Edan Corkill outlines the re-birth of the art world in Japan as a product of the prosperity of the 21st Century. The Japan Times story braces readers to get ready for another wholesale abolition of arts funding from public and private sources as occurred after 1990:
The Japanese art world at the outset of the 21st century resembled a kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland — with the “apocalypse” being the bursting of the bubble economy that occurred in the early 1990s.
And yet an interesting thing happened this decade as the economy recovered (the Nikkei went from 7,600 points in 2003 to over 18,000 by 2007). Almost everything that had disappeared as the money had dried up in the nineties came back as the money returned in the noughties.
Consider the case of private art museums. In 1999, what had for decades been the premier private venue for modern and avant-garde art, the Sezon Museum of Art, closed its doors for good, as the fortunes of its parent, the Seibu department store, declined.
Come 2003, however, and a brand new type of private museum arrived on the scene. The Mori Art Museum, which opened within Mori Building’s Roppongi Hills project, demonstrated how an art museum could both bestow cultural street-cred and add value to a retail/office/residential development.
The inclusion of the Suntory Museum of Art and 21_21 Design Sight within Mitsui Fudosan’s Midtown development at Roppongi repeated the pattern, and Mitsubishi Estate’s addition of the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum within their new development at Marunouchi, Tokyo, which opens early next year, will be the third prominent example.
Crunch time for all these facilities will come in fiscal 2010 — when the aftershocks of the global financial crisis are likely to reverberate through to their annual operating allowances.
Art World Fortunes Linked to the Noughty Economy (Japan Times)