Why you should always listen to your mother

Sep 4, 2012 by Hiromi Ogawa

me and my mom, at the Nezu Museum

While I was in Japan this summer, we spent a day in Aoyama and visited the Nezu Museum.  The museum had been closed for several years, but re-opened in late 2009, after a major overhaul by Kengo Kuma.  I hadn't seen it since it re-opened, so I was excited to go, especially since Kuma had recently been selected to design the expansion of the Portland Japanese Garden (his first public North American project).

beauty... and glare

I was busy trying to learn from the building, soaking in the proportions and detail.  I admire Kuma's work and this was my chance to see one up close.  We were walking through the first gallery on the main floor, when my mom remarked, "you know, I love the architecture and all, but I can't see the Buddhist sculptures' beautiful and serene faces when there is glare from behind them."  And she was absolutely right; even though it was striking to see a framed view of the garden beyond, it was making it difficult to see the exhibit inside.  I realized that I was so enamored with the building, that I forgot what the building was for:  to house one of the most extensive and beautiful collections of Asian art and antiquities. My mom, as usual, was right.

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