Tokyo – Entering a certain gallery in the Otsuka neighborhood of Tokyo will make you feel a bit like Houston.
The Misako and Rosen Art Gallery is owned and operated by Houston-based Jeffrey Rosen and his wife Misako.
“My art education began in the museum district,” says Rosen.
He grew up in southwest Houston and at West University, but has lived in Tokyo for 20 years. The couple has owned the gallery for 15 years. It’s small by western standards, but in the world’s most populous city there is a reason.
“People are very creative with small spaces and they are just tolerant,” he said. “That’s what people from space expect.”
Rosen is helping to drive the creation of artist-run spaces in this classic 1960s-style residential area. The Japanese art world is not as robust as the US and European markets. Rosen and his wife help artists in Tokyo create space for their expression.
“People can visit us and then we can send them to an office-run room,” said Rosen. “We can send them to another artist-run room and form a kind of community in this part of Tokyo.”
The connection extends from Tokyo all over the world. He and his wife represent nearly 30 local and international artists by organizing exhibitions and creating a dialogue between them. The effort extends to Rosen’s home in Houston.
“These are two cities with really important and interesting contemporary art institutions,” said Rosen. “Lots of private support for contemporary.”
Rosen says there has been a silver lining to the pandemic here in Tokyo. He says that the number of visitors to his gallery actually increased as people actively searched for art.
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