowers to deceive the ambient anxiety. Pop culture has the merit of bringing color and good humor amid a health crisis. In Tokyo, a flagship exhibition of works by famous artists opens its doors to one of the most prestigious contemporary art museums in the Japanese capital. But in the face of the pandemic, his goal of popular success has turned into a challenge.

After five months of closure, the Mori Museum welcomes visitors again with STARS, one of the most spectacular exhibitions of recent years. But the current period, dominated by fear of the coronavirus, "raises questions about the role of museums and art," the director of the establishment, Mami Kataoka, told AFP.


STARS was initially due to start in April and attract in particular, the tourists from all over the world that Tokyo intended to welcome this summer for its Olympic Games. But faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the museum had closed its doors in February, and a month later, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021.

The museum relies on the Japanese

A strong local upsurge has also hit Japan and Tokyo in particular in Covid-19.

In such an anxiety-provoking context, the public will only come to the museum "to see what they want to see," said artist Tatsuo Miyajima during a presentation of the exhibition to the press.

The number of visitors to the exhibition will be capped by a time slot, with reservation required in advance. Visitors have their temperature checked at the entrance, wear a mask, and disinfect their hands regularly. The public will be there despite everything, wants to believe Mami Kataoka. He estimates that these conditions of less attendance will even "improve the quality of the visit" of the exhibition.

Both the museum and the artists need it. In early July, star artist Takashi Murakami, star of this exhibition, announced that he was on the verge of bankruptcy on social networks. The disastrous situation of his production company also forced him to give up the second part of his feature film Jellyfish Eyes. Faced with such a crisis, only its multicolored flowers display a dazzling smile.

Link to the Mori museum :

Le Figaro culture


© Jezael Melgoza