OTANI Shogo (Chief Curator, Department of Fine Arts, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)
It troubles us there were less groups applying this year than last, but still, the applicants’ exhibitions showed rich variety in content, this time. The group exhibitions have been extremely rich in variety of late, a trend I hope takes hold hereafter. As we discussed in odd moments during the jurying, the individual artworks may look interesting, but as a whole, a group’s plan of the exhibition often lacks a clear explanation of its unifying concept, and the group does not come across well, as a result. Hereafter, I think, the groups need to put more thought and discussion into this aspect.
NOJI Koichiro (Director, Sen-oku Hakuko Kan Museum, Tokyo)
Two Nihonga groups are included this time. Both achieved a successful entry on their second try, which is quite early. This fact conveys the sense of something like a crisis that hangs over the Nihonga field, right now. People’s emotions of wanting to take action, somehow, are becoming apparent. Then, I have high expectations for a group not selected this time, “class 1-3, Zugayama Kosaku.” Depending on how they approach it, their endeavor could be really interesting, and there is even a chance of it becoming something like Murakami Takashi. I look forward to seeing how they further refine their project next time and hope they will keep entering and not give up.
OHASHI Shuichi (Professor Emeritus, Saitama University)
The decrease in applications this year is an issue demanding our attention. In my impression, an image has formed among applicants of what the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum wants, so that a fixed framework is already in place. As a result, many applicants feel they cannot hope to be selected, hereafter, or that the exhibition is only open to certain categories of work. We therefore need to think about measures to correct these suppositions or new methods of approach.
Another aspect needing our attention, as mentioned by Mr. Otani, is the weak connection between a group’s overall concept and their actual artworks. The artworks often do not communicate that concept. The submitting groups should construct their concept on a foundation of the thoughts and interests driving their day-to-day work, and submit to us an exhibition plan able to communicate that concept.
MAMURO Yoshitake (Director, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum)
This time, a group from Taiwan was selected for the first time, so I am interested to see how this might influence the exhibition hereafter. It being a new case, we will make more effort to communicate artists of this group. The good aspect of this Group Show is its strong devotion to new art expression, an aspect different from the public entry exhibitions, but this time, we unfortunately received fewer group applications than last year. Also the exhibition this time perhaps leaned toward craft groups and Nihonga groups. Hereafter, I hope the Group Show will actively evolve as an arena for displaying a great diversity of artistic activity while keeping a good balance between tradition and new expression.
MINAMISHIMA Hiroshi (Professor, Joshibi University of Art and Design)
We may have received fewer applications than last year, but the groups selected are high in quality, I believe. Hereafter, it would be good, for example, to hold a press conference promptly after the jurying. If even one photo were published that made clear how the groups selected to exhibit in November had gone through a jurying process, like this, it would encourage artists to think, “Next year, we also want to do an exhibition there.” This would be a way of telling groups who think “We will never be accepted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum” that “No, that’s not true. Please come; we are holding this for you.” As a result, the relationship between the museum and the artists applying might change, I think. I am very much looking forward to the exhibitions by the groups selected this time.
Note: Prof. Minamishima, who served as a juror for the First to Fifth Group Shows, passed away on January 10, 2016. We wish to extend our sincere condolences. The evaluation above is based on the evaluation given by Prof. Minamishima on the day of the jurying.