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Tokyo finds a home for 'raw' art

Contemporary work by the self-taught gains recognition on Japan's gallery scene

Brut force: Dinosaurs, old sailing ships, historical costumed figures, giant snakes and chunky robotic characters fill Yuichiro Ukai's 2020 work, "Ship." Ink and colored pencil on cardboard. (Photo by Social Welfare Corporation Yamanami/Atelier Yamanami)

TOKYO -- Art brut (raw art), a genre that in recent years has exerted increasing influence on many trained contemporary artists, has found a new home at the Tokyo Shibuya Koen-dori Gallery, a nonprofit space sponsored by the Japanese capital region's government through its Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.

The gallery, which is managed in collaboration with curatorial specialists from Tokyo's Museum of Contemporary Art, was inaugurated earlier this year, but its programming was interrupted by the coronavirus stay-at-home period. Now, once again open and active, and easily found near Shibuya Station in one of Tokyo's most popular shopping-and-entertainment districts, it is offering an exhibition featuring works by 18 artists, which is on view through Dec. 6.

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