Now, it's time to play

“Playing”—the theme of an exhibition scheduled for summer vacation time at MOT this year. “Stop playing! You need to~ !” we are told. Always, the need to “study” or “work” or “help out” interrupts our play time. Playing, it follows, is frivolous and counterproductive to a practical everyday living. But there is another side—playing, by helping us escape routine thinking, offers valuable chances to get new ideas and discover new values.
This exhibition features artworks fun for both children and adults created by six artists and artist-teams. Experiences of all kinds await you in the gallery: artworks you can touch and artworks you can participate in like playing a game. This being a contemporary art museum, however, there is more to it than simply mindless fun.
Playing promotes ease and flexibility, as when someone says, “Give play to the steering wheel.” You cannot drive your car comfortably if clenching the wheel tightly all the time. Similarly, we often restrain ourselves, thinking “I have to be the same as others” or “I’m not allowed to fail,” with result that life becomes suffocating.
The richly playful artworks of this exhibition will humorously loosen such restraints. The stimulation they give to our curiosity and sense of mischief—or feelings of wanting to do something different—is a rich source of creative energy, full of hints for living in times of rapid change.


1. Playing in participatory artworks
The gallery will be filled with participatory works, fun for children and adults, having elements of play or game-participation. Go inside huge artworks, try to hit the target, and paint and craft . . . In some cases, the traces of your playing will remain part of the work. The door to enjoying art is to wonder, “What is this?”

2. Playing together with artists
An array of related events—chances to see inside the artist’s playful heart! The artists themselves will lead events of wide-ranging character, from hilarious performances to absorbing workshops. By holding them in various sites in the museum, visitors will be encouraged to explore our newly renovated museum.

3. Playing and taking photographs
Visitors can freely take photographs at this exhibition. Sprawling, mazelike art installations present terrific photo opportunities! Take commemorative photos with friends.
※ Photography will be subject to conditions: do not use video or photograph other visitors. Do not use flash lighting, tripods, selfie sticks or devices that may disturb others.

Participating artists

Yoshiaki Kaihatsu
Taking everyday scenes and events and communication with people as his subjects, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu creates installations and holds performances and workshops. In the first exhibition room, an immense wall of cabinets will loom—the Kaihatsu work Examination Wall expressing the high-pressure competition of entrance examinations.

Kazuhiro Nomura
An earring, a woman’s shoe—things that are one of an incomplete pair. Buttons that came off clothing. As his motifs, Kazuhiro Nomura examines everyday items that have lost their function. This time, Nomura will display Altar of Laughter, a participatory artwork in which visitors toss buttons at a pedestal. Buttons successfully landed mean “success.” The “failed” buttons of all colors remain scattered on the floor. As they pile up, they form an ephemeral, ever-changing painting.

team Hamburg
team Hamburg is an ONLINE MEETING GROUP currently formed of a 13-person team + Burg AI and FM Burg Radio. With SNS group chat as a playground, they draw infinite keywords out of seemingly incoherent dialogue, enjoying the fun of misunderstanding while repeatedly editing and destroying content, and developing it in artworks.

Tanotaiga actively explores social systems and values in artworks that examine the power possessed by symbols and media around us in daily life. This time, Tanotaiga will display a participatory work, Tanonymous. Covering entire walls is an array of masks based on the artist’s face. The uniformly expressionless masks gradually take on diversity as visitors whimsically decorate them.

Formed in 2006, TOLTA is a verbal art unit creating installations and performances around the concept of “words.” In Cube the Positive Curse, visitors freely combine building-block cubes inscribed with words and create strange sentences. This time TOLTA will display an updated version along with new works.

Usio produces artworks using game rules and devices, words, images, and narratives based on a method of recomposing. This time Usio will display a new installation inspired by games having a selection of possible endings. At every junction, new experiences interweaving daily life, playing, and art await visitors.

  • Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, Examination Wall, reproduction of 2016,
    Installation view at Ichihara Lakeside Museum
    Photo: Yoshiaki Kaihatsu

  • Kazuhiro Nomura, Altar of Laughter,
    Exhibition view: “Waiting for spring -Towards a landscape changing color-” 2015, Towada Art Center Aomori
    Photo: Kuniya Oyamada

  • team Hamburg, Image drawing for new work by Jim’Old

  • Tanotaiga, Tanonymous, 2007
    Installation view at sendai mediatheque

  • TOLTA, Cube the Positive Curse, 2016
    Exhibition view “Gallery Voltaire”
    Photo: Mito Ikeda
    ©SPIRAL/Wacoal Art Center

  • Usio, Drawing for Things Just Don't Turn out the Way You Picture



Sat. 20 July – Sun. 20 October, 2019


Mondays(12 August, 16 & 23 September, 14 October will be open) and 13 August, 17 & 24 September, 15 October

Opening Hours

Summer Night Museum; On Fridays in July & August (26 July, 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 August) we will be open until 21:00.


Adults 1200yen(960 yen) / College & University Students & Adults over 65 850yen(680 yen) / High school & Junior High School 600yen(480 yen) / Elementary School students& Under: Free
*( ) Price for a group, over 20 people

Summer Night Museum discount price(Students : Free / Adults 960 yen / Adults over 65 680yen)


Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Exhibition Gallery 1F /3F(room B)

Organized by

Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture , Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Supported by

The Kao Foundation for Arts and Sciences

In collaboration with

Koala Mattress


Related Programs

Yoshiaki Kaihatsu “Kiba’s Lazy Panda”
Kaihatsu becomes a Lazy Panda and wanders around in the museum. If you meet him, you’re lucky!
Date/time: Irregular appearances, dependent on the panda’s mood.

Usio “Let’s invent a way to play! micro:bit ideathon”
Visitors will experience the basic actions of small-scale computer micro:bit and programming, and use them to develop new ways of playing.
Date/time: Jul 28 (Sun) 10:00-12:30
Participants: Elementary school age (3rd-grade and older w/ guardians) and older
Capacity: 15 (pre-application required; order of arrival)
What to bring: lap-top computer (rental possible: \1,000)

Tanotaiga “Tanonymous Workshop”
Tour & workshop: tour the museum and take commemorative photos wearing a Tanonymous mask.
Date/time: Aug 25 (Sun) 15:00–16:00
Participants: Elementary school age (w/ guardian) and older
Capacity: 15 (pre-application required; order of arrival) *Exhibition ticket required

Kazuhiro Nomura Talk & Performance
A talk & performance expressing the artist’s thinking about his artworks and art in general.
Date/time: Sep 15 (Sun)
13:00-13:10 “About My Work, Oldness and Immaturity”
15:00-15:10 “Red body”

TOLTA “Places Beyond the Universe”
Poetry reading and performance by TOLTA members.
Date/time: Sep 28 (Sat) 15:00-16:00
Capacity: 30 (Order of arrival) *Exhibition ticket required

Lecture on playing for adults “Play x Work” (Lecture)
Date/time: Aug 23 (Fri) 19:00-20:00
Lecturer: Yasuhiro Hattori (Business Scholar)
Capacity: 200 (Order of arrival) *Sign language interpretation

Lecture on playing for adults “Play x Art History” (Lecture)
Date/time: Sep 29 (Sun) 15:00-17:00
Lecturer: Takuya Nakao (Art critic), Usio (artist)
Capacity: 200 (Order of arrival) *Sign language interpretation
※ For up-to-date details on this and other related events please see our website.
※ Changes in planning are apt to occur.

*Japanese only

Concurrent Exhibition

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Past Exhibitions