• To be announced in February 2023.
  • The Art of Giving

  • Onishi Gallery (New York) is delighted to announce the launch of The Art of Giving, a project to support contemporary Japanese decorative arts (kōgei) and promote American and European appreciation of Japanese craft skills.  Endorsed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (Bunkachō) of the Government of Japan, The Art of Giving is building a network of knowledgeable and passionate benefactors who have agreed to collaborate in supporting gifts of contemporary Japanese decorative arts to American and European museums, with an emphasis on work by individuals enjoying the coveted status of “Living National Treasures” (known officially as “Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties”).


    The aim of these gifts is twofold. First, commissions and purchases of new works provide a boost to Japan’s unique hand-manufacturing traditions at a time when, even for “Living National Treasures,” economic pressures, social change, and shifts in taste threaten the very survival of craft skills that have been passed down over many centuries. Confident of this fresh source of financial support from The Art of Giving, the country’s top artists in ceramic, metal, lacquer, textile, glass, wood, bamboo, paper, and other craft media are empowered to sustain their practice, using the finest materials and devoting as much time as is needed to achieve perfect results, while also training the next generation.


    Second, by arranging for carefully curated groups of works to enter the permanent collections of museums in North America and Europe during a period of unprecedented challenge for art institutions, The Art of Giving project stimulates overseas awareness of Japan’s outstanding achievements in the decorative arts. Specialist and generalist curators alike are equipped to enliven their permanent displays and temporary exhibitions, while museum educators have fresh material for their hands-on workshops and programs on Japanese art and culture, global contemporary crafts, and other popular themes. Inspired by this renewed vitality, local museum patrons, in turn, may consider increasing their support for related acquisitions, thus further strengthening the global market for Japanese art.


    One of the early sponsors of The Art of Giving is Mr. Kaoru Hayashi, Founder and Group CEO of Digital Garage, Inc., a leading Tokyo-based IT corporation, who comments: “Artistic creativity knows no borders. I appreciate works from many different cultures, but I’ve found that overseas audiences who focus purely on international contemporary art sometimes find it hard to appreciate the finer points of modern Japanese crafts with their roots in traditional practice. I therefore welcome the launch of The Art of Giving, a network designed to create opportunities for spreading awareness of Japan’s unmatched heritage in overseas museums. As leader of a cutting-edge IT corporation, I’m also excited by the opportunities this program offers for the promotion of Japanese art globally, using the latest digital technology.” Hayashi goes on to note that: “In Europe and especially in the United States it’s taken for granted that public museums are sustained as much by private generosity as they are by the taxpayer, but Japanese philanthropists aren’t yet fully on board with this funding model. As a Japanese collector, I feel it’s my duty to both foster wider understanding of my country’s culture and encourage private generosity toward the museum sector.”


    The first major museum donation through The Art of Giving program was made by Mr. Hayashi to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in March, 2021. The donation included 18 metalwork pieces, with 9 of the works made by Living National Treasures.  Please contact the gallery for further details of the program and the opportunities it offers for sponsorship and global recognition. 














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