NAVITIME Travel - Japan Travel Guides, Transit Search and Itinerary Planner

Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve surely seen Keith Haring’s kinetic street art somewhere, since his images have spread globally, plastered on shirts, Swatches, and stickers. While Haring’s fame waned in the West following his death in the early 1990s, his socially conscious, positivist art has an outsized following in Japan. Even knowing the local love of Haring, and the prefecture’s newfound reputation as a hotbed of galleries and museums, it’s still a bit surprising to encounter an extensive private collection of Haring’s work in exhibited in a devoted space in Yamanashi.

Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection
  • Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Keith Haring's work grew out of his experience living in New York in the 1980s, a time when there was a surplus of infamous, doomed street artists (naming Richard Hambleton, Kenny Scharf, the AVANT collective, Futura, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Rammellzee is only scratching the surface). Haring broke out of the New York artist stigma and palled around with Madonna and Andy Warhol while traveling the world. Since his death of HIV/AIDS in 1990, Haring's work has been shown in and collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney but the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection is the “only museum in the world to exhibit exclusively the artworks of Keith Haring.”

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    As local boy Nakamura Kazuo built his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, he always had in the back of his mind an experience of seeing Keith Haring’s work in New York in the late-1980s. When his finances permitted, he began to collect pieces from Haring, amassing the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of possibly MoMA, the Whitney, and the late artist’s own foundation. Unlike other artists, there are limited resources to authenticate Haring’s work, and therefore a limited number of pieces universally considered to have been touched by the artist—that makes this collection even more unique.

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    The collection ranges from sketches to sculpture, screenprints to shoes, and even includes a hand-painted motorcycle. Traveling exhibits and recent acquisitions appear from time to time to supplement the permanent collection. Recent pickups for the collection included “Altarpiece: The Life of Christ,” bronze panels covered in gold leaf, representing the life of Jesus, one of nine iterations with the others installed in churches.

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    The Pop Shop lets visitors take home some of the artist’s work, fitting for Haring, since while he was alive, he lent his artwork and name to countless brands and items of merchandise, believing in a proletarian ethic of art for the common man. Stop by the Pop Shop Cafe for a power-up if your energy flags while making your way through the collection.

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    The Atsushi Kitagawara-designed building is a gem in its own right, feeling at home in the Kobuchizawa Art Village complex while standing out against the rugged landscape of Yamanashi. Kobuchizawa was the site of neolithic Jomon Period settlements and Kitagawara aimed to reference in concrete and glass the primitive and angular in his design for the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection building.

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    The Kobuchizawa Art Village is now home to upscale lodging at Yatsugatake Lodge Atelier, the luxury Restaurant Steakhouse Keyspring serving local Koshu beef, and the Hotel Keyforest Hokuto. Designed by Atsushi Kitagawara and once the private home of Nakamura himself, Keyforest Hokuto is one of the finest boutique hotels in the world, with esthetics and design that perfectly compliment the collection.

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    Gritty street art in the hills of Yamanashi: explore the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection

    The Nakamura Keith Haring Collection is a rare treasure, which devotees of the artist travel to from around the world. As Kobuchizawa Art Village has developed, it has become even more of a destination, and nearby, in the shadow of Mount Tateshina, there are a number of luxury onsens and golf courses. It is quite simple to reach the area without a car by taking the Chuo Line out to Kobuchizawa Station and grabbing a taxi to the Art Village. Check the opening hours before you go, as hours change with the season.

    Nakamura Keith Haring Collection
    Address
    Yamanashi Pref. Hokutoshi Kobuchisawachou 10249-7
    Phone
    0551368712
    小淵沢アートヴィレッジリゾートアンドスパ
    Address
    山梨県北杜市小淵沢町10060-341
    Phone
    0551-36-5272
  • Facebookでシェアする
  • Twitterでシェアする

Recommended new articles