A slow Saturday, and a tad warmer and more humid than I normally like, but I roused myself enough to head out to a nearby museum in the neighboring suburb of Fuchu city. It's your basic modern but unremarkable museum space you can find in mid-sized and suburban civic centers worldwide, and in this case the place -- the Fuchu Art Museum -- was hosting a traveling exhibition from the U.S. that was closing the next day.4
The exhibition, called "Picturing America: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art", displayed 46 examples of modern American art from some the heavy hitters of the last 100 years, including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Thomas Hart Benton, Jackson Pollock, and (what got my attention in the first place, since an example is reproduced on the exhibition poster) Edward Hopper. Apparently this is one stop on a multi-city Japanese tour organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art). If you're in Japan and want to see it, it's traveling up to Kanazawa next week, and then onto Kitakyushu and Fukushima.
I'm not a fine-arts connoisseur by any means (shoot me, I generally like my art representational), it seemed obvious that I should check it out: living in Tokyo, it would be a waste not to take advantage of all the world-class art exhibitions that come through town or are available to residents. And, thanks to the Tokyo Art Beat website, I can keep track of art events (broadly defined: I do love looking at architecture and photography) that are in the area or will be soon. I missed going to the Whitney when I was in New York City a few months ago, so if they come to my backyard who am I to say no? And in such a small and uncrowded space (unlike the madhouse of the traveling MoMA show a few years ago, which came through Tokyo with some of MoMA's Greatest Hits while their building was being rebuilt), it was a very relaxing and low-key way of looking at some art.
One thing I've discovered about looking at art in museums is that it gives you the opportunity to examine a quality completely missing from posters: namely, texture. Standing a few feet away, you can see the brush strokes and the thickness / thinness of the paint, and see how the artists achieve their effects. That's not something you can ever get from a computer monitor, and as long as I live in a global city like Tokyo that gives me the chance to see these sorts of things I'd be a fool not to take advantage of it.