2-12-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0022
(バー非常口) 東京都新宿区新宿2丁目12-16

8 May (Sunday) 2011, 15:00 ~ 03:00

Theme: Sex

Contributing artists: Yoko Ono, ChimPom, Jack McLean, Beatriz Inglessis, Frederic Aranda, Nogi Sumiko, Elmgreen & Dragset, Robert Waters, Makoto Aida, Benjamin Skepper, Mario A, Vivienne Sato, Louise Bak, Omer Tobi

Performance art: Jack McLean, Nogi Sumiko, Vivienne Sato, Lauren Levitt, Louise Bak

Stage performances: Metro-Ongen, Club Future Future, Cotton Bale, Mistress Maya

DJs: Kaskay, Vivienne Sato

Special thanks to: Taka Ishii Gallery, Mizuma Gallery, Mujin-To Productions and the Canada Council for the Arts


15:00 – Doors open
16:00~18:30 – Performance art by Jack McLean (unannounced)
17.30~19.30 – Performance art by Vivienne Sato (unannounced)
19.00~19.30 – Performance art by Nogi Sumiko
20.00~20.15 – Stage performance by Lauren Levitt
20.30~21.00 – Stage music performance by Club Future Future
21.30~22.15 – Stage music performance by Metro Ongen
22.30~22.40 – Stage performance by Cotton Bale
23.00~23.20 – Stage performance art by Louise Bak
23.30~24.00 – Stage fetish performance by Mistress Maya
24.00~01.00 – DJ set by Vivienne Sato
01.00~03.00 – DJ set by Kaskay
03.00 – End of event

ArtGigTokyo1: “Dirty, Dirty! Sex, sex!”

The curatorial project ArtGigTokyo is a series of art happenings to take place in public sites.

The themed events will commence with a sex themed art happening featuring internationally renowned artists such as Yoko Ono, Makoto Aida, Elmgreen & Dragset, ChimPom and Mario A., among other artists.

The event, entitled: “Dirty, dirty! Sex, sex!” will be presented at Bar Exit(バー・イグジット)in Shinjuku Ni-chome. “Ni-chome” has a long-standing association with the gay scene of Tokyo and considered by many locals as a site of sexual promiscuity and debauchery.

We aim to present some 15 local and international artists along with music and performance art pieces and transform the entire club into an improvised art gallery. Artworks will include pieces of many disciplines and site-specific installations, using the walls, the actual bar, toilets, lockers, changing room and stage. Artists are asked to present works that reflect their practice and that deals directly with their notion or understanding of the theme.

Attendance to the event is free-of-charge to the public and visitors will be encouraged to explore the space, engage with the artworks and to enjoy the array of performances that will be featured as part of the event.

In addition, visitors will be invited also to participate in a raffle that will close the event, with gifts from the Mori Museum, NADiff, MOMA Gift Shop, Wut Berlin, Tokyo Art Beat and more.

Following the recent events in Japan, ArtGigTokyo will also hold a silent auction, where the proceeds will be donated to relief efforts in Tohoku.

About ArtGig

Shai Ohayon says about the series: “ArtGig is a curatorial project that aims to support and extend the development of contemporary art and to bring art back to the public realm. I developed the project originally in Toronto Canada, where I have curated and produced nine shows under the titled ArtGig between April 1997 and August 2000. The events showcased both site-specific installations and a wide variety of interdisciplinary art, aspiring to create a platform for emerging and established artists to present works outside of the gallery space. The events were always free-of-charge to visitors to encourage the public to interact with art.

Typically, I curated the events at clubs and bars that have been transformed for the duration of the events into makeshift “galleries”. These events included live performances and the commission of new works of many disciplines, from live opera and ballet to a fashion show and performance art pieces, all original and commissioned specifically for ArtGig. This series of events is now renowned in Toronto for helping to launch some international careers and for helping to develop a vibrant art scene in Toronto.

Upon my relocation to Tokyo over a year ago and my current involvement in the Tokyo art scene as an international curator, I was struck by the limited array of public art events and ventures and by the inadequate opportunities local artists have to present new contemporary works. This discovery motivated me to re-launch ArtGig in Tokyo to help to facilitate a healthier art scene in the city – both to promote art to new audiences that usually have little opportunity to engage with contemporary art; and to give artists a new platform to present pieces.

While as an art curator and art lover I frequent galleries, I am also aware that many people who are not as involved with art often find galleries intimidating and alienating. This is why I intend to show professional art in environments that are less formal and perhaps more playful. I hope that this effort will assist people, who previously had very little interest in art, to develop a new relationship with current practices and to demystify contemporary art.

While aiming to open the art scene up and to make contemporary art more public and accessible, ArtGigTokyo also aims to mix a range of disciplines and artists from different stages of their careers – established, mid-ranged and emerging artists exhibiting side-by-side to help support new artists. This, I believe, will strengthen the art community of Tokyo and will help to introduce new local artists to the international art scene.

ArtGigTokyo, like the sister project in Toronto, will be a series of events spread over a number of years. Each event will be themed and include an array of relevant interdisciplinary artists who would be asked to exhibit old or new pieces – bespoke or accustomed – in a one day art happening. The events also will include music performances, performance art, video/film pieces and sometimes commissioned performances of other artistic disciplines, such as ballet, opera, theatre etc.

The venues selected to host each one of the events are strongly linked to the theme of each happening to reinforce a relation. The theme for the first one is “sex” and is taking place at Bar Exit in Shinjuku Ni-chome. Future ArtGigs that are in the planning include a “death” themed event at a cemetery, “transportation” at a train station and “ghosts” at an abandoned building.”

ArtGig offers ‘Dirty, dirty! Sex, sex!’ — for free

By Mio Yamada, The Japan Times

When curator Shai Ohayon says he’s organizing 12 hours of “dirty, dirty, sex, sex” in Shinjuku, he’s not making a sordid offer.

News photo
ArtGig friends: Performance artist Louise Bak, who has performed for ArtGig in Toronto, will come to Tokyo specially for “Dirty, dirty! Sex, sex!” © LOUISE BAK 2011

He’s refering to the title of the first Tokyo ArtGig, a planned series of themed “art happenings” born from his desire to help revive a Tokyo underground art scene.

“I think the art education system in Japan puts less emphasis on cognitive understanding of contemporary art,” he says, as he begins explaining why he thinks Tokyo needs an event like ArtGig. “If you look at the curriculum, it is very skill based, and that part of culture makes some people look at art differently.”

This means, says Ohayon, that collectors in Japan focus on craftsmanship more than conceptualism, and that there’s a reliance on commercial galleries, which can only take a certain amount of risk when it comes to contemporary art. Only the big museums and galleries can offer a wider variety of more daring works, and they, he says, not only tend to focus on major artists but can also be intimidating to visit.

“I started to feel that I wanted to give people the chance to access art in a different way,” he says. “It became really important to me to give opportunities to artists, but also to engage the general public. I wanted them to get to enjoy art without feeling intimidated or uncomfortable.”

Although Ohayon — who was born in Israel, studied art in Toronto and has curated exhibitions in London — has only been in Tokyo for a couple of years, he has managed to assemble an impressive roster of artists for the event. ArtGig, which takes place from 3 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the Shinjuku club Bar Exit on May 8, includes an exhibition of visual arts, performance-art pieces, and music from live bands and DJs. But what is perhaps most surprising about the event is that it’s not designed to make a profit.

“That is one of the core ideas — to present ArtGig to the public for free,” he insists, even though this meant asking artists for their cooperation without any compensation. “Not everyone I initially approached decided they would or could do it,” he says. “But we did get an amazing collection of artists.”

News photo
The strange and beautiful: Chim↑Pom’s “KOKKURISAN TATTOO” (“Ouijaboard Tattoo” 2008). © 2008 CHIM↑POM COURTESY OF MUJIN-TO PRODUCTION, TOKYO

There are some big names on that list, such as Yoko Ono, who has contributed a song track. “She re-recorded her 1980 ‘Every Man Has a Woman to Love Him,’ I think some time in the ’90s, and manipulated the lyrics to ‘Every man has aman to love him,’ ” Ohayon explains. “We’ll be playing that in a segregated space as a sound installation.”

Avant-garde collective Chim↑Pom, whose work has been exhibited in major galleries across Japan, are also offering a piece, and Makoto Aida, whose unusual mix of manga, installation, video work and painting has garnered him controversy and acclaim, will be showing an arresting photograph of a giant cockroach fornicating with a young woman.

Other artists include some that Ohayon calls “old-timers,” such as Canadian performance artist Louise Bak, who was involved in a sex-themed ArtGig more than 13 years ago in Toronto, where the event began as a university project and then successfully ran nine times over three years. Newer names on the Tokyo scene are also being introduced, such as visual artist Beatriz Inglessis, whose digital print of an unusual paper construction of the female reproductive organs was created specially for the show.

“Dirty, dirty! Sex, sex!” has also attracted a number of in-kind sponsors, including The Mori Art Museum, MOMA Gift Shop, Wut Berlin, NADiff and Tokyo Art Beat, all of whom have donated prizes for a free raffle. And, for visitors who do want to spend some cash, in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster, many of the contributing artists have offered additional artworks for an on-site silent charity auction.

“I gave a lot of freedom to the artists in the show,” says Ohayon.”I think that’s what holds the event together. People can get a fair insight into an artist’s mind. And art is not necessarily predictable.”

“Dirty, dirty! Sex, sex!” at Bar Exit, Shinjuku, takes place on May 8, 3 p.m.-3 a.m. For more information and to join a mailing list for future ArtGig events, visit


Art after the quake: Notes from ArtGig artists Makoto Aida and Chim↑Pom

Makoto Aida

“As an artist I have always tried to deal with all aspects of the society equally. I didn’t want to lean on its beauty, happiness and its ‘positive’ things in my works. The pain or horror we deal with are just as important as the beauty we find living in this world.

News photo
“The Primal Scene” (2011) by Beatriz Inglessis © BEATRIZ INGLESSIS

“I was shocked when I saw the news about the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, but that did not necessarily change my philosophy in approaching art. Both positives and negatives complete the world. And I have since been thinking about even bigger disasters we could face in the future.

“The theme of this exhibition, sex, is a subject that also has a strong contrast of positive and negative sides of human nature, and it’s a theme I have been trying to portray in my works over years. My piece for ArtGig communicates to the viewers emotions dealing with both intimacy and ominousness.”


“The earthquake changed Japan’s mood. It made us rethink the meaning of ‘presence’ and the importance of culture. Sleeping and eating is what we need to survive, but we also need emotion. So even after such a disaster, concerts and artistic events are important, not just as fund-raising activities.

“For ArtGig, we are expressing our interest in homosexual culture. It’s difficult to describe our work in words, but our piece won’t focus purely on the act of sex. We hope to portray the importance of communication and collaboration.

“It is important to actually see our work to understand it. We hope seeing and meeting us will give you hope! We also recommend Yoko Ono’s sound piece. Her work reminds viewers what it means to be a human.”

(Interviews by Jae Lee)