The Reimagined Kyoto City Museum Is Reopening After Three Years of Closure—See Images of Its Renovated Building Here

Aoki Jun, the architect who led the museum's renewal project, has been appointed as the museum's director.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.
Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

The Kyoto City Museum of Art is reopening, but it’s not what you might expect. The city museum is not just emerging from lockdown. Rather it is unveiling a massive three-year architectural renovation, along with a new name, and a new director. 

The beloved museum—considered by locals to be an embodiment of the city’s modern spirit—first opened in 1933 as the Kyoto Enthronement Memorial Museum of Art in Kyoto’s Okazaki district. In the years since its opening, it has served as a home for the dynamic art that had been emerging from Kyoto for well over a century. 

Three years ago, as the museum celebrated its 85th anniversary, a major structural renovation was undertaken to update the museum’s facilities. Japanese architects Aoki Jun and Nishizawa Tezzo were hired to lead the project, with the aim of fusing the museum’s iconic original structures with innovations to allow for new curatorial possibilities.

These efforts were recently revealed to fanfare along with the announcement that architect Aoki Jun had been appointed museum director.  

“Looking ahead to the next 100 years, our aim is for this building to be a center of culture and arts in Japan that will attract visitors from the world over,” the museum wrote in a statement. “We are dedicated to putting into practice the intentions and philosophy of the renovation design that renewed facilities while respecting the importance of the historical structure and its collection.”

The museum also announced it would be renamed the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art as part of a 50-year-licensing agreement with the Japanese mobile phone giant as a means of easing the taxpayer burden on account of the renovation.

With its newly improved digs, the museum has expanded its mission from focusing solely on the art of the Modern period in Kyoto to include works made by Japanese artists of the present moment, along with the works of international artists who are in conversation with Japanese artistic tradition. The museum’s opening shows, “250 Years of Kyoto Masterpieces” and “HIROSHI SUGIMOTO – POST VITAM,” speak to that reconsidered mission, and can currently be visited with timed-tickets. (A planned show called “Andy Warhol Kyoto” has been temporarily postponed.)

See images of the historic museum and its renovation below.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art. Photograph by Takeru Koroda.

 


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