BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Misako & Rosen — Tokyo, Japan

Redefining the Conversation Around Aesthetics

Jeffrey & Misako. Photo: Mie Morimoto
Jeffrey & Misako. Photo: Mie Morimoto

Japan is a country revered for much: its food culture, sense of aesthetics, and fashion. Sometimes, much to the detriment of the art world says gallerist Jeffrey Rosen of Tokyo's Misako & Rosen. “Food, for instance, in Japan is so incredible that even we as gallerists find ourselves most excited to share restaurant tips. There is an incredibly high standard of living within Japan; this extends to the aesthetic of everyday objects such as product packaging. It is difficult to carve out a place for art within this context. That said, in the absence of pressure, on many different levels, artists are able to develop their practice with care and over time. Although it takes longer for this work to be 'discovered', when it is, there is a tremendous amount of much deserved interest”.

Installation view, Nathan Hylden, “For Now And So”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano
Installation view, Nathan Hylden, “For Now And So”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano
Works by Cristina Tufiño, Lee Lozano and Soshiro Matsubara. Installation view, “Happy Mind: Natural High”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano
Works by Cristina Tufiño, Lee Lozano and Soshiro Matsubara. Installation view, “Happy Mind: Natural High”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano

Jeffrey Rosen and his wife Misako Rosen have both worked for first generation Tokyo galleries since they were very young, with Misako working for Tomio Koyama and Jeffrey for Taka Ishii. He says “Our gallery sensibility was developed during these intense periods of old-fashioned apprenticeships. We have our own particular taste - definitely a product of our generation - but out program is informed by the years working with artists represented by each of the elder galleries and represents a fusion of our wildly disparate sensibilities”. Today the gallery represents twenty-six artists; half from Japan and half from other parts of the world. The duo set out to create a broad program that developed out of a conversation between varying aesthetics, rooted in contemporary Tokyo and abroad. “We favor artists with a modest and literal-minded approach to their practice; also those with a sense of humor”.

Installation view, Erika Verzutti, “Chunk”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano
Installation view, Erika Verzutti, “Chunk”, 2018. Photo: Kei Okano

The gallerist's primary goal is to help develop their artists' careers and, in doing so, to create a relevant exhibition program that resonates at home and in conversation with what's happening culturally around the world. Misako & Rosen have slowly been reintroducing the work of Japanese artist Hisachika Takahashi to the cultural community: “A former assistant to both Lucio Fontana and Robert Rauschenberg, Hisachika is an incredibly important artist in his own right and it's been a real pleasure to see the positive response - particularly from institutions. The American sculptor Vincent Fecteau has been a tremendous influence on the development of our gallery program - we are looking forward to having an opportunity to present his debut exhibition in Japan in 2019”. They will also be partnering with the galleries Lulu (Mexico City), Park View / Paul Soto (Los Angeles), and LambdaLambdaLambda (Kosovo) on a shared exhibition space set to open in Brussels in January of 2019. “We have been working very seriously to develop a commercially viable alternative to the profit-driven art world and this type of collaborative project embodies the result of such efforts”.

Installation view, Margaret Lee, “…Banana in my tailpipe”, 2017. Photo: Kei Okano
Installation view, Margaret Lee, “…Banana in my tailpipe”, 2017. Photo: Kei Okano

For the time being Rosen believes that the Japanese art scene provides a sort of accent to the international art world. “We remain on the periphery but maintain a presence. Those with their ear closely to the ground realize the extent of our growing influence. It is actually quite a comfortable and healthy place to be”.

by Liv Fleischhacker

Liv Fleischhacker is a freelance writer based in Berlin. Her favorite topics include art, design and food.

All images courtesy Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, Japan

More Information on Misako & Rosen

Galleries (40)

Futura Art Gallery — Pietrasanta, Italy

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Gianni Manhattan - Vienna, Austria

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Tiwani Contemporary – London, Great Britain

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Frutta Gallery — Rome, Italy

Understanding Tradition Without Hesitating to Break It

Contemporary Fine Arts – Berlin, Germany

From West to East and Back Again: a Berlin Institution That’s Made Its Mark

Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

Showcasing Figurative Painting With a Side of Communal Spirit

Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

The Parisian gallery creating a home for Japanese artists in the European art market.

Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

Throwing a Spotlight on Local Artists

Vane – Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain

The Not-for-profit Space Offering Context And Critique In Newcastle

H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

Mastering the Language in the Kosovan Capital

Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

Beyond Budapest’s Baths

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

An autonomous gallery representing both upcoming and well-established artists

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

One of the most cutting-edge galleries in Berlin

Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Doorway to Amsterdam’s Contemporary Art

Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

Three Galleries in One – Oslo’s Most Accessible Space

mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

A Space that Reflects the Artistic Discipline

V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

Challenging the Boundaries of Art

Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

Celebrating contemporary art in all its multi-faceted forms

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names