The World Is a Museum at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field
The Echigo-Tsumari Art Field is an innovative project based in Niigata Prefecture that seeks to change the way people interact with art and nature. The Art Field is not simply an outdoor museum; rather, around 160 pieces created by artists from all over the world are scattered throughout 200 villages over an area of 760 square kilometers. While this may sound inconvenient, this is part of the project’s mission of getting people to experience art with all five senses.
mudmen Jiro Ogawa / Ogawa Laboratory, Nippon Institute of Technology
The Tokamachi area specializes in agriculture and textile production. Tokamachi is also home to some of Japan’s oldest artifacts ever since an archeological dig discovered 4,500-year-old earthenware pots. This area was chosen for the project because of its beautiful natural setting and to preserve a piece of Japan’s cultural heritage that was fading due to a dwindling population. The Art Field includes a wide range of ways to experience the art on display, with the project’s main goal is to have people reassess how they interact with the environment and to instill a deeper appreciation of nature in visitors to the region.
Café Reflet, Jean-Luc Vilmouth
The Matsudai Center is located at the edge of Matsudai village. The building is supported by legs that lift it off the ground to prevent snow from accumulating in the winter and to provide a shady space in the summer. The building, designed by award-winning architectural firm MVRDV, is a space for people to enjoy the works displayed throughout the grounds or simply sit and enjoy the serene setting. Admission is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for children, and it’s closed on Wednesdays.
Phlogiston, Koji Yamamoto
The Art Field also includes more traditional museums, such as the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, Kinare. The museum is home to many permanent exhibits and also hosts traveling exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check out their website to see the schedule. The museum’s many installations and sculptures are quite interesting and unexpected in this sleepy area. Admission to the Kinare Museum is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for children, and it’s closed on Wednesdays.
House of Light, James Turrell
If you’re traveling through the area, why not treat yourself to some unique accommodations? The House of Light was designed by American artist and MacArthur fellow James Turrell, who has become renowned for his ability to use light as an artistic medium.
House of Light, James Turrell
The house is meant to be a shared space for up to three families and features communal living spaces to encourage communication. By staying in the House of Light, you’re actually functioning as part of the installation itself. If you don’t want to spend the night here, you can also visit between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for an admission fee of 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.
Hachi & Seizo Tashima, Museum of Picture Book Art, Seizo Tashima
Lastly, Ehon to Kinomi is the brainchild of illustrator Seizo Tashima. The Hachi and Seizo Tashima Museum of Picture Book Art is built inside an abandoned school. Large wooden sculptures depicting scenes from Tashima’s books can be found throughout the school grounds. Each room in the school has been remodeled with a different theme, such as a “picture book room” and “a room with grass.” The first floor of the museum is home to the Hachi Cafe, which serves dishes inspired by Spanish cuisine. This museum is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and admission is 800 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.
The Rice Field, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov
All the places mentioned above are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted. For more on the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, please check out the second article in this series to learn about some great outdoor excursions during your trip to the exhibits.
During the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale2018, July 29 through September 17, business hours and fees are different from normal times.For more information, please visit our website.