Director’s Desk: Dispatches From Japan

Teshima Museum

Here, a long-looking interlude in Teshima Art Museum collaboration between architect Ryue Nishizawa and artist Rei Naito.

Hard to believe it’s been over a month since we took a Phillips trip to Japan as part of our travel program. Over the course of a week and a half, we traveled to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kurashiki, Naoshima, and Takamatsu. Here are a few snapshots of the people, places, and studios we visited.

Benesse Museum Naoshima

Wonderful view from the Benesse House Museum designed by Tadao Ando on the island of Naoshima.

Dorothy and Gormley on Naoshima

In the elegant Benesse House Hotel. Makes me think back to the great Antony Gormley installation here at the Phillips in 2012.

2015TPCinJapan_TUA Studio Visit with artist James Jack1

Enjoying a studio visit with artist and professor James Jack at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai). The pigments of each of these squares is composed with one dirt sample collected from various sites at which the artist has lived.

Kiyomizu Temple Kyoto_side by side

Our trip also embraced the traditional arts if Japan. We visited the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto where the serene garden made me think of the Impressionists’ deep love of all things Japonisme.

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

We learned a lot from the Shinto priest who accompanied us on our visit to the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo.

2015TPCinJapan_DK and Mr.Ohara outside Ohara  Museum in Kurashiki

Meeting Mr.Ohara outside the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki.


I adored this gorgeous work by Hiroshi Sugimoto that the artist showed our group. It is an interpretation of a historically important screen, a national treasure.

Cinto in Seattle

Phillips staff have been known to encounter reminders of home while traveling, and it seems I’m no exception. Last week I ventured to  Seattle for the Museum Computer Network annual conference where I presented with colleagues from the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Van Gogh Museum about home movie and photo contests we created for Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard at our three venues. On the morning I was to return, I couldn’t resist getting up early for a pre-flight pilgrimage to the Olympic Sculpture Park, hoping to experience works that have long fascinated me from afar like Mark Dion’s living, breathing ecosystem, Neukom Vivarium (2004-06).

How could I forget, even after posting about it in this space just six months ago, that our own Intersections artist Sandra Cinto had recently created an installation at the park? The pavilion, which houses Cinto’s work, wouldn’t open for a few hours (nor would Dion’s Vivarium, sadly) but its walls are made of glass. Peering in, I was delighted to recognize the kindred spirit to Cinto’s One Day, After the Rain, currently on view in the Phillips cafe.

Sandra Cinto's Encontro das Águas (Encounter of Waters) at Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park, overlooking Elliott Bay. Photos: Cecilia Wichmann

Sandra Cinto’s Encontro das Águas (Encounter of Waters) at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park, overlooking Elliott Bay. Photos: Cecilia Wichmann

A few steps further, I discovered a surprise component–Cinto’s swirling waves extended beyond the pavilion’s walls on a monumental canvas hanging over the terrace that looks out over Elliott Bay.

Photo of Sandra Cinto's Encontro das Águas (Encounter of Waters) at Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park

Photo of Seattle's Elliott Bay

Cecilia Wichmann, Publicity and Marketing Manager