Aomori Art Museum 青森県立美術館
Aomori Art Museum at night
Aomori Museum echoes the archeological site of Sannai Maruyama.
Aomori Art Museum logo, a blue tree
A museum famous for its dog
Opened in 2006, Aomori Art Museum is deeply rooted in its territory. Housing works both by artists from the prefecture and major international artists, it highlights the local culture and spreads its influence well beyond the archipelago.
Created by architect Jun Aoki, Aomori Art Museum is deeply committed to its history and culture. Its architecture is inspired by the archaeological site of Sannai Maruyama, a vestige of the Jomon era (15,000-3,000 BC) located right next to the museum. A path leading to the historic site passes in front of the museum.
Read : Aomori Travel Guide
The path is a large incision in the ground, framed by large concrete blocks and dipping under a footbridge. References to the Jomon period site continue in the very design of the building. The two levels in the basement, cut geometrically, are a reminder of the trenches made during the archaeological excavations. The museum exterior is a series of large white cubes arranged on the grass. Inside, the architect has combined vast white spaces with other areas with brown walls and floors reminiscent of the land and history of Aomori.
A native of Aomori Prefecture, Yoshitomo Nara creates paintings and sculptures that are both naive and disturbing. In a clean and enigmatic style, his childish figures, with their wide baby faces, often wear transgressive weapons or slogans, regard the viewer with their suspicious eyes. The museum exhibits paintings and a set of more than 120 drawings from its debut.
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The most impressive exhibit is undoubtedly his "Aomori-ken"; a gigantic white dog over 8.5 meters tall. Located in an open niche at the back of the museum, the dog looks with a benevolent eye upon the visitors who gather around his legs. You'll be able to leave with a souvenir of Nara's impressive canine if you go through the gift shop; it's image is printed on all kinds of objects and souvenirs. Other artists born in the prefecture such as Shiko Munakata, Tetsumi Kudo, Shuji Terayama and Toru Narita are also honored in various rooms.
The Chagall ballet
The other highlight of the visit is a beautiful mural by Marc Chagall (1887-1985) for the Aleko ballet. In 1942, the Russian-born artist made the costumes and sets of the ballet inspired by a poem by Pushkin. The museum retains three panels of the original four. Measuring 9 meters high and 15 meters wide, they are presented in a dedicated room called "Aleko Hall".
To read : Adachi Museum of Art
A blue forest
The strong identity claimed by the museum is not limited only to its art collections that celebrate the prefecture. Aomori (青森) literally means "blue forest" in Japanese, and the museum has a small blue tree as its logo. As night falls, the museum facade proudly displays a neon "blue forest".