Art Space Tokyo

An intimate guide to the Tokyo art world

Ashley Rawlings & Craig Mod

Art Space Tokyo

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Art Space Tokyo (2010) is a unique, in-depth guidebook featuring interviews with key figures in the Japanese art scene. Centered on twelve of Tokyo's most architecturally and historically distinctive galleries and museums, it provides readers with an intimate look at the stories behind these art spaces. 

Art Space Tokyo was one of the first crowdfunded books on the Kickstarter platform. The first edition was produced in 2008 and published by Chin Music Press. The second edition was published in 2010 by Craig Mod. 

Presently, as of April 2021, used copies of AST sell for $200+ on the Japanese market, and $120+ on the US market. Mint used copies of the book were selling for $1000+ a few years back. 

We want these last remaining copies of AST to find good homes in the world. If you are a librarian and would like a copy for your institution, please email craig@specialprojects.jp and I'll send you a code to get a copy for free (shipping not included). 

As of April 2021, Several of the galleries and museums in AST have shuttered. Most recently, the beautiful Hara Museum. Such is the churn of Tokyo. That said, co-author Ashley Rawlings and I feel this book is an important piece of the Tokyo art world's anthropology, and as such retains value as a historical document. 


Book Specs

The book is lovingly designed and produced: its clothbound, two-color silk-screen, foil stamped covers enclose over fifty ink illustrations by artist Nobumasa Takahashi. The neighborhoods surrounding each art space have been meticulously mapped with recommendations for the best food, coffee and sights to enjoy in an afternoon of art viewing.

  • ISBN: 978-0-9845958-0-8
  • 272 Pages
  • 190mm x 130mm
  • Printed and bound in Japan
  • Hardcover, clothbound
  • 2 color silk screen, 1 color foil stamping on case
  • 2 color printing on Japanese papers throughout
  • 50+ ink illustrations
  • 12 detailed neighborhood maps
  • Sewn in bookmark
  • Limited edition of 1,300 copies

About the Book

At the time of its publication in early 2008, Art Space Tokyo was the first serious guidebook to the art scene in Tokyo. Today, it offers historical insight into the mindset of Tokyo’s creative community shortly before several epochal shifts: the arrival of China as a greater force in the Asian art market, the 2008 financial crisis, and the ever-expanding influence of social media on all aspects of culture.

From the original sales copy:

Art Space Tokyo acts as your 272 page personal guide and interpreter, connecting you with the neighborhoods and figures behind some of the most inspiring art spaces in this colossal city.

Each of the featured spaces has been rendered as a striking illustration by Nobumasa Takahashi. The book covers art spaces in neighborhoods such as Ginza, Yanaka, Gaienmae, Omotesando, Harajuku, Roppongi, Asakusa and more. The neighborhood surrounding each art space has been meticulously mapped with recommendations for the best food, coffee and sights to enjoy in an afternoon of art viewing.

 


About the Authors

Ashley Rawlings is a writer specializing in postwar Japanese and Korean art. He co-authored Art Space Tokyowhile living in Tokyo as a postgraduate student and freelance editor between 2005 and 2009. After three years serving as the managing editor of ArtAsiaPacific in New York, he was the director of Blum & Poe in Tokyo from 2012 to 2020. He now lives in Paris where he leads the gallery’s operations in Europe, and is currently writing a biography of the artist Kishio Suga.

Craig Mod is a writer and photographer based in Japan. Since publishing AST in 2010 he has gone on to work as a designer in Silicon Valley, co-author the book Koya Bound (2016) with photographer Dan Rubin in collaboration with Leica Cameras, and author and publish the book Kissa by Kissa (2020). He is a MacDowell, VCCA, and Ragdale writing fellow, and was a lecturer and advisor for the Yale Publishing Course from 2011 to 2019. His essays have appeared in Eater, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, WIRED Magazine (US and Japan), California Sunday Magazine, and elsewhere. Since 2019 he has walked 1,000+km each year throughout Japan.