Looking back on twenty years of art in Japan

Since the bursting of the economic bubble in 1990, the circumstances surrounding museums and contemporary art in Japan have changed dramatically. These two decades have witnessed the establishment of the nation's first specialist museums of contemporary art, enhanced cultural exchange with Asia, a boom in biennales and triennales, an increase in the number of women becoming curators, the emergence of a new and energetic generation of art dealers, the utilisation of art in urban and rural revival projects, the birth of non-profit organisations and also a dramatic increase in art outreach projects that go beyond the conventional format of the exhibition. At the same time as concepts such as 'superflat’ and ‘micropop’, and the Japanese notion of ‘kawaii’ (cute) have become known around the world, there has been a concerted reappraisal of the art of the 1960s and 1970s and artists have diversified their practices resulting in increased interplay between art and other forms of expression.

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