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Tokyo collector Kenzo Kuroda opens New York space for contemporary Japanese art

Longhouse Projects wishes to introduce little known Japanese artists to New York - and the world

New York

Kenzo Kuroda, a Tokyo-based art collector and former investment banker, has set up a gallery in New York. The 4,000 sq. ft space, Longhouse Projects, opened last month at 285 Spring Street, Soho. “My goal is to make a space for Japanese artists to introduce themselves. The best way to do that is to make a commercial gallery, and the best place is New York,” Kuroda says.

Kuroda says he will stay behind the scenes and let a recently assembled New York team run the business. The gallery’s director, Keith Varadi, who previously worked at the Peter Blum Gallery in the city, says that the concept is not to work with a roster of artists but to hand-pick artists for each show. “We’re interested in how the work fits into a greater global conversation, a conversation that the artists otherwise might not take part in,” he says.

The first show is of work by Mitsuko Miwa (until 18 May). The 54-year-old artist has had more than a dozen solo exhibitions in cities ranging from Tokyo to Berlin but is little known outside her hometown of Nagoya, Japan. The works in the show range from $3,500 for prints to $45,000 for the artist’s most recent large-scale oil paintings. During the summer, there will be two group exhibitions of international artists, leading up to a solo show of work by the Japanese photographer Takashi Homma in September.

Kuroda has taken a long-term lease on the building, which is owned by the neighbouring Trinity Church. The Brooklyn-based firm GSDO Architects worked with the lighting designer Kugler Ning to renovate the space, installing a recessed lighting scheme to create the luminous effect of a skylight on the ground floor.

The choice of neighbourhood seems fortuitous: in March, the New York City Council approved plans for a rezoning of the Hudson Square area, which will support residential development as well as improvements to the streetscape—changes likely to increase foot traffic on what is now a quiet arm of Spring Street.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tokyo collector opens New York space'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 246 May 2013