Futuristic Collective teamLab Will Launch Its Own Museum in Tokyo, Promising a Wonderland of Digital Art

The museum dedicated to immersive, interactive art opens this summer.

Photo: courtesy of teamLab.

The high-tech collective teamLab wants to make white walls and plinths a thing of the past. The 400-person group of artists and scientists plan to launch their own museum dedicated to digital art in Tokyo this summer.

The vast team of designers, animators, engineers, programmers, mathematicians, and architects is collaborating with real estate developer MORI Building to open a 107,000-square-foot venue to showcase its interactive, digital works of art. The space will be located in Palette town—a complex that is part amusement park, part shopping mall—in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.

In an email to artnet News, teamLab and MORI Building described the project as a joint venture, financially supported by both parties. A spokesperson for Pace Gallery, which represents teamLab, says it is not involved in the initiative.

There aren’t any digital-only art museums in the world,” a representative for teamLab told artnet News. “We’ve wanted to create the exhibition that delivers [for] the borderless artwork world, and figured we needed to establish the museum itself in order to make that happen.”

The collective will supply the art and design the space. (Although a core collection is already in place, teamLab plans to add additional works to the collection each year.) A representative could not confirm which installations would be shown in the inaugural presentation, but says the work on view will seek to “liberate art from physical constrictions and transcend boundaries in contemporary society.”

With its Instagram-friendly, interactive projections of flowers, waterfalls, and trees, teamLab has already proven itself to be an audience magnet. The group’s exhibition at Pace Menlo Park in 2016—which cost up to $20 to enter—drew close to 200,000 visitors in 10 months. (The gallery had projected 30,000.) In one work, visitors were invited to download an app, walk through a forest of 50,000 LED lights, and create different patterns by pressing buttons on their phones.

As our critic Ben Davis pointed out, the 400-person teamLab is so large that it may have crossed over “from being a ‘collective’ to being a corporation.”

The museum is also the second private museum founded—and funded—by artists to open in Tokyo in recent months. In October, another wildly popular artist known for her immersive work—Yayoi Kusama—debuted her own institution.

Of the teamLab project, a spokesperson for MORI Building said: “We hope this ‘Digital Art Museum’ will become a new destination for tourists, art lovers and museum-goers, and also it will reinforce the appeal and status of Tokyo.”

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