Art Curator Japan

A Guide to Nagano Museums

Matsumoto City Museum of Art

(松本市美術館)

Location: Matsumoto

Web: matsumoto-artmuse.jp/en/

Matsumoto Museum of Art’s most popular attraction is their permanent Yayoi Kusama works. Kusama was born in Matsumoto. Many other works of Japanese artists who have either come from Matsumoto City or been inspired by its surroundings, including the landscapes of Kazuo Tamura and the calligraphy of Shizan Kamijo.

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Karuizawa New Art Museum

(軽井沢ニューアートミュージアム)

Location: Karuizawa

Web: knam.jp/en/

The museum works to spread knowledge domestically and internationally regarding superb Japanese art, in particular work made during Japan’s post-war period. In addition to celebrated Japanese artists, museum exhibitions include both historical and cutting-edge new art from around the world, rising to meet the expectations of an increasingly global audience. The museum is very active in acquiring innovative artwork for its collection, including for example the Gutai Art Collective, which has been the subject of great international acclaim in recent years.

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The Utsukushigahara Open-Air Museum

(美ヶ原高原美術館)

Location: Ueda

Web: www.utsukushi-oam.jp/english/

It offers a special experience combining art and nature. There are more than 350 sculptures located on the Utsukushi-ga-hara plateau. Works exhibit  César’s “Thumb,” Alexander Liberman’s “Iliad Japan,” Bernhard Luginbühl’s “Gun for Sparow OSAKA PUNCH,” Kakuzo Tatehata’s “Fylfot 2,” Bukichi Inoue’s “My Sky Hole,” and Susumu Shingu’s “The Astral Compass,” etc.

Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum Higashiyama Kaii Gallery

(長野県信濃美術館 東山魁夷館)

Location: Nagano

Web: www.npsam.com/en/

The Famous Japanes-style painting master HIGASHIYAMA Kaii (1908-1999) generously donated more than 960 of his works (painting, studies, sketches, etc.) to the museum. The gallery holds paintings such as "Vibrant Greens", "Forest with a White Horse" and "Evening Quiet", and a series of sketches such as "Landscape of Northern Europe", "Four Seasons of Kyôto", "Landscape with a White Horse" and "Spring and Autumn of Yamato". 

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Sezon Museum of Modern Art

(セゾン現代美術館)

Location: Karuizawa

Web: www.smma.or.jp/en/

The museum has a systematic collection of modern art works by world-famous artists from the early 20th century to the present.  It currently houses about 500 works of prominent modern artists including Wassily Kandinsky, Man Ray, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Shusaku Arakawa, Hisao Domoto, Tadanori Yokoo and Kazumi Nakamura.

Kitano Museum of Art

(北野美術館)

Location: Nagano

Web:www.kitano-museum.or.jp

Good collection of Japanese paintings and ukiyo-e including Ito Shinsui, Uemura Shoen, Kaburaki Kiyokata, Hishida Shunso, etc. They also have karesansui (Japanese rock garden).

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