The Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills is quite popular with world-class exhibitions and contemporary art. At the time we went, there was a great 'Universe and Art' exhibit going on that we were interested in checking out. If you are a fan of space, astronomy, astronauts, aliens, Galileo, Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, or teamLab, than this is a must-see exhibit. Since we were staying at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, we had to visit because the art museum was a short 5-minute walk from our hotel. If you're staying at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, you can actually walk to this museum without even going outside because of its indoor path from the hotel to the museum.
The museum opens at 10 AM and we arrived 15 minutes early to be first in line. To our surprise, there was already a huge line and this was on a Friday morning. Not a big deal since Japan is notorious for long lines in the big city. The line moved fast and we had our tickets within 10 minutes. It turned out that most of the people in line were there to see one of the newest exhibitions: Marie-Antoinette, a Queen in Versailles.
The Universe and Art exhibit looks back at humankind's continuing exploration of the universe from the perspective of art history and cultural history. It's divided into four sections :
How Have Humans through the Ages Viewed the Universe
The Universe as Space-Time
A New View of Life - Do Aliens Exist?
Space Travel and the Future of Humanity
What we liked most about this museum was the interactive audio and visual rooms that made it a really fun experience. The first room we entered was called 'Brilliant Noise'. It's a multi-channel installation by artists' duo Semiconductor. The room takes you through a journey into the depths of solar astronomy and experience the unseen moments of the Sun with sound interpretations of space. It was a little freaky and eerie, but very intriguing. It felt like we were watching the creepy videotape from 'The Ring' on huge screens all around us.
The rest of the exhibit had artworks and materials by Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci and more. To see actual materials written by these great polymaths and artists were remarkable. Seeing the Codex Atlanticus on display was very impressive.
Halfway through the exhibit, we came upon this sculpture called "The Rookie" by Patricia Piccinini. It was the most disturbing art piece in the museum, but we just couldn't stop staring at it. Crystal was so taken by it that she even bought a souvenir notebook with this thing on the cover. We did a little more research on Patricia Piccinini later on and found that she has made even more provocative sculptures in her career. She got our attention for sure.
The highlight of this museum for us was the teamLab exhibition called "Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well, Blossoming on Collision - Light in Space, 2016". Yes, that's a super long title! We couldn't get enough of this installation and went in the room a total of three times. The third time we went, we had the room all to ourselves and it was the most magical experience.
You're in a room with video projected on all the walls, even the ceiling and the floor, so you feel like you're actually moving through space. The music that plays with the video is very moving and you feel like you've transported into this beautiful world. If you're ever near a teamLab exhibit, you need to go and experience this for yourself. We can't wait to check out another teamLab exhibition.
Once we were done with the exhibit, we stopped by the gift store and made a couple purchases for memories (or nightmares with "The Rookie"). You can also pay an extra 500 yen to go up to the Tokyo City View observation deck, but since our hotel had a pretty decent view of the city, we didn't feel the need to go up there. I hear that if you go at night, it's a stunning view. The museum is open until 10 PM, so it would be a fantastic evening viewing all the pretty lights Tokyo has to offer at night.
As we were leaving the museum, we saw that the line to enter the museum was getting crazy, so we were glad we went first thing in the morning.
The Universe and Art exhibit will be presented at the Mori Art Museum until January 9, 2017, so if you're visiting Japan in the next month or so, make sure you check it out.