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GINZA SIX EDITORS

Fashion, jewelry & watch, lifestyle, beauty, foods…
Unique editors who are familiar with each genre GINZA SIX aimlessly
We spell way of enjoying that we found on foot.

New Possibilities for Living with Art

Taka Kawachi

Ginza Six Editors Vol.24(lifestyle)

To sum up the district of Ginza in a single phrase, I’d say it’s a place with both old and new that’s constantly evolving. In other words, there’s the sense that Ginza quickly takes in the latest from around the country and the world while serving as a home for older established purveyors of Japan’s traditional handicrafts. GINZA SIX exemplifies the character of Ginza itself because it incorporates elements of the latest in art and design to present possibilities for new lifestyles. This is especially true for Ginza Tsutaya Books, occupying a large part of the sixth floor. It takes the “Art is Life” mantra more seriously than probably any bookstore I know.

Ginza Tsutaya Books features more than 60,000 art, design, and fashion titles at any given time. When you walk the aisles of Art Street, as the section is known, with its overwhelming number of art books, you sense for yourself just how serious the bookstore is about art. The interior is like a maze constructed of walls of books on Japanese culture, photography, literature, Western art, Japanese art, fashion, design, architecture, and magazines. Even if you’re not someone who loves art, you’re bound to run into at least one book here that will strike a chord.

The lineup of books is actually a step or two beyond that of bookstores attached to high-end art museums like the Tate Modern in London or the Museum of Modern Art in New York (incidentally, Yoshio Taniguchi, the architect who redesigned the MoMA building in New York, also designed the exterior of GINZA SIX). It goes without saying that the bookstore here is steeped in a charm of authenticity nowhere to be found at online booksellers.

I was happy to see my two-volume series “Art no Iriguchi” on the shelves as well. The two books delve into the characteristics of European and American artists and photographers. The bookstore carries titles on nearly all of the 150 or so people featured in the books, including Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti, Klee, Man Ray, William Kline, and many others. There’s no bookstore such as Ginza Tsutaya Books anywhere else in the world offering books, catalogs, and even out-of-print titles on the artist Cy Twombly, one of the major figures of modern art known for his works of seemingly scrawled letters, lines, and symbols, whose exhibitions at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art and Hara Museum have brought him significant attention.

Did you know an art gallery is located, in the most unassuming of locations, right next to Ginza Tsutaya Books? You’ll find only a modest sign at the entrance that reads, THE CLUB. Like Ginza Tsutaya Books, it’s managed by the Culture Convenience Club (CCC). It can be a bit intimidating for first-timers, but go ahead and open the door: You’ll be surprised by a spacious gallery, featuring art of the rarest sensibility.

THE CLUB holds exhibitions at a pace of four or five times a year. On my visit this time, the event was “DIALOGUE,” a group exhibition of Brazilian artists. Beginning with “LIGHTNESS,” a minimalist work featuring fluorescent lights by Paris-based artists Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain, the gallery is currently showing a number of intelligent works focused on the possibilities of language and the sublimation of language into art. It’s well worth seeing.

THE CLUB shows work one normally doesn’t see in Japan, work not necessarily geared exclusively to modern art fans. Rather, it seeks visitors of keen sensibilities with an interest in fashion and culture. You might say it’s one of the hidden gems of GINZA SIX, a place for casual encounters with authentic art.

I say this laughing, but there’s a place that’s even more intimidating to enter than THE CLUB. That’s LOUNGE SIX, a members-only lounge on the fifth floor, accessible only to special visitors, with an enigmatic exterior of deep black plaster. At the same time, it’s a striking space with a subdued atmosphere reminiscent of the now defunct lobby of the Okura Hotel, which was one of the leading works of modernist Japanese architecture. Designed by New Material Research Laboratory, led by Hiroshi Sugimoto, a key figure at the forefront of the contemporary art world, and by architect Tomoyuki Sakakida, the space is dedicated exclusively to exhibiting Sugimoto’s works, including “Seascapes.”

The final place connected to art I’d like to tell you about is MARK’STYLE GALLERY, on the same floor as LOUNGE SIX and managed by MARK’STYLE TOKYO, which handles “products with style.” This gallery space is established in parallel with the directly managed store. As befits MARK’STYLE TOKYO and its lineup of products, which showcase Japan’s world-renowned quality, the gallery’s much-anticipated exhibitions focus on works not typically encountered at ordinary art galleries.

GINZA SIX strives in various ways to bring you closer to the world of art. From the time it opened in April 2017, Yayoi Kusama’s object d’art has hung from its central atrium, an exhibition now approaching its end. But with the spring comes new art; new works will appear in this space, something we can begin to look forward to today.

editors_kawauchi

Taka Kawachi

Director of Benrido’s overseas business division, and editor. Studied abroad at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco after graduating from high school. Moved to New York, curating and compiling numerous exhibitions and photography collections there, returned to Japan in 2011 after many years in the United States. Published a two-volume series “Art no Iriguchi” (Art Entrance) on art and photography based on his experiences overseas. He’s currently involved in a project at Benrido in Kyoto, an atelier active for 130 years, to promote collotype, a classic photographic technique.
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2018.01.29 improves