Not far from Tokyo’s downtown Nezu subway station you will find the tiny and remarkably charming gallery Maruhi. If you look really well that is. It is almost hidden away in a tiny nearly 100 year old house inside a tiny alley not wide enough for even two people to walk down. When I visited the gallery had an exhibition called Kuronekoten, showing the black cat themed work of nine different artists, from sculptors to kimono weavers. I dare say that Maruhi is Tokyo’s best hidden gallery, and if you are in the area it is well worth a visit. Finding it is part of the fun!
Even if you are not into the art the building itself is nothing short of amazing. It is a very careful restoration of an old 1917 (Taisho-era) pawnshop (hence the large safe!), and quite beautiful inside. My photos do not make it justice.
The next show is a ceramics show running from November 21st to 29th, you can read more about the gallery and the coming shows on their Facebook page here or their homepage here (all in Japanese of course!).
One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend here in Tokyo is to visit some of the hundreds (thousands really) of art galleries in the city, as well as the many graduation exhibitions of the major art universities. Recently I have run into the same artist twice, Shunsuke Taira (平俊介). First at the graduation exhibition at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and yesterday at the Gallery MoMo Projects in Roppongi. Some of the paintings are industrial reinterpretations of buildings in and around Asakusa. Can you spot which ones? If I was an art collector I would snap all of his work up right now.
The Gallery Moma will have the exhibition until March 8th.
Tokyo is filled with great little galleries scattered all across the metropolis. One gallery that is a little bit different from the others, not only in the art it puts on, but also the building itself, is Scai the Bathhouse. Housed in a Meiji era classic styled former public bathhouse with a gorgeous exterior and a very simple remade interior. Well worth a visit if you have the time and not afraid to take a little walk from the bigger more famous art museums in Ueno.