Houston native making mark on Tokyo’s art scene

Houston man making his mark on the Tokyo art scene
Houston man making his mark on the Tokyo art scene

Tokyo – When you step into one particular gallery in the Otsuka neighborhood of Tokyo, you will feel a little bit of Houston.

The Misako and Rosen Art Gallery is owned and operated by Houston-native Jeffrey Rosen and his wife Misako.

“My art education began in the Museum District,” said Rosen.

He grew up in southwest Houston and West University, but has called Tokyo home for the past 20 years. The couple has owned the gallery for the past 15. It is small by western standards, but in the world’s most populous city there is a reason for that.

“People are very creative with how they deal with small spaces and they’re just tolerant of that,” he said. “That’s what people expect out of space.”

Rosen is helping spearhead the emergence of artist-run spaces in this classic, 60s-style residential neighborhood. The Japanese art world is not as robust as the markets in the U.S. and Europe. Rosen and his wife are helping Tokyo artists have space for expression.

“People can visit us and then we can send them to an office-run space,” Rosen said. “We can send them to another artist-run space and we kind of form a community within this part of Tokyo.”

The connection extends from Tokyo across the world. He and his wife represent nearly 30 local and international artists by organizing exhibitions and creating a dialogue between them. The efforts also extend to Rosen’s native in Houston.

“These are two cities which have really important and interesting contemporary art institutions,” said Rosen. “A lot of private support for contemporary.”

Rosen says there has been a silver lining to the pandemic here in Tokyo. He says the number of visitors to his gallery actually increased as people were actively searching to engage in art.


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