What is the New Thinking around Collections in Modern and Contemporary Museums in Asia?

What is the New Thinking around Collections in Modern and Contemporary Museums in Asia?


Thank you for waiting. We will now begin the Mori Art Museum International Symposium M+ and Mori Art Museum organised this conference over 2 days with the title ‘What Do Collections Mean to Museums?’ Following the conference we held over 2 days, we are holding this open forum from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, in order to consider together with the audience the content of the discussions This open forum is titled ‘What Is the
New Thinking around Collections in Modern and Contemporary Museums in Asia?’ In addition to staff from Mori Art Museum and M+
who served as moderators, speakers from all over the world have been invited onstage Please enjoy this symposium for the next 90 minutes KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Let us begin
I am Kataoka Mami, deputy director of Mori Art Museum I hope you enjoy this symposium For 2 days, yesterday and today, we discussed the subject of museum collections with speakers from museums in different parts of Asia In this public symposium, we will conclude and respond to what was discussed in each session First, Doryun Chong from M+ will present an overview of the museum and explain the initiative called M+ International In Session 1, the topic of public museum collections was discussed Horikawa Lisa from the National Gallery Singapore will conclude and respond to that As for Session 2, in which I talked about private museum collections, Kasahara Michiko, vice director of the Artizon Museum, formerly known as the Bridgestone Museum of Art, will conclude and respond to that discussion Yokoyama Ikko is lead curator of the M+
architecture and design collection In Session 3, we discussed what it means to collect works from the architecture and design fields Sugaya Tomio from the soon-to-open
Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, will conclude and respond to what was discussed in that session First, let’s start with Doryun DORYUN CHONG: Thank you very much, Mami and thank you to everyone for taking time out of your precious schedule to join us for this conversation I wanted to set the stage
by talking a little bit about what M+, this new museum project, is happening in Hong Kong To introduce myself again, my name is Doryun Chong I have the title of deputy director for the curatorial
and chief curator at M+ I’ve been working on this project for about 6 years and it’s been going on for the last 10 years or so So just to set the stage a little bit
and give a sense of context I will just talk about what this
new museum building project is But to talk about M+, I need to talk briefly about West Kowloon Cultural District project And it is initiated by the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region Government And it’s a massive cultural district building project You see a picture from an aerial view of
a very large piece of land that was created about 20 years ago I will show you a diagram of this piece of land that is shaped like a hammer And you see that there is an urban park
in the hammerhead and the buildings that are indicated
as blue and pink are the ones that will happen
in the next 10 or 15 years or so The pink part is the first phase
and some of them are already finished and M+ is part of this first phase The blue is the second phase and what is indicated as grey are either private developments or private-public partnerships which will bring in long-term revenues
for the cultural district to operate for many years to come As many of you would know, Hong Kong
is a very well-visited city and the district in the end will have a very good connectivity From the airport, a high-speed rail that connects Hong Kong to mainland China, but also by ferries
in the Pearl River Delta Region as well as within Hong Kong Last year, there were almost 75 million visitors who came through Hong Kong Airport,
one of the busiest airports in the world And then last year also saw the completion
of the terminal station that connects Hong Kong to Guangzhou,
excuse me, the third largest city in China You can get there now within an hour And also the district is very close to one of the busiest shopping districts that bring almost 80 million people annually So these are the natural potential audiences But now to get immediately to the M+ building So here is a rendering of the building designed by Herzog & de Meuron based in Basel, Switzerland* Of course, very well known for their Tate Modern project as well as the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and, of course, in Tokyo the monumental Prada store This is what the actual building construction
looks like as of last month So we now have achieved a watertight status and it’s going to be another 6 months or so of massive fit-out project inside the building And just to give you a sense of this
very uniquely shaped building It’s quite a large piece of architecture,
65,000 square metres altogether And that includes 17,000 square metres of exhibition spaces which consists of thirty-three galleries as well as
many other kinds of display spaces But most of our galleries are indicated
in the diagram as a gallery floor which is the second floor And it’s a very horizontal space that is
110 metres by 130 metres, the size of two football fields,
that contain most of our galleries I’ll quickly show you an animated rendering of what the building would look like From outside, it looks very simple, almost radically simple But inside, there are many sculptural features with these cutouts that create a transparency from the second basement floor all the way
to the second floor and even looking into the thirteen-storey high tower But what is the museum about? M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting,
exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image,
and Hong Kong visual culture These are the four main areas:
three disciplinary areas plus one thematic area And we are a contemporary museum that covers the 20th and 21st century So one of the things that we have been doing
over the last few years in addition to building the building is to build in different aspects of infrastructure
including the collection So over the last 7 years of collecting efforts we have gathered almost 6,500 works and objects
of these different disciplines and more than 30,000 archival items
which are related to architecture The very beginning of the collecting effort was kicked off by a very large donation of over 1,500 works by a private collector named Mr. Uli Sigg from Switzerland And this is a collection of Chinese contemporary art
from the late 1970s to the 2010s And this collection within the larger collection makes M+ the most important public collection
to tell that story of how contemporary art was born and developed following the Cultural Revolution Here’s another rendering that gives you a sense of what one of our collection galleries would look like containing this M+ Sigg collection So while we are well positioned to tell that history, very important history within Asia it’s important for me to also note that the collection is not just Chinese or it’s from Hong Kong It’s broadly Asian but also beyond Asia as well This is just a map of the nationalities of the artists and makers currently
represented in the collection And then, just to give you a quick sense of the diversity and internationalism of the collection, I will just show you some representative works We don’t have time to go into individually,
but we have, for instance, work by Lee Bul, an artist who had
a very important mid-career survey organised by the Mori Art Museum here We have this monumental sculpture by Chinese artist, Liu Wei Another important Chinese artist, Huang Yong Ping, who has actually now become a French citizen An artist named Siah Armajani, an Iranian-born
American artist who recently had a retrospective at
the Metropolitan Museum in New York A complete archive of more than several hundred
works by Internet art pioneer Korean American named Young Hae-Chang Heavy Industries A Vietnamese artist group called the Propeller Group A pioneering Indian artist named Nalini Malani,
now in her seventies So these are some of the monumental works
in the visual art section of the collection But we also collect design and architecture, the effort that is led by Ikko and her team So, from looking at Hong Kong architecture and urbanism, Japan plays a very important role in all of our areas but especially in design with its strength So, for instance, here represented by
a postmodern chair design by Ohashi Teruaki An American visionary named Buckminster Fuller, whose influence was everywhere global including Asia And last year we were able to finalize a large acquisition of almost complete archive of the work of Archigram, the British experimental architecture group
from the 60s and 70s Another thing that we have been doing over the last few years is also to present exhibitions and other programmes So I think people often just equate a museum with its building but, in fact, the museum is all about its content and what goes inside the building or even outside the building So this is what the site I showed you earlier, the picture of the museum construction That’s what it looked like just 6 years ago where we did an exhibition of very large inflatable sculptures And then over the last 3 years we have been using
a small exhibition hall about 300 square metres, perhaps no bigger than this room And we were able to show and organise by now nine exhibitions and many of them are focused on
different aspects of the collection to really show to our colleagues as well as the public the multifacetedness of the collection that we are building So, for instance, we did an exhibition
that is focused on our design collection Much of it was, of course, Japanese materials Another exhibition that focused on Southeast Asia to position the museum as somewhere between
East Asia and Southeast Asia And one of the last exhibitions were a conversation between Isamu Noguchi and a younger artist, Danh Vo, who was born in Vietnam and grew up in Denmark So that’s a very quick rundown about
this ambitious museum building project And just a few words about the initiative
called M+ International The museum is scheduled to open at the end of 2020 next year or the very beginning of 2021 And as one of the largest contemporary museums
to be built in Asia, if not the whole world, it is very important for us to, of course,
get our visibility up But at the same time all museums are no island We all exist in an ecosystem of
international partners and colleagues So M+ International is an initiative that
we started before the opening of the museum to build and expand a network of collaborative partners with whom we want to have long-term relationships with Mori Art Museum is one of those partners and the reason why we wanted to organise
this first official M+ International event with Mori is because we wanted to look at
the long and illustrious history of Japanese museums and collections And this is a very important foundational benchmark for all new museums that are coming up in Asia but arguably this very rich and deep history
is not so well known outside of Japan So we want to help build a channel
to reach more information about more-than-a-century-old Japanese history
as known to our Asian colleagues but, as part of a new wave of big museums
being built across Asia, we also want to be a kind of a prompt or catalyst
for Japanese museums as well So that’s what M+ International initiative is about Then I think I’ll go right into talking about
the first session of the three internal sessions, or workshops
we had over the last 2 days Session 1 focused on public museums We had in addition to myself three presenters
and participants Seki Naoko-san from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo,
also known as MOT She gave us a presentation on multi-layers or strata
of history of this museum that I believe many of you know intimately
and I’m sure you go there quite often The museum building in Kiba opened in 1995 but, in fact, there were previous incarnations So Seki-san gave us a quick presentation on how it started in 1926 as Tokyo Metropolitan Art Gallery and how after a few decades it evolved into
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in 1975 until 20 years later the new building opened And then, as the institution existed and mutated
and evolved into different incarnations, collections also came in from different sources from private collections and also
a large donation of prints, for instance That happened in the 1970s In the 1980s, and this is a topic
that comes up again and again, during the bubble era and with the boom
of building many public museums that there was a very generous budget that
Japanese museums worked with So, for instance, MOT has a very good collection
of American art including figures like Warhol and not just American but actually Western,
David Hockney or Christian Boltanski And all of those works were included
into the collection in the 1990s in the run-up of the opening of the museum But since then the same budget is not available but through special exhibitions organised by the museums that important works by Japanese artists
as well as some Asian artists could enter into the collection as well So to summarize, that really tells a story of how a museum, a public museum but perhaps
private museums as well it is like an organism that as contexts change,
as the environments change, it evolves and adapts and it’s never
one complete unified picture but it is really like an organism that changes and grows and sometimes loses its way, you know Then the second presenter was Mr. Kuroda Raiji
from Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which he calls a comparatively small and humble museum but within our field it is a museum that is
very highly respected for its very clear focus and mission dedicated
to telling this story of modern and contemporary Asian art broadly Arguably there is no other museum like it until Horikawa-san starts speaking, perhaps And it is a museum that is not only collecting
modernist or contemporary art but also pays attention to other parallel traditions of folk art, ethnic art, and popular art And incredible to really have this resource in Japan not in the larger cities but in Fukuoka with a collection that is almost 3,000 pieces of artworks from East Asia,
Southeast Asia, and South Asia And it’s really a resource not only for Japan
but also for Asia and even beyond Perhaps the same challenge that faces the museum that there used to be a lot more budget for acquiring a good collection in the 1990s and that kind of money is not there any more but the museum continues its activities in different forms, for instance, continuing to do residency programmes that give opportunities to contemporary artists
to spend time in Fukuoka make exhibitions, and some of the works
that are made during the exhibitions residencies and exhibitions can also go into the collection So I think that’s a perhaps a good set way
to hand it over to Horikawa-san, who had experience of working at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum but has been an instrumental figure in establishing a very important museum
called National Gallery Singapore which is also a kind of a model for us I would say as well HORIKAWA LISA: [Japanese] At the National Gallery Singapore, I work as deputy director of the collection and as senior curator Let me begin It will be compact, but as I’d like everyone to know the environment surrounding museums in Singapore I’ll make a simple presentation This is the exterior of the museum It combines the former Supreme Court and City Hall constructed during the 1920s and 1930s when Singapore was under colonial rule This new museum opened in November 2015 With a total area of 64,000 square meters, the museumユs size is similar to that of M+ Speaking of its position within a Southeast Asian context, our modern and contemporary art collection is the largest in Southeast Asia including Singapore We have about 9,000 artworks in total The building looks like this from the side and two permanent exhibitions form the centre of the museum The Singapore Gallery and Southeast Asia Gallery both have sizeable floor areas The Singapore Gallery occupies the entire second floor of
the former City Hall, and the Southeast Asia Gallery occupies floors three to five of
the former Supreme Court Every visitor says it takes at least 1 day
to view everything thoroughly I moved to Singapore 7 years ago and what I noticed then was that the value of permanent exhibitions wasn’t really recognized in Singapore, and emphasis was placed on blockbuster exhibitions Even though the museum already had a collection, there was no facility where visitors could view
the collection at any time or trace the contemporary art history of the entire Southeast Asia region So we prepared for the opening exhibition while aware of the need to build a foundation
that enabled visitors to trace the art history not only of Singapore but also of the entire Southeast Asian region
through the permanent exhibitions I am going to briefly explain the history that museums in Singapore have traversed The Raffles Library and Museum, which was a colonial museum, marked the beginning of the history of museums in Singapore Speaking of the history of museums, in 1976 a part of the National Museum of Singapore became a space for art exhibitions as a kind of a museum, and it was considered to be the country’s first
national-level museum It was also in 1976 that a white cube first came to exist in a national exhibition facility Later, the National Museum Art Gallery was developed into Singapore Art Museum Singapore Art Museum (SAM) continues to exist today and 9,000 artworks from
the National Gallery Singapore’s collection come from our predecessors, NMAG and SAM We inherited most of their collections, which contain artworks produced in the modern and contemporary era up to the 1950s, and constitute the core of the gallery’s collection Our endeavour to build our own collection started in 2009, 6 years prior to the gallery’s opening While continuing collections established in the past, we are simultaneously and actively building a collection that matches the gallery’s identity, which is a very unique way of building a collection This slide shows the first piece in the collection It is a tiny work about this size and it is a self-portrait by a Malaysian artist
who made Batik paintings The collection of 110 artworks including this work was built by Dato Loke Wan Tho, an entrepreneur in Malaysia and Singapore He was also a philanthropist, and the collection started due to his donation to the country at a time when there was no art museum in Singapore Interestingly, while other national museums in Southeast Asia only exhibit their own art history, what’s unique about Singapore is that its perspective includes the entire region This feature is evident in the first collection of
Dato Loke Wan Tho, as seen from the inclusion of Indonesian artists, and it is good to point out that the DNA from which
this broad perspective looking beyond Singapore descends was there from the beginning This slide shows the current collection according
to region and country Seventy per cent of the collection comes from Singapore, so even though our museum specializes in Southeast Asia the number of artworks from Laos, Cambodia, and Brunei are very limited In terms of managing the museum’s collection, what is characteristic of Singapore is that, while our collection belongs to the National Gallery Singapore, it also belongs to the much larger system of the national collection of Singapore In addition to the National Gallery Singapore,
other museums such as SAM, Asian Civilisations Museum,
and the National Museum of Singapore are all part of this national collection At the Heritage Conservation Centre, art restorers and registrars manage all of its artworks This creates a situation where there is no repository
inside museums, making artworks inaccessible from the standpoint of curators So it has both good and bad aspects One interesting thing about this system is that this self-portrait by John Singer Sargent, for example, belongs to the National Museum of Singapore’s collection But for ‘Artist and Empire’, a special exhibition we organised two years ago, we borrowed this work from the National Museum of Singapore So loaning works within the national collection system is designed in such an easy way Hidden within this system is the possibility to open up the ownership of museums to the outside and physically expand This is one aspect of Singapore and the Southeast Asia Gallery Our museum is still very new, which means
that in our collection the number of artworks from the 19th century
is very limited So even when making a permanent exhibition, 20% to 30% of the artworks are loaned to us on a long-term basis, allowing us to somehow maintain an exhibition For example, we borrowed artworks for 3 years from Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Additionally, museums in Southeast Asia and Europe that have a strong relationship with us
due to the colonial past also loan artworks to us for long periods of time Just to give you an unusual example, when we held a large exhibition by Raden Saleh, an Indonesian artist from the 19th century, we discovered that the Smithsonian Museum in the US has two large artworks by the artist So we asked the Smithsonian to extend the loan
not only to show the works in the special exhibition, but also the subsequent
permanent exhibition at the Southeast Asia Gallery So when you come to our museum in Singapore, you can view works from the Smithsonian Museum The values of artworks from Southeast Asia
that ended up overseas are probably not recognized in Europe and North America Looking for these ‘blind spots’ and connecting them to the context of art in Southeast Asia is very important to us We commissioned three artists to respond to our collection When entering the exhibition space, visitors can use an app to view and experience artworks created by contemporary artists in response to the collection Lastly, next month on 12 October, the Rotunda Library & Archive* inside the Southeast Asia Gallery will newly open To coincide with this, we plan to launch a website that visitors can use to search our entire collection and book archive I hope you will visit the website KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Can you respond to Session 1?
HORIKAWA LISA: [Japanese] In response to the first session, the word ‘narrative’ came up during the discussion In addition to the narratives woven from within each museum, we discussed how to make these narratives accessible to the outside world and to others, both viewers and experts We discussed how we can make our collections accessible in such a way that their subjectivity can be shared not just within museums but also externally, leading to the utilization of museum collections KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Now we’re going to move to Session 2 Session 2 focused on private museums With the economic growth of emerging Asian countries, new art audiences in these countries are also growing while art markets have also been developing simultaneously Private collectors in these countries are gathering art and making their collections accessible to the public This is out of a sense of urgency to develop contemporary art rather than for personal gain, especially given that national museums there
are a little behind The emphasis on public interests in these collections
was also discussed New museums have opened in succession in order to cultivate the next generation The session discussed how contemporary art
is considered beneficial because it offers the experience of diverse values through art, especially in Southeast Asia, where ethnicity, culture, language, and
religion are all different In this session, MACAN in Indonesia and MAIIAM in Chiang Mai, Thailand, were introduced as cases in Asia In Japan, as mentioned by Doryun at the beginning, private museums have led contemporary art for a long time Historically, many private museums were based on collections made available by individual collectors One famous example of this is the Tate Modern, which began its collection using the revenue from the sugar trade Likewise, the Guggenheim Museum in New York used the revenue from the coal and gold mining business to start its collection Many collections began out of the strong will of individuals For Japanese collections that deal with
contemporary art, we referred to the Ohara Museum of Art, which opened in the 1930s,
as the oldest example This will be discussed later, but the opening of the Bridgestone Museum of Art in 1952 is a very interesting case in relation to
how it started to collect modern and contemporary art right after the end of World War 2 Notably, the Ohara Museum of Art and Bridgestone Museum of Art have continued their endeavours for many generations Pola Museum of Art opened in 2002 and has mainly collected modern art, but this summer it invited contemporary artists to collaborate for the first time with the museum’s modern art collection in what was an excellent exhibition I paid attention to this project to see
how the collection was utilized When we think about art collections in a broader sense, there are cases such as Benesse Art Site Naoshima that originally started as a private collection Instead of remaining as a private collection, Benesse uses the collection to transform
the entire town or island Echoing the words of Mr. Fukutake of Benesse that ‘Art is a weapon for social transformation’, there are greater examples of how art contributes to the revitalization of depopulated areas During this session, Mr. Yanagisawa from
the Ohara Museum of Art, which celebrates its ninetieth anniversary next year, commented that during discussions about
how collections from the past have become relevant to contemporary society, the fact that the Ohara Museum of Art has continued to research the history of museums for more than 40 years explains why the museum has continued to exist to this day across generations I’d now like to invite Kasahara Michiko briefly to give an overview of the Artizon Museum, which has also continued for three generations Even among private art collections that don’t become art museums, artworks may become dispersed due to the current generation not having an interest in the collections of
their fathers and mothers Passing art on and maintaining it is one of the biggest challenges I’d like Ms. Kasahara to talk about this issue KASAHARA MICHIKO: [Japanese] My name is Kasahara Michiko,
vice director of the Artizon Museum I still almost mistakenly introduce myself as Kasahara
from Tokyo Photographic Art Museum [laughter] I left Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
18 months ago and moved to the former Bridgestone Museum of Art As all of you know, the Bridgestone Museum of Art originally started from the private collection of Ishibashi Shojiro, the founder of Bridgestone Corporation In 1952, a museum was built inside the company’s headquarters marking the beginning of the museum The way that Ishibashi created the collection was through his Western painting teacher, Sakamoto Hanjiro Sakamoto asked him to buy Aoki Shigeru’s collection, and he became very close to Fujishima Takeji,
and supported him So he was a sort of a patron of contemporary art at the time Such connections grew as time went by, and he earnestly collected modern art
produced after the Meiji period Later, Western art and Impressionist art in particular was brought to Japan and received much attention, so he collected such works to prevent their dispersion or their return to the place of origin since they had travelled all the way to Japan He donated this vast collection to the Ishibashi Foundation in 1962, which he had established earlier in 1956 His entire collection went to this foundation in 1962 What surprised me the most after moving to
the Bridgestone Museum of Art, and this is as someone from Tokyo Photographic
Art Museum, a public museum, is that generally, a museum has a lot of money
before its inauguration, but once it opens, it runs out of its project budget as well as collection budget, which is our general concern For three generations, the Bridgestone Museum of Art
has held exhibitions and educational outreach programs,
its Saturday lectures being famous In addition to educational activities,
it has continued to collect art, which is what makes the museum special I will only talk about a few topics so as not to make
my presentation too long The Bridgestone Museum of Art closed in 2015 With its new building finally completed on 5 July, we moved to the new location on 1 September It hasn’t stopped collecting artworks since 2015 till today Our inaugural exhibition will open on 18 January As part of the museum’s ongoing collection activity, it enhances its modern and Impressionist collection,
but also expands to include antique art, post-war abstract art,
and contemporary art Those of you who loved the Bridgestone Museum of Art might ask why we changed the name to the Artizon Museum and why someone like me who doesn’t understand France
or Impressionism but who specializes in photography serves as vice director That’s what is so admirable about them [laughter] We moved to the new location upon completion of
the Artizon Museum I’ll talk about the museum’s new building Before the completion of this main building, another building was completed in 2015 in Machida City It’s called the Art Research Centre Since many natural disasters and so on occur in Japan, repositories inside museums face risk,
especially when located in a city And so, we created an annex building to house
the Art Research Centre, a repository, library, and space for educational outreach We conserve artworks and research documents there The new museum comprises this facility together with the new main museum building Let me briefly talk about the Artizon Museum Museum Tower Kyobashi is an office building consisting of twenty-three floors In contrast to the former Bridgestone Museum of Art that was forcibly constructed inside an office building, Artizon was constructed with the aim of creating a museum
from the start The first floor has a main lobby,
the second floor a museum shop, and the third floor houses a lecture room,
all of which are free and open to the public After going through a metal detector,
you can also visit the sixth floor There are exhibition spaces from floors four to six,
each 700 square metres The fifth and sixth floors are for special exhibitions while the fourth floor is for permanent exhibitions The details of the construction were carefully designed For example, quake-absorbing structures are common, but here it is fully enforced throughout the building There isn’t a single large pillar installed in the wide 700-meter-square exhibition rooms For lighting, too, we collaborated with Yamagiwa Corporation to invent a special lighting system allowing us to
modulate features such as colour temperature We thought about many different systems Why was the name changed to the Artizon Museum? While weaving our past traditions, we want to run museum activities that look to the future We aim to combine the building, educational outreach,
and collection instead of treating them separately Artizon is a coined term derived from ‘art’ and ‘horizon’ Many museums in the world use the names
of founders and regions, but there are a very few museums that use a museum’s concept in their names This very ambitious museum will open on 18 January For our opening exhibition, we will use all three floors We picked about 200 artworks from
the Ishibashi Foundation collection, which includes 2,800 artworks and 1,000 artist photos, the portrait collection Thirty artworks among the 200 selected are items
newly acquired since 2015 Some artworks might surprise visitors,
so please look forward to it YOKOYAMA IKKO: [Japanese] Good evening, everyone As introduced by Doryun, I am Yokoyama Ikko,
lead curator of architecture and design at M+ Museum In Session 3, we discussed design
and architecture collections Architecture and design exhibitions are frequently held, and architecture exhibitions are a very popular genre When it comes to museum collections, though, only a handful of museums collect architecture and design works The reasons for this will also be discussed by Mr. Sugaya One of the factors is that design and architecture are directly incorporated into daily life and shape our living, so they tend not to remain But at M+, we collect design and architecture
the same way we collect art This necessity derives from the fact that,
just as there is art history, there are histories of architecture and design Instead of collecting masterpieces of respective countries, M+ feels the need to include design and architecture
when looking at Asia because these fields have served in the reconstruction of Asia in the post-war period, and helped build a new future In addition to Mr. Sugaya, Jihoi Lee from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year, talked about the museum not having an
architecture department until 2011 But naturally, as architecture is also an art form, a new building that includes design, architecture, and crafts was created Ota Kayoko, an independent curator, discussed the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) Among the institutions with architecture archives, CCA doesn’t merely conserve its archive but experiments with new ways of using, interpreting, and communicating it in the most progressive manner Ota, who works as a guest curator at CCA, mentioned something that we are concerned about, that while there are many design and
architecture archives in Japan, they are dispersed They are spread out not only among museums but also in archive centres of big construction companies and universities They exist in various places and we don’t know
exactly where they are Talking about the current circumstances of Japan, Ota pointed out the importance of creating a network between such archives so as to utilize them in meaningful ways, among other issues inherent to archiving
design and architecture The significance of having both an archive and a collection is that, as they are vast fields, each museum has to make its narrative specific to its local area and region, and this can serve as an axis for narrowing down a focus It involves design and architecture but also links to art and local regions, and the question of
how we create a historical narrative At the same time, by building an archive that is open we can learn from researchers and gain their new perspectives in relation to the materials in an archive The Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka will collect both items relating to design and art,
which is rare in Japan I am looking forward to hearing from Mr. Sugaya about it SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] I am deputy director of
the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka planning office Thank you for inviting me to this symposium The museum will open at the end of 2021 The building is currently under construction The construction has already started and much progress
has been made, but the concept itself and the planning office
were formed in 1990 Various changes followed, but I’m not going to talk
about them today The museum started with the aim of creating a collection that gives a general overview of art in Osaka, Japan,
and the world from the end of the 19th century to the contemporary era First and foremost is the collection of Saeki Yuzo’s work As written in our collection policy, what triggered the idea of founding this museum was the donation by Saeki’s family of over 30 artworks by Saeki Yuzo In this sense, a private collector played a part here, too We have been able to collect so-called masterpieces, including Japanese modernist works and Japanese paintings
from Osaka We collect artworks from the early 20th century, an era represented by artists like Modigliani and when Saeki Yuzo was in Paris As for contemporary art, Basquiat’s work is currently
on show here When it comes to the artworks of Gutai Art Association, especially works by Yoshihara Jiro, the group’s leader who was born and raised in Osaka before moving to Ashiya, but whose family company stayed in Osaka, we have about 800 artworks by him
thanks to different connections Based on these artworks, we also collect design works, and collecting design was part of our collection policy
from the outset Originally, we used the phrase ‘art in everyday life’
to refer to design This extended from works of modernist design to contemporary design, and our concept at the time was that design was an art form in everyday life, and thus the most familiar to us At the same time, we considered what shapes our lives Our lives are actually shaped by these design products that surround us They can even influence how we move our bodies We collect such design products There are about 200 works of this kind, and we additionally borrowed 18,000 works
from the poster collection of Suntory Holdings that have been entrusted to us for use
in exhibitions Our tableware collection and graphic collection consisting of posters are, internationally speaking, one of the most extensive collections there is Additionally, given that the museum is located in Osaka, collecting design works produced after the war
required us to consider the companies formerly known as Matsushita and SANYO,
and Sharp, which all began in Osaka Since their products shaped people’s lives in the latter half of the 20th century, we thought about collecting home appliances,
but it’s not feasible to collect fifty washing machines, thirty vacuum
cleaners, and countless refrigerators Even a repository the size of a gymnasium
can’t keep everything We ask each corporation to keep these products, and we archive the data relating to them as a digital platform This archive is available on our website and it is one form of archive There are many different forms of archives and we have many archives consisting of documents
related to works Particularly in relation to building a design collection, it is shaped not only by so-called works that have a material form, but also simultaneously through the creation of an archive This is how we have come to think
as a result of trial and error KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] As I said in the afternoon session, it is rare in Japan for a museum to have an art collection alongside design and architecture collections M+ is also heading in this direction SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] There are a few museums in Japan Toyota Municipal Museum of Art and Utsunomiya Museum of Art have both collected quite extensive design works At any rate, we have a long history [laughter] This kind of idea wasn’t so common 30 years ago The reason that was considered important is because design was relatively familiar in our daily lives, while I also feel it is distinct to Osaka KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] The museum will finally open
after 30 years of running the planning office You have been there from the beginning, right? SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] More or less, yes.
The office was created in 1990 and I started working there in 1992 KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] As I discussed earlier, the office
had a sizeable budget in the beginning and you were actively buying works Right now, you are perhaps making the final adjustments? SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] Yes, all museums around the 1990s such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,
Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, and, of course,
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum had overlapping markets These museums were competing to collect works while wondering which work had been acquired by which museum These museums had sizable budgets Speaking of the situation in Osaka, it took 30 years to build this museum, mainly because the city’s financial situation worsened but I think other museums also faced a similar situation At that time, the museum’s planning office had the policy that the foundation of a museum is its collection, and designing architecture suitable for the collection was considered the correct way to build a museum, and that’s the approach Osaka City adopted This meant that we didn’t start designing the museum building parallel to the creation of the planning office First, we gradually built a collection, and then created a building to fit that collection As the city’s finances worsened in the midst of
such discussions, the project was postponed, and has now finally resumed But I don’t think we were wrong in our approach
to the museum [laughter] KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] In the meantime, the value of Gutai
rose a lot in the past 30 years SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] Yes. The location of this new museum is Nakanoshima Yonchome Gutai Pinacotheca, the base of the Gutai Art Association, is the storehouse that the family of Yoshihara Jiro owned It is located in Nakanoshima Sanchome,
Yoshihara renovated it to make the group’s base* only 50 meters and one traffic light away from us We were able to collect his artworks thanks to his family KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Ms. Kasahara, you are collecting
a lot of archive documents including design-related documents Can you talk about the scale of the research centre in Machida that was built in addition to the main museum building? KASAHARA MICHIKO: [Japanese] We moved our repository
to the building in Machida In the case of an urban museum, it is difficult to have a repository in a city due to the high rent, but it is also safer to have a repository in a separate location due to the risk of natural disasters and accidents Besides that, we need a spacious repository I think museums in Japan and all over the world
have similar concerns about repositories, but moving to another location
solved our problems We have many books and documents, so we need a library for these as well as a public library function We are using the research centre for educational outreach in the form of organizing workshops and lectures KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] In what year did you open? KASAHARA MICHIKO: [Japanese] It was established in 2015 and
partially opened to the public in 2016 KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Is the research centre that’s open to the public located in the same place as the repository? KASAHARA MICHIKO: [Japanese] Yes, but the repository
is, of course, not open to the public Given that Machida is home to many universities, we organise workshops for them and
share documents with researchers We are not open every day, but we are working on digitizing the archive
and organizing documents We’ve been working on many projects during the closure, and the IT project of digitizing our archives is something we’ve particularly put a lot
of time and energy into Consequently, we plan to create a digital touch-panel wall to make the Artizon Museum collection widely available online to general museum visitors during their visit We’re also going to show detailed documents
at the information booth KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] We talked about archives
through three topics in this session Ms. Horikawa previously talked about how to make narratives There was also a discussion about how the M+ Museum collection gathers works of architecture, art, and design while focusing on certain narratives rather than collecting everything comprehensively The National Gallery Singapore has also put a lot of effort into archiving and exhibiting its archives Can you talk a little bit about that? HORIKAWA LISA: [Japanese] Since opening, we have a facility
called the Resource Centre, which is open by appointment only,
and we have shown our archive there We have about 20,000 works and documents, though this number includes not only physical objects but also digital archives We don’t create these digital archives by purchasing actual works from owners or asking them to donate works to us, but by borrowing and digitizing them We give part of the digital files to the owners so that they can also utilize them Speaking of archives in relation to the art market, the value of artworks has been soaring, especially the Southeast Asian art market, and that makes it harder for public museums to compete with private collectors Yet no market has been established for archives and documents That said, however, some regions in Southeast Asia have a very rich archiving culture such as the Philippines, which is known for its scrap culture There are many people who have beautiful scrapbooks that could move you to tears Even though their market value hasn’t been established, there is the potential for museums to use and exploit them, which could lead to the creation of a market In order to avoid that, we consider digitization as a friendly archiving tool, and that’s how we approach it When it comes to building a database, during the sessions yesterday and today speakers from Indonesia and Thailand mentioned that Singapore is an exception within Southeast Asia [laughter] For sure, Singapore has a well-developed infrastructure, but we have many challenges in terms of building a database and there are so many things that aren’t well organised In this sense, I think the challenge is quite formidable KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] I’d like to hear
about Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which loaned artworks to your museum Fukuoka Asian Art Museum separated from Fukuoka Art Museum Fukuoka Art Museum began an Asian collection in 1979 Twenty years later in 1999, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum became a separate institution and has continued its activities The method the museum has used to collect artworks is to take its time through the organization of exhibitions That sounds like an ideal way to build a collection Can you talk about that? HORIKAWA LISA: [Japanese] I think the collection
of Fukuoka Asian Art Museum represents how a collection is supposed to be It has collected artworks mainly through exhibitions while taking several decades to build the collection’s logic, and some sort of philosophy That’s how the museum’s collection has developed What surprised me most after moving to Singapore is that, despite the museum owning 9,000 artworks, there was no background information available to curators who worked at the museum, such as the history of who bought or donated artworks While referencing the model of Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, we are in the process of understanding the background of our collection little by little Fukuoka Asian Art Museum always exists as our reference point KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] The National Gallery Singapore’s
permanent exhibition has a timeline depicting the history of museums in Asia I was moved when I saw Fukuoka Art Museum’s name under 1979 HORIKAWA LISA: [Japanese] I am happy to hear that, since
few visitors noticed the timeline [laughter] So thank you. We actually made a lot of effort to create it We created a timeline of the art history of Southeast Asia
to coincide with the museum’s opening The exhibition ‘Modern Asian Art’ by Fukuoka Art Museum appears on the timeline depicting events after the 1970s KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Speaking of the M+ collection, I heard that the museum collects not only artworks but also all kinds of visual culture including neon signs You previously said the museum started collecting without following strict categories Can you talk about this policy? DORYUN CHONG: So it’s important that we identify ourselves at M+ as not as a fine art museum but as a visual culture museum And it’s not a completely new idea, actually Thinking about art history within the larger matrix
or context of art visual culture has been around for a few decades now So it’s actually a combination of at least two different things One is that, as the history of mostly modern art museums have developed over the 20th century and, of course, the most important institution in this regard may still be the Museum of Modern Art,
MoMA in New York it has become in a sense too rigid and structured where artists maybe painters but they don’t really
think within the bounds of painting They are absorbing and responding to the larger visual culture that may include design and architecture, or cinema or newspaper-printed matters and what not And there are some inherent shortcomings
in the museum structure because, of course, museums by definition are about collecting and preserving for eternity, for perpetuity And the different materials have different conservation needs and then that has now sort of fossilized into a rigid structure And so there has been a lot of thinking, criticism, and movement in making the structure more fluid So coming in the 21st century we have absorbed the lesson that we don’t want to set up a very rigid departmental structure So that’s part of it The other part of why we have defined ourselves
as a visual culture museum is also responding to the lack or absence
in Hong Kong and in the region Hong Kong does have some museums There is actually an art museum, there is also
a culture museum There is also a history museum But there was a feeling that there are no proper museums that can deal with contemporary fields of visual culture So instead of just making a contemporary art museum,
or contemporary design museum there were so many expectations that we needed to respond to So it was really a combination of the history of museums
around the world but mostly in the West and Japan really So that trend, after almost a century of modern museums we were responding to the most recent trend,
but also responding to specific local needs to have one very large encompassing museum
that can deal with all of these issues So that’s a really transparent answer but I think we really think of it as an opportunity to be able to be able to tell a really fascinating multi-layered, multifaceted history of the present
and the last few decades of how visual culture has evolved in Hong Kong
and in China, and in our region as well KATAOKA MAMI: We are trying to show your amazing diagram
of multiple gems of your collection KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] We were discussing how a collection
looks when categorizing artworks We were looking at collections consisting of works that can’t be classified into conventional
categories of modern museums such as photography, sculpture, architecture, and design, and it was such an interesting discussion Putting together all these opinions discussed
in the three sessions, we talked about what we can do as museums while utilizing museum collections The larger narrative discussed before is that in Japan, the history of museum collections started relatively early Before the art market soared and when Japan still had money saved
during the bubble economy era, museums across Japan had quite impressive collections Now we’ve entered an era in which we must consider
how to utilize them But it is not Japan but other Asian countries
that are growing rapidly How can these new museums increase their collections, and in what way can they collaborate with museums in Japan? There are some precedents, for example, but do we show the collections of Japanese museums in Asia or is it possible to create something collaboratively?
We also discussed the possibility of expanding some rare cases in the future Do you want to explore? DORYUN CHONG: I, well actually at the very beginning of this discussion I said why we wanted to have this event in collaboration
with Mori Art Museum It’s, of course, coming from our own institutional interest but by inviting other colleagues from Korea
and other South Asian countries to at least send a message to our Japanese colleagues that this history that you have all built together
is very, very important for us But at the same time, I said that I also hope
that these new museum projects that are happening outside of Japan within Asia will be a kind of a stimulus and catalyst So what I would actually like to propose the question to my Japanese colleagues You don’t have to be all positive It can be constructive criticism, also After 2 days of discussion, what are your thoughts and hopes and ideas that you may have vis-à-vis these other non-Japanese institutions that were represented? SUGAYA TOMIO: [Japanese] As mentioned before, it took 30 years for the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka to open I don’t think these 30 years were wasted These years did bear fruit, to some extent We have corrected the direction of our museum The activities of M+ are very stimulating and it’s not just about the museum’s scale
or its extensive collection Apart from its scale, it made me think about our collection in terms of its categories and general state I think our approach has been slightly rigid We are a public museum, so there are
complicated bureaucratic processes, but to be very frank, I think our museum as a whole, or I myself, didn’t update properly But I don’t consider that period to be wasteful Hearing from everyone yesterday and today, it is a matter of whether we can execute what’s discussed, because each museum has a different locality and history It’s about how we can elevate ourselves in our environment In that sense, it was very stimulating for me KASAHARA MICHIKO: [Japanese] Since moving to Artizon, I’ve been in an environment completely opposite
that of the past There is a difference in terms of the budget I keenly sense the difficulties faced by a museum that is considered to have an excellent collection While utilizing that collection, we also need to do something new This is something seen at M+, too, but what we shouldn’t do is organise identical exhibitions and projects I don’t want to do that I want to do something that is only possible here at Artizon I think everyone here knows what such identical exhibitions look like And at M+, for example, they are trying to do something that is only possible at M+ The Artizon Museum will open on 18 January and I am very scared about how visitors will receive our museum, but we are at least trying I think our drive and direction are very similar to that of M+ KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] I think what Ms. Kasahara said
about organizing an exhibition that is unique to each museum is very important The same goes for M+ On the other hand, I haven’t talked about the collection of Mori Art Museum The collection became accessible online from June this year, so I encourage people to take a look The museum as a non-collection museum, namely, we started in 2003 as a museum without a collection but 2 years after opening, we organically started to collect artworks through our exhibitions We finally made the collection open to the public online, but we don’t have millions or thousands of artworks We have a very limited number of artworks Over the last 2 days, I thought that we could collaborate more with other museums and do something For example, I talked to Ms. Seki from
the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Instead of looking at each other’s strategy while thinking what other institutions in Tokyo are doing, it would be interesting if we share what we want to do and the topics that curators in each institution
are interested in It might be interesting to organise
different events simultaneously Museums competing with each other to be unique
is one vital aspect, but there was also discussion about how it would be positive to see museums working more and more collaboratively in the future In fact, I realized after the start of yesterday’s session that people from major contemporary art museums in Japan and those from newly established museums in Asia have few chances to discuss the theme of museum
collections in depth as we have over 2 days in this conference We participated in this joint initiative at the invitation of M+ International, and whatever form it may have taken, it would be great if we continue to organise this gathering There are few chances to see the collections
of all the museums online, so it’s better to gather like this in person For example, some archives may not have been digitized yet And works that aren’t necessarily the major
pieces in a museum collection and other archives may have very rare works
but which attract certain experts can be found in different places, such as
a university museum collection If a museum like Mori Art Museum, which has comparatively high visitor numbers, can share these artworks, then a lot of people will take notice of them With so many ideas emerging over the past 2 days, it has been very stimulating for me too We are now running out of time, but we are happy to take questions from the audience If you have a further question for each museum Ikko, do you have any questions? YOKOYAMA IKKO: [Japanese] It is not a question, but I learnt a lot over the last 2 days I am working at M+ Museum as a person from Japan I entered this field and cultivated my interest because I grew up surrounded by Japanese museums such as the Sezon Museum of Art How we generate this kind of drive in the next generation was something we discussed I think a museum collection is like a toolbox, so collecting works beyond general categories such as design, art, and architecture is important Collections will remain even after we are all gone and people will come and go, so we have to leave hints or ‘tags’, in today’s parlance, so that future generations can decipher collections In terms of how many hints a museum can be expected to leave, I learnt that the collections of each institution and the information they retain is very important KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Any other questions? AUDIENCE: [Japanese] I always enjoy exhibitions
at Mori Art Museum Art is connected to other academic fields such as science and cosmology, and to concepts such as love And that’s what I like about exhibitions there I sometimes wonder whether art museums could organise exhibitions in collaboration with non-art institutions For example, replicas are often used in a dinosaur exhibition While real dinosaurs are in big museums in the US, we exhibit their replicas here, and so on The difficulty of collaborating with other academic fields might be that loaning precious objects can be tricky, but regular visitors don’t know about that I imagine there must be complicated reasons for this I would like to know about the difficulties and challenges you face when organizing exhibitions KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] First, regarding an exhibition
that transcends genres, the director of Mori Art Museum, Fumio Nanjo, who
is sitting over there, is an expert The exhibition ‘Future and the Arts’
will start from 18 November, and it includes science, new technologies, and architecture These interdisciplinary exhibitions are happening everywhere For example, attempts to show art
with ethnology and anthropology are being undertaken in many places Nevertheless, a work of art is a one-of-a-kind item, so when it comes to loaning them, they are strictly managed by registration and conservation in each museum Otherwise, they will steadily deteriorate Each museum has a large conservation department in order to preserve artworks for the future And there are rules to sustain
the physical durability of artworks such as resting a work for 2 years or half a year
once it has been loaned This can lead to difficulties Additionally, in relation to works of Impressionism or works made prior to that era as can be found in the collections of the Ohara Museum of Art
and Artizon Museum, for example, the estimated value of the artworks is extremely high Even if we can pay for their transportation costs, we might not be able to pay for their insurance There is a system where the national government compensates the cost if something happens to an artwork, but I will talk about that on another occasion So while we may talk about ‘loaning’, there are financial and physical constraints that prevent us from just borrowing artworks as soon as we conceive ideas Also, some museums loan artworks on an exchange basis, so for a museum like Mori Art Museum with a small collection we borrow more than we loan Ideally, by creating an equal relationship, museums can loan works from one another, but this is another difficulty This isn’t an issue that was raised at this event, but a new idea of jointly buying artworks has emerged in Europe For example, the Tate Modern and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney have been working with Qantas Airways as a sponsor on a 5-year joint project The project involves travel costs for a curator from the UK to research contemporary art in Australia, which can be quite expensive This kind of research cost as well as the budget
for the purchase of artworks and the cost of their transportation are sponsored by Qantas Airways In this way, artworks from Australia could travel to the UK and it results in the joint ownership of artworks
This is a new approach, but as the price of individual works is soaring
to such an extent, it seems that there are now other alternatives to each museum trying so hard to buy just a few works I think a system like this will spread to museums in Japan and other countries DORYUN CHONG: So all these issues of budgets and logistics
and conservations are, of course, a huge part of what
museum curators and directors do, even though that’s a part that’s
not so visible to the public But let me just say something as a way of closing that it just strikes me sitting here and after
2 days of discussions with colleagues from Japan and outside it makes me realize how lucky we are
and also how fortunate the public and the audiences are to have access to all these different kinds of museums and collections So, for instance, Artizon and its very strong collection of not only traditional art but Impressionism Because these Impressionist artworks
are time capsules of memories, right? You know, they do experience late-19th-century or
early-20th-century Paris, you know There’s still this vision of romance You can do that, and you can go to Mori, and also be part of this remarkable journey of an artist from Japan to Germany So it’s not just visually striking but it is really an experience of accompanying
somebody’s incredible life of creativity And when Nakanoshima opens, then there will also be many masterpieces that will take you to different times, places and cultures So I think this is something that everybody knows but that’s really the magic of what these collections are about And I hope the audience members here also think
of this new museum in Singapore which tells an incredible history, as the title
of the collection display says Stories of independence and declarations
and resistance and resilience of all these different countries in Southeast Asia And then that’s also quite a journey that you can have if you haven’t been to Singapore yet And I think that’s also what M+ will do so it is really an incredible fortune for all of us to be working with collections and to be sharing with the public and ultimately
that’s what it’s really all about that we’re having this discussion KATAOKA MAMI: [Japanese] Lastly, I want to talk about
how to enjoy a museum collection In Japanese art museums, special exhibitions have been the main focus until recently, while permanent exhibitions existed as something people might visit when they have time But each museum is putting more energy into
permanent exhibitions, making specific themes connected to their collections I’d also like people to pay attention to this aspect When viewing museums and special exhibitions overseas, we tend to focus on captions right away Captions indicate the owners of artworks It is quite interesting to link information, and see which museum owns which artwork MoMA’s captions indicate the year the museum acquired each work In addition, the information includes the type of fund
used to purchase works Interestingly, there is what’s called a ‘promised gift’
in the US, which refers to a collection on show at a museum that has been promised to the museum
by the owner after their death A museum is inseparable from its collection, but there are many diverse relationships among them Lots of information is written about works on small caption labels, such as information about who donated
or deposited the work, for example By checking this kind of information in a museum, visitors are able to discover narratives embodied in artworks, especially in relation to the history of a collection I think people can enjoy collections in this way Because of this unusual theme, it might have been difficult to ask questions, but we will continue to think about museums in different ways in the future Thank you so much for attending this event today

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