Japanese dreams: Kurokawa Kishō’s annex to the Van Gogh Museum and its later re-appropriation

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This paper traces the history of a Japanese-funded annex to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam over the past twenty-five years. The analysis focuses on three key years in the building’s history: 1991, 1999, and 2015. Critically examining public debate and media coverage of the building in contemporary Dutch- and Japanese-language sources, I argue that changing claims and public perceptions of Japan reflected the country’s shifting economic fortunes and international position during the period. The sources consistently framed the Japanese-designed building within a language of dreams. However, the dreams gradually transformed from desires and nostalgic projections to sleepiness and inactivity. Japan, and the annex as its symbolic embodiment, remained a ‘place of dreams’, but the nature of those ‘dreams’ changed dramatically over the period studied.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMuseum History Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)76-93
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2018

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Architecture, Europe, globalization, Japan, Japonisme, museum, public debate, Vincent van Gogh

ID: 188690974