As the coronavirus continues to spread, art museums around the world have begun to close temporarily to comply with recommendations from officials and organizations. Institutions in Italy and South Korea closed earlier this week, and now museums in Japan, where there have been over 200 confirmed cases of the virus so far, are following suit. After Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Thursday that the country would close its schools for a month as part of an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, art institutions throughout Japan revealed that they, too, will shutter for the next few weeks.

The Mori Art Museum in Tokyo said on its website that it would remain closed from February 29 to March 13, though that timeframe may be subject to an extension “depending upon the future circumstances.” The Tokyo National Museum and the Kyoto National Museum will both be shuttered until March 16, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo will be closed from February 29 to March 15. Among the other institutions affected by closures are the Nezu Museum in Tokyo, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, and the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei.

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Exterior view of the 2018 Armory

At least one major gallery has also taken action. Blum & Poe has postponed two exhibitions—by Asuka Anastacia Ogawa and Kenny Schachter—at its Tokyo space until further notice. The gallery’s hours have also been temporarily adjusted to Tuesday to Saturday, from 12–4 p.m. ARTnews has reached out to Perrotin to hear whether its Tokyo outpost will experience any closures or scheduling changes.

Tokyo’s National Museum of Western Art, which was preparing for the March 3 opening of a traveling exhibition with 60 works, including Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers (1888), from the National Gallery in London will stay closed from February 29 to March 16. The Art Newspaper reports that pieces on loan from the National Gallery are “temporarily inaccessible” amid the museum closures in Japan. The exhibition “Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London” is scheduled to go on view at the National Museum in Osaka on July 7.

The National Gallery said in a statement that it is “consulting closely with our partners” and “we hope that the exhibition will be able to open on 17 March 2020, or as soon as possible after that. However, everything is dependent on Government advice in this rapidly changing situation.”



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