The Financial Times reports on the recently closed art fair in Tokyo where Japanese are finally beginning to buy their own art:
Art Fair Tokyo, whose fifth edition ran from April 2-4, and included 138 exhibitors this year, sold about Y1bn (approximately £7m) worth of art and antiques last year. Not a grand amount by world standards, although thousands attended, paying Y1,500 for the privilege. But there, for the most part, their investment ended. The country, it seems, suffers from a window-shopping mentality that has been hard to snuff out. Worse still, Japanese art fairs are largely ignored by foreigner buyers, save a smattering from neighbouring countries.[…]
But there are changes afoot. Compared to previous years, Art Fair Tokyo’s booth layouts have improved greatly, and there are more solo or two-person exhibitions among the contemporary sections. This year there were also fewer predictable entries mimicking Japan’s popular “super-flat” style and Manga/anime-led new works. There were more neo-Japanese type contemporary works, represented best by Tenmyouya Hisashi and his street-yoof-go-Samurai style. Grotesque, hyper-miniaturist paintings were also a noticeable trend, and more effort was put into promoting new galleries of contemporary art under the banner of a section entitled “Projects”. Sales, according to the organizers, were up for contemporary art at least. One notable large sale was Yoshitomo Nara’s “Naughty Girl” at Y80m (about £560,000).
Pace of Art-Buying in Japan Picks Up (FInancial Times)