Is an art museum created solely for the purpose of displaying art?
Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, an art museum in Tokyo is currently having an art exhibition with empty galleries, where visitors can enjoy the museum itself without any artworks.
According to The Japan News, this exhibition is named “Galleries Without Artwork”, where removable walls that used to block gallery windows to protect the artworks on display were taken away. Now that the sunlight can stream through the immaculately-polished glass windows, people can have a view of the exteriors of the museum that they will not normally get.
“I feel very comfortable because there’s a lot of greenery. This is the first time that I’ve come to this museum. It’s really nice that (this exhibition) makes an alternative use of the museum building,” said a 22-year-old visitor, according to The Japan News.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many exhibitions scheduled were cancelled and postponed for a considerable amount of time. Some of them are projects which involve bringing in and borrowing artworks from other countries. All these factors have posted a challenge and difficulties for Setagaya Museum.
Because of the change in schedules, the first-floor galleries will be vacant for July and August. The curators of the art museum had a discussion and decided to make use of this period to showcase the most beautiful features of the museum building.
Although there is no artwork available for display, visitors can now enjoy the natural aesthetics of the surrounding environment through the highly open-structured building which fuses with nature, as well as the architecture of the museum.
The Setagaya Museum is located at the Kinuta Park in Yōga, Setagaya, Tokyo and was designed by architect Shōzō Uchii. The famous architect based the design of the museum on three concepts: “The museum as a lived-in space,” “The museum as an open system,” and “The museum as part of a park.”.
Ever since the year 1986, this art museum has been housing a permanent gallery with seasonal exhibitions.
In this park, the cherry blossoms bloom in spring, large shade trees offer respite from the heat of summer, you can feast your eyes on the glorious colours of autumn foliage, and in winter it is sometimes transformed into a snowy wonderland, according to Setagaya Museum.
The vice director of the museum, Yoshiya Hashimoto said that an art museum is not just a place for displaying artwork.
“You can look out of the windows and enjoy the beautiful views of the four seasons, or you can use your mind’s eye to remember past shows. We don’t know what’s in store for us. We just hope the visitors will have a leisurely time (at the ongoing exhibition).”
The entrance is also free.
An art museum without art is not an absurd idea after all, but rather an innovative, eye-opening event that definitely worth a visit! What do you think about this? Would you visit an empty art museum? Tell us in the comments!
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