Tottori Art Museum Spends Nearly 300 Million Yen on Cardboard Box Art, Gets Mixed Reactions


It’s art, but some wonder if it’s worth it.

Tottori Prefecture plans to open a new government-funded art museum in the spring of 2025. They are already curating pieces for display, but a recent addition has made heads spin and tilt. In preparation for its opening, planners purchased a group of original Andy Warhol parts for nearly 300 million yen ($2,046,315).

▼ Parts are shown in the video below.

The set in question is Brillo Boxes, a collection of five empty copies of Brillo’s box, originally made in 1964. According to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s explanation, the piece is intended to both imitate life and cause others to question question what we consider to be art. The copies that will be exhibited at the Tottori Museum date from 1968 to 1990.

▼ An imagination of the citizens of Tottori seeking the meaning of the box price tags.

A sufficient number of citizens in Tottori Prefecture voiced their opinion that the local government held a public debate to address the concerns. Some discussion participants felt that the coins did not resonate as well with Japanese citizens as they did with Americans, and some questioned why they needed five when one would probably be enough. Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai said the pieces had been carefully chosen by experts in a market where artworks are constantly increasing.

Reactions from chat participants and online commenters included:

“I think we should leave decisions like this to experts like art curators, so I don’t understand what it’s all about. I agree with what the museum promotes and I support its decisions .
“Modern art can be hard to understand, and the price is even harder to understand…Warhol is great, but they should focus more on artists and Tottori’s collections.”
“I think the problem here is not so much with the parts purchased as the fact that we only received an explanation after they had already been purchased.”
“The theme of this piece is ‘consumption’, so it’s oddly appropriate that it cost so much money. Making more of a fuss will get him more press, so keep making a fuss!”

Regardless of the argument, the coins have been purchased, so now all citizens can do is wait to see if they have the desired effect.

Sources: New Going through Yahoo! Japan News, NHK, Twitter, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Top picture: Pakutaso
Insert picture: Pakutaso
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