Taro Okamoto’s Museum

Mike GristGuides, Japan Leave a Comment

So a few weeks ago I went on an art museum-ing jag, partly because I like modern art, and partly because I was looking for ideas for stories.

Perhaps the best museum I went to was the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art. Of course I couldn’t take photos inside- but here’s a few pictures from outside:

This is a bunch of guys trying to catch a zeppelin.

This is a minotaur Mr. Potato Head with its face taken off.

At the bottom is a picture of the Tower of Sun in Osaka. I wanted to buy a print or poster of it in the museum gift shop- but they don’t sell them! Crazy.

Onto Taro Okamoto. To be honest- his art didn’t do much for me. It’s all splashy colors, abstract, bright, with evocative titles and some recognisable motifs. The sculpture I liked- but again, just one or two ideas (for example: the moon-sun face from the Tower of Sun is very common in his work).

I think I’ve seen a lot of this type of thing before. He says he was inspired by Picasso and Dali, and I could clearly see that. He’s similar to both of those, only- dare I say it- not as good. He’s like Picasso but messier, and like Dali but not nearly as photo-real or imaginative.

He’s also like Miyazaki, who makes the Studio Ghibli films, especially in the faces of monsters. You can peruse his site to see more of his work.

The thing I like best was an exhibition of the winning pieces from a recent modern art competition. The idea for my story Flatland came from a piece of sculpted art that was basically Flatland- a miniature elevated world with a skyscraper in the middle. The idea for another story ‘The Giant Robot and the Myna Bird’, as yet unpublished, came from a giant khaki robot arm surrounded by khaki tanks and jeeps at the entrance.

There was a guy there asleep in a bed, with a film of his night time antics running on the wall over his head. The film showed him doing wacky things like lying down on bicycle signs painted on the floor and pretending to ride them. Fun. If you rang the bell, he woke up and chatted to you.

I wish I had photos or links to this stuff- but sorry, nothing. Useless gift shop! Use your imagination 😉

And as promised- the Tower of Sun, from Wikipedia:

If you like this post- check out other ancient/modern slices of the Japanese cultural pie in the culture/events gallery.

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