One of Japan's most popular art museums, the round 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 2004 in downtown Kanazawa, Japan. It exhibits the work of acclaimed contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world. The museum is located in the center of Kanazawa, one of the nation’s historical centers, on the north coast of Japan. Circular in form, with a diameter of 112.5 meters, the building has no front or back, leaving it free to be explored from all directions, and has five entrances. The museum received the Golden Lion in the Architecture section of La Biennale di Venezia in 2004. The building includes community gathering spaces, such as a library, lecture hall, and children’s workshop, located on the periphery, and museum spaces in the middle. The exhibition areas comprise numerous galleries with multiple options for division, expansion, or concentration. The galleries are of various proportions and light conditions – from bright daylight through glass ceilings to spaces with no natural light source, their height ranging from 4 to 16 meters. The circulation spaces are designed to make them usable as additional exhibition areas. Four fully glazed internal courtyards, each unique in character, provide ample daylight to the center of the building and a fluent border between community spaces and museum spaces. Here one can become a bit lost, but the layout creates long vistas both within the building (three corridors in one direction and one in the other go straight from edge to edge) and outside, the curved glass wall bringing the garden into the building by day, and the building into the garden by night. At both times of day this is a very rewarding building to visit. Just one year after its opening the Museum marked 1,870,000 visitors.
The collection of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is focused on works produced since 1980 that "propose new values. Artists in the collection are encouraged to produce site-specific installations that become "closely associated with the Kanazawa area." Collection artists include: Francis Alys, Matthew Barney, Tony Cragg, Olafur Eliasson, Leandro Erlich, Isa Genzken, Kojima Hisaya, Gordon Matta Clark, Peter Newman, Carsten Nicolai, Giuseppe Penone,Gerhard Richter, Murayama Ruriko, Hiraki Sawa, Atsuko Tanaka, James Turrell, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Anne Wilson, Suda Yoshihiro, and Pipilotti Rist. On exhibition the tranquil, mundane everyday is suffused with wonder and chaos, tragedy and comedy, melancholy and nothingness. From photography to sculpture to video and more with extraordinary flexibility, Peter Fischli and David Weiss focus intensely on familiar scenes and things, presenting divergent meanings and diversity of interpretation via a combination of meticulous planning and coincidence, throwing into relief the essence of the human condition in works shot through with irony and humor. We hope viewers will enjoy the strange wonder of Fischli/Weiss art, and their encyclopedic worlds suffused with an original, unconventional aesthetic through Saturday December 25, 2010. The museum allows visitors to experience and enjoy the world’s foremost contemporary art. The richly diverse art of our times cuts across genres and transcends barriers of time and space. The museum will serve as an open classroom, providing the optimal environment for children to see, touch, and experience art. As children grow, so will the Museum grow and continue to evolve for generations to come. By providing experiences of such art, the Museum performs as a bridge between the region and the art of the future.