Hara Museum of Contemporary Art 原美術館
The Contemporary Art Museum of Haran, Shinagawa, offers a look art deco.
The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art hosted temporary exhibitions as well as permanent collections.
A sculpture in the garden of Hara Museum
Credit: Kentaro Ohno
In a quiet street in the district of Shinagawa, the Hara Museum delights fans of contemporary art who prefer the intimate to the exuberant. And there's the added bonus of a building with architecture reflecting the heyday of Art Deco style.
Prized by fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, the Hara Museum occupies the former home of the grandfather of President Toshio Hara. Built in 1938 by architect Jin Watanabe, it was requisitioned after the war by US headquarters officers before becoming the residence of the Filipino Embassy, then the Sri Lankan Embassy.
In the 1970s, when Japan only looked at the Impressionists, Mr. Hara believed in the relevance of focusing on contemporary artists. Acting on intuition, he went to the Venice Biennale, the Basel Art Fair, and talked with creators, leading him to establish a pioneering museum of contemporary art in Japan.
In the Bauhaus style building, temporary exhibitions and permanent collections are displayed including an installation by the artist Jean-Pierre Raynaud, works by American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, Korean artists Lee Ufan and Nam June Paik, and Yoshitomo Nara, the rising Japanese pop artist. After visiting the museum and the more than tempting shop, it is nice to take your time and enjoy the cafe overlooking the garden, where sculptures take center stage.