Since its opening in 2005, Onishi Gallery has featured contemporary Japanese artists who work in a range of media, including ceramics, metalwork, lacquer, glass, sculpture and painting. These artists are united in their common embrace of tradition in the creative process, and they are distinct in their exquisite and diverse modes of expression. Onishi Gallery merges the past with the present through the presentation of historically rich explorations of traditional art forms and ambitions experimentations in new formats in the center of the international contemporary art scene in Chelsea, New York City.
The Japanese Government has designated several artists that Onishi Gallery represents as Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties, more commonly known as “Living National Treasures.” The Minister of Culture considers locality, tradition and the perpetuation of historic techniques when awarding this title to artists. Once an artist is recognized as a Living National Treasure, their profile publicized on a national and global level, dramatically increasing the value of their work. Many of these artists have works that are included in the permanent collections of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Worcester Museum of Art. The system aims to not only celebrate and preserve the historic artistic traditions of Japan, but challenge living artists to continuously improve and incorporate their own individual style while still mastering their craft.
Nana OnishiOwner and DirectorNana Onishi graduated from Kanazawa College of Art, one of Japan’s most prestigious art colleges, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Pratt Institute in New York City. She worked as a curator in Japan, Italy, and New York before opening her own gallery, where she has developed a unique focus that caters to art collectors and Museums. Onishi opened her own gallery in Chelsea, New York City in 2005 with a mission to introduce leading Japanese artists like “Living National Treasures” to international collectors and museums. As a gallerist, Onishi's philosophy embraces her Japanese roots and merges them with her passion for international contemporary art. Through her gallery exhibitions and special projects, she builds a bridge between Japan and the United States, circulating art and artists in both countries. In 2009, she was featured in Newsweek, Japan as one of the "Top 100 Japanese that the World Respects."