The MIHO MUSEUM Chosen as One of the
Best Designs of 1997 by Time Magazine
At the end of each year, the American publication Time Magazine announces its choices of the ten best items from around the world in a variety of categories for that year. These categories include the best movies, music, books, scientific and technological advances, people, scandals, and businesses. In the design category, the MIHO MUSEUM was ranked number two of the best of 1997. Number one was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The third was the New Amsterdam Theater followed by the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Of the ten designs chosen, six were architectural structures and, of these, three were art museums. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, is part of the same institution as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Some have remarked that it looks as if a space ship had landed on the bank of the Nervion River. The Getty Center consists of six buildings that house a vast art collection, a museum, a library, and a research center. The structure, designed by Richard Meier, took fourteen years to complete.
Between these two large and important museums, the MIHO MUSEUM streaked unexpectedly onto the list like a comet. The MIHO MUSEUM's collection first started gaining public acclaim following exhibitions at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that were held over the last two years. But at the time, no one had a clue that a full-fledged museum would appear in Shigaraki.
The museum was designed by the master architect I.M. Pei, known for his many museum designs including the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and Phase I and II of the Grand Louvre, with its celebrated glass pyramid, in Paris. One day an image came to Mr. Pei of a gaping tunnel suddenly opening deep in a range of mountains. After passing through the luminous, silver tunnel, a suspension bridge appeared like a rainbow leading into the green mountain slopes. From between the mountains' ridges, all that could be seen were a glistening roof line and a small round entrance. But after climbing some stairs to the entrance and passing through it, suddenly the interior opened to an expanse of soft limestone bathed in glistening light and a vista of green mountains spread out before his eyes.
The design of the MIHO MUSEUM recalls the paradise that a lost fisherman discovered through an opening at the far end of a cave in the Chinese classic story, "Peach Blossom Spring" by Tao Yuan Ming, or it might resemble the ethereal images that are depicted in an idealized landscape painting of fields and mountains. I. M. Pei, though based in the United States, has not lost touch with the rich traditions and refinements of his native China. The museum's founders had a passion for art that started with a love of Japanese tea ceremony objects, a passion that grew to encompass art from around the world. Visiting the museum, one senses the harmony of spirit that exists in the architecture, the art, and the landscape and one also recognizes the harmony of vision shared by of the founders and architect that was inspired by "Peach Blossom Spring".
Today, the field of architecture is overflowing with innovations and creativity. That three magnificent museums would open in the same year and meet with general acclaim for their design is cause for joy. The unique and invaluable service that each of these museums will perform for the world of art is keenly anticipated.
MIHO MUSEUM Video Wins Gold Medal
at the New York Festivals
The New York Festivals, an event that recognizes and commends works in a variety of creative media that have deeply impressed viewers, awarded a gold medal to a video documentary about the MIHO MUSEUM by Peter Rosen in the "Public Relations-other" category. This category is one of the most important in the event. Approximately 200 works from around the world were considered for this prize, of which only twelve received gold medals.
The MIHO MUSEUM Calendar Awarded
the Ministry for International Trade and
Industry's Prize in the 49th All-National
The All-National Calendar Exhibition has three award divisions: First Division, Best Calendars for Regular Corporation or Printing Company; Second Division, Best Calendars for Sales Promotion, Premium, or Publishing Company; Third Division, Best Calendars for Single Sheet, Small Size, Desktop, Special or Private Calendars. The MIHO MUSEUM calendar was awarded the Grand Prize in the Second Division. Since this marked the first appearance of a MIHO MUSEUM calendar in the exhibition, it was an especially rare honor to be recognized so suddenly as the Ministry of International Trade and Industry's prize. According to Nakamura Katsuhiko of N.C.P Co.,Ltd., who served as one of the judges for the competition, every member of the judging committee voted for the calendar, making it unnecessary to cast a decisive vote in the final selection stage of the competition. The museum structure, the subject of the photographs in the calendar, was very popular among the judges, all of whom expressed a desire to visit the museum in the Spring. In addition, the calendar was exhibited at the International Calendar Exhibition held in Stuttgart, Germany, where it was awarded a silver medal. It also won two prizes in the Kodak Photo Calendar Competition.
TV Stories on the MIHO MUSEUM Aired
on Foreign Networks in January
Features concerning the MIHO MUSEUM were aired on the ZDF (German National Broadcasting Service), the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and on the program "Style with Elsa Klensch" on CNN. The ZDF primarily serves Germany and also is viewed in neighboring countries. It is roughly equivalent to the NHK in Japan. Both BBC and CNN are large broadcasting networks serving the entire world.
FM Radio Programs Sponsored by the
"From a Forest of Beauty" has begun being broadcast on February 7 and willcontinue every Saturday, from 11:55 to 12:00 a.m. E-Radio, 77.0 Mhz. Broadcast area: Shiga, Kyoto, Mie, Gifu, and Osaka in Japn
In this program, originating from the museum, works from the MIHO MUSEUM collection are showcased along with other topics concerning nature and history against a musical background.
Overseas and Domestic Publications
that Have Featured the MIHO MUSEUM
|Overseas||Date of issue|
|ORIENTAL ART||Aug., 1997|
|Connaissance des Arts||(special issue) 1997|
|Engineering News Record||Nov., 3, 1997|
|International Herald Tribune||Nov., 6, 1997|
|The Washington Times||Nov., 9, 1997|
|Sunday Telegraph||Nov., 9, 1997|
|ART Newsletter||Nov., 18, 1997|
|The Japan Times||Nov., 22, 1997|
|Time (International)||Nov., 24, 1997|
|DER SPIEGEL||Nov., 24, 1997|
|Artnet (Internet)||Nov., 26, 1997|
|The Los Angeles Times||Nov., 30, 1997|
|The Washington Post||Nov., 30, 1997|
|Newsweek Asia||Nov., 1997|
|Holland Herald||Nov., 1997|
|The New York Times||Dec., 4, 1997|
|The Seattle Times||Dec., 7, 1997|
|Le Nouvel Observateur||Dec., 17, 1997|
|Far Eastern Economic Review||Dec., 25, 1997|
|Time (International)||Dec., 29, 1997|
|IL GIORNALE DELL'ARTE (Italy)||Dec., 1997|
|Asian Art||Dec., 1997|
|The Art Newspaper||Dec., 1997|
|LE MONDE||Jan., 10, 1998|
|Architecture||Jan., 11, 1998|
|The Independent||Jan., 1998|
|Art & Auction||Jan., 1998|
|Biblical Archaeology Review||Jan., 1998|
|The New York Times||Feb., 5, 1998|
|The New York Post||Feb., 1998|
|Art in America||Feb., 1998|
|Martha Stewart Living (Internet)||Feb., 1998|
|THE ARCHITECTURE REVIEW||Feb., 1998|