Contemporary Art Center/Gallery, ART TOWER MITO

Mito Arts Foundation
1-6-8 Goken-cho, Mito-shi, Ibaraki-ken, 310-0063 Japan
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Telephone: +81 29-227-8111 Fax: +81 29-227-8130
E-mail address:

X-COLOR/Graffiti in Japan Exhibition

Oct. 1 (Sat) to Dec. 4 (Sun), 2005

Closed on Mondays (except for Oct. 10, National Holiday; Oct. 11, is taken off instead.)

Hip-hop, which emerged on the streets of New York in the 1970s, and which consists of DJ, MC, break dance, and graffiti, gave shape to a new youth culture. Graffiti at that time involved the act of drawing pictures or words in subways or on buildings using color spray, and was used as a means to oppose the expanding rich-poor gap, discrimination, and authority. At the same time, it also gave rise to such prominent artists as Basquiat and Keith Haring. Afterwards, in the blink of an eye, it quickly sprang up in cities across the world, and each city saw the development of its unique form of the art. That situation persists today.

The X-COLOR/Graffiti in Japan Exhibition at the Art Tower Mito is the first large-scale exhibition in Japan to introduce domestic graffiti culture. Besides introducing the work of 38 graffiti artists active across the land, the exhibition also displays photographs and shows videos describing the history of graffiti from its first appearance down to the current day. Also exhibited are the relationships of graffiti with hip hop, skateboarding, and other forms of street culture.

People still have strong opinions about graffiti - for or against it -- as a form of expression, but please use this opportunity to observe this rich, diverse world.

Featured Artists















Description of Exhibition: X-COLOR/Graffiti in Japan

Oct. 1 (Sat) to Dec. 4 (Sun), 2005
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last entrance at 5:30 p.m.)
Closed: Mondays (except for Oct. 10, National Holiday; Oct. 11 is taken off instead.)
Venue: Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, and the streets of central Mito
Admission: General ¥800
Advance, Groups (20 or more) ¥600
Pupils (through 9th grade) Free
Seniors (65 and older) Free
Certified disabled persons Free
Purchase locations: ATM Entrance Hall Ticket Counter, JR East Midori-no-madoguchi ticket counters and JR View Plaza ticket offices

Year-long Free-Pass
- High-Teen Pass (H.T.P.) for 15- to 19-year olds ¥1,000
- Adult Pass for 20-year-olds and over ¥2,500
Purchase the passes at the ATM Entrance Hall Ticket Counter

Organizer: Mito Arts Foundation
Sponsors: I.T.H. Co., Ltd., Asahi Breweries Ltd., agnès b., SHISEIDO Co., Ltd., CASIO COMPUTER Co., Ltd., MADFOOT, Weiden + Kennedy, Tokyo
Cooperations: Aoi Construction Company, Asahipen corp., AT WORK Co., Ltd., ORB-it, Sanyo Commerce, Co., Ltd., SOUM Corporation, The Daiei, Inc., Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd., Tower Records, Tousui Building, Urban Renaissance Agency, Nowonmedia, Inc., Niimi Industry Co., Ltd., HASEEGAWA, PICADOR, Map¥i Navi, Town Management OrganizationiTMOj
Curator: Kenji Kubota (curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito)
Project cooperation: Iseo Nose, KAZE MAGAZINE

Layout of Exhibition (Contemporary Art Gallery ATM)

Graffiti of Japan

Introduced within the Contemporary Art Gallery ATM are works by 38 graffiti artists active in Japan. The forms of expression include video clips, canvas works, solid figures, and installations.

Skating Experience Space
One of the participating artists will set up a skateboard ramp and a skate board inside the gallery, creating a space whereby visitors can enjoy skateboarding (warning: no skateboarding is allowed in any other area of ATM). Also displayed are photographs illustrating the connection between skateboard culture and graffiti.


History of Graffiti

An introduction to the history of graffiti in New York - where the genre began - through documentary photographs by Martha Cooper, author of "Subway Art," and the drawings of RAMM:ELL:ZEE, the legendary New York MC-graffiti artist.

Graffiti of the World
A photographic introduction to graffiti around the world, as well as a corner for visitors to peruse graffiti magazines from various countries.

What is Hip-hop?
Displayed reference materials outline the history of hip-hop (rap), with a tape mix of a sampled historically important hip-hop pieces from Japan and abroad played as background music.

Exterior Works of Art (on the streets of Mito)

A total of 13 different places within walking distance of ATM will serve as "legal walls" (i.e., building surfaces, etc., for which permission has been received from the owners) to all the participating artists in the ATM exhibition to produce works of art. These include the Tosui Bldg., the former Tawaraya Dept. Store, the Mito Savings & Trust Daiku-machi Branch building, the former Eirinsho (Forestries Bureau), the fence surrounding the construction near the south exit of Mito Station, the parking place behind the Daiei Dept. Store, the back of the Paseo Bldg., the wall under the ATM Tower, and so forth.

Related Events

Opening Events

Oct. 1, 2005 (Sat) 2:00 p.m. (approx. 30 minutes)
Skateboard demonstration by OWN CREW & MYSTERY GUESTS
Oct. 1, 2005 (Sat) 3:00 p.m. (approx. 30 minutes)
Break dance performance by SHUHARI (SDP)
Venue: Inside Contemporary Art Gallery ATM
Admission: Included in the exhibition admission fee.

"Making the X-COLOR" Photo Exhibition by Great-the-Kabukicho
Document photograph exhibition by the photographer Great-the-Kabukicho, who will be closely following the X-COLOR Exhibition and shooting scenes of it.
Oct. 1 (Sat) to Dec. 4 (Sun), 2005
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Venue: 2nd floor, Central Bldg. (five-minute walk from ATM)
Admission: Free

"First Contact"
Saturdays between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 2 (Sun) to Dec. 4 (Sun), 2005
Fee: Included in the exhibition admission.
A hands-on, experiential event for visitors to try out their hand on graffiti for the first time. A corner will be set up in the Workshop Room, supported by agnès b., where people can challenge themselves to draw graffiti using spray paint. Participating artists in the current exhibition will instruct attendees in the skills of spray control. agnès b. will provide protective clothing against the spray paint.

X-Color Exhibition Commemorative Live Shows

- Evening Show (Sun., Oct. 9, 2005)
Details will be announced in the following URL once finalized: KAZE MAGAZINE

- Daytime Show (Mon., Oct. 10, 2005)
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (no cancellation even if raining)
Venue: ATM Plaza (outdoors)
Admission: Free

Joint Symposium: "The Possibilities of Street Expression"
"Yokohama 2005: International Triennale of Contemporary Art" and "X-COLOR/Graffiti in Japan"
The curators and artists of Yokohama 2005 Triennale, an exhibition of international contemporary art held primarily at Yokohama's Yamashita Pier, will join forces with their counterparts at Japan's first major exhibition of domestically produced graffiti, Art Tower Mito's X-Color/Graffiti in Japan, to hold a joint symposium in Yokohama. Despite the different nature of the two projects, they are sure to have a lively discussion of topics related to expression in public spaces, including the problems of regulatory restrictions and getting permission, the relationship between the artist and viewer, as well as between fine art and street culture, etc.
Oct. 29, 2005 (Sat) 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Venue: Former Kanto Financial Bureau (34 Nippon O-dori, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken)
Admission: Free
Capacity: 100 people (no advance applications necessary, first-come, first-served)
Tadashi Kawamata (General director, Artist, Yokohama Triennale 2005)
Takashi Serizawa (Curator, Yokohama 2005: International Triennale of Contemporary Art)
Kenji Kubota (Curator, X-Color/Graffiti in Japan)
Kress (Participating artist, X-Color/Graffiti in Japan)
Iseo Nose (Cooperative planner, X-Color/Graffiti in Japan)
Inquiries: Call Yokohama 2005 Triennale Office at (045) 640-0599

Curator Talk
Kenji Kubota, curator of the current exhibition, will lead visitors around the external works of art and give an explanation.
Nov. 12, 2005 (Sat) 2:30-3:30 p.m. (approx. 1 hour)
Gathering point: ATM Entrance Hall
Fee: Free (admission fee to the exhibition must be paid separately)

X-Color Exhibition Catalog
A catalog of the works exhibited by the 38 participating artists in ATM's X-Color/Graffiti in Japan exhibition, along with a document of the exhibition, will be published by Foil at the end of October (scheduled) as Japan's first full-fledged book on domestic graffiti art.

Document Video of X-Color Exhibition
Weiden + Kennedy Tokyo will cover the exhibition and produce a documentary video.

Shoes Painted with Graffiti
Mad Foot will provide shoes for participating artists to paint upon, and the shoes will then be displayed in the exhibition hall.

Workshop: Kimura Toshiro Jinjin, "Nodate"
"Nodate" refers to a kind of traveling tea ceremony where participants first make their own tea bowls. This is the second time Kimura Toshiro Jinjin has been to Mito since 2000.
Nov. 1 (Tue), Nov. 3 (Thu), Nov. 5 (Sat), 2005
Venue: Various places in Mito City
Inquiries about details: Call ATM Contemporary Art Center at (029) 227-8120

Weekend Gallery Talk
A CAC Gallery Talker will lead viewers through the exhibition and explain interesting points that you might miss otherwise.
Oct. 15 (Sat) to Dec. 4 (Sun), 2005
Saturdays and Sundays, 2:30-3:10 p.m. (approx. 40 minutes)
Fee: Included in the admission fee to the exhibition.
Note: Gallery talks may be cancelled without warning because of unavoidable circumstances.

Stroll through the Art Museum with Your Preschooler
Oct. 21, Nov. 11, 18, 2005 (Fridays) 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Capacity: 6 parent-child pairs (first-come, first-served)
Eligibility: Preschoolers and their parents/guardians
Fee: Free (admission fee to the exhibition is still required for adults)
Application deadline: 10 days before the respective session
Applications & Inquiries: Call ATM Contemporary Art Center at (029) 227-8120

Gallery Talk with Babysitter Service
Mothers with young babies don't always get the chance to enjoy our exhibitions, so we have arranged for a babysitter to come on one day during the period to watch the little ones while the mothers can view the exhibitions more leisurely.
Nov. 17, 2005 (Thu) 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Capacity: 8 people (first-come, first-served)
Babysitter's fee: \500 (per family); admission fee to the exhibition is extra.
Application deadline: Nov. 1, 2005 (Thu)
Applications & inquiries: Call ATM Contemporary Art Center at (029) 227-8120

Workshop: "Let's Make a Forest!" (tentative name)
The artist Haruka Sato will give a workshop for parents and children.
Have loads of fun playing with color on the small pieces of drawing paper.
Nov. 25, 2005 (Fri), times yet undetermined
Venue: Workshop Room inside the Contemporary Art Gallery
Fee: Included in the exhibition admission fee.
Co-sponsor: Child-raising Support Group Penguin Club
Application & inquiries: ATM Contemporary Art Center, TEL (029) 227-8120

Next Exhibition: "Warera no Jidai (Our Age)"
Dec. 17, 2005 (Sat) to Feb. 5, 2006 (Sun)
Planning directors: Eriko Osaka (Chief curator, Contemporary Art Center ATM), Toshihiro Asai (Senior curator, Contemporary Art Gallery ATM), Mizuki Takahashi (Curator, Contemporary Art Gallery ATM)


CRITERIUM 65: Mai Miyake
Dates: Oct. 1 (Sat.) to Dec. 4 (Sun.), 2005
Venue: Room 9, Contemporary Art Gallery, ATM
Planning coordinator: Toshihiro Asai (curator, Contemporary Art Center, ATM)
Fee: Included in the price of admission to the current exhibition
Born in Yokohama, Mai Miyake is drawing attention for her works that "translate" the sensibility and stylishness of the Japanese into a contemporary esprit. Not only does she express her art two-dimensionally, but is also working with Western-style clothes, Japanese-style yukata, and amenity-related goods at convenience stores, thus broadening her sphere of activity.
* The word "criterium" is the Latin word for the Greek "criterion," and means "standard." The Criterium Series at ATM Contemporary Art Gallery aims to introduce the new works of young artists in Japan, and the exhibitions are produced in collaboration with curators from the ATM Contemporary Art Center.

ATM Contemporary Art Gallery's
Pass for Adults
© Hiroko Ichihara
A pass has been designed for adults aged 20 and older, letting the holder make an unlimited number of visits to the Contemporary Art Gallery's exhibitions for one year from the date of purchase.
The price is ¥2,500 The artwork on the pass has been designed by Hiroko Ichihara, an artist who incorporates words in her works. The logo on the pass reads: "Contemporary art -- as easy as pie." The pass is on sale at the ticket counter in Art Tower Mito.

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Translated by Paul T. Narum
(official names of exhibitions and artworks are furnished by the artists and planners themselves)

Copyright ©2005 MITO ARTS FOUNDATION. All Rights Reserved. Created by TK.
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