Vernissage: Artists in a Cross-Cultural World
In today’s socially and economically globalized world, understanding different cultures is highly important. For
example, since 1993, over 50,000 students from Japan go abroad to study have every year. And news reports
state that large Japanese corporations like Rakuten and Uniqlo are changing their official language to English.
In television, magazines, and other media, as well, both Japanese-speaking foreigners and foreign-language-
speaking Japanese natives are finding a lot of success.
According to research at institutions such as INSEAD and Northwestern University, people who have backgrounds
in different cultures and are exposed to different ways of thinking are more likely to give rise to new ideas and values.
With this in mind, we conducted an art event where we not only encouraged awareness of the importance of diversity
in Japan’s future, but also heard from seven exhibiting artists how a cross-cultural background has influenced them,
and how that influence is expressed in their creations. All of this in hopes of exploring unfamiliar new worlds.
Wine tasting was also a part of this event, as wine is a window to many other cultures. Attendees were served five
wines, all selected by a professional sommelier. Each artist talked about the influence of personal cross-cultural
experience on their work. The wine itself, too, was a topic of discussion: the guests heard stories of its production
and its producers. Wine allowed those interested in art and culture to experience how the product of other countries
actually tastes. We wanted the cosmopolitan theme of the exhibition to be experienced with all five senses, and wine
helped us achieve that goal.
What we hope is that visitors to these exhibitions felt fulfilled; that they saw others’ points of view; that they took in the
many different ways that art is expressed, and that all of this encouraged new thoughts and fresh ideas.
This party was modeled on the French salon, and attempted to recreate the opening night vernissage of a Parisian
art exhibition. We hope that attendees experienced the worlds that the art introduced and what the art expressed while
enjoying wine in a formal setting. This, we believe, may help attendees garner a better understanding of the artists’
messages and the cultures represented therein. We hope to continue holding similar events in the future.