text by Ryoko Kuwahara
photo by Satomi Yamauchi

DIY Issue : Interview with Miyuki Sugaya from GALLERY 360°

NeoL_360_12| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

オノ・ヨーコ、ローレンス・ウィナー、フルクサスなど錚々たるアーティストが名を連ねる表参道のGALLERY 360°が、2017年の末に尾山台に移転。さらに2018年6月にはワタリウム美術館近くにギャラリー&バーをオープンさせるなど新しい展開を見せている。自由で風通しの良い空気の中に、背筋が伸びるような凛としたアートへの深い尊敬と愛情を感じさせる独特の佇まいを持ったこのギャラリーはどのようにして生まれ、育まれてきたのか。改めて、ディレクター・菅谷幸に自身の歴史とともに語ってもらった。

Omotesando’s GALLERY 360°, known for prominent artists like Yoko Ono, Lawrence Weiner and Fluxus, has relocated to Oyamadai at the end of 2017. In addition, it is developing new opportunities, opening a gallery & bar near the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in June 2018. Among a good space that is free and airy are dignified artworks that are respected and loved. How was this gallery with a unique appearance established and developed? We sat down with Director Miyuki Sugaya as she talked to us about the gallery along with her own background.

——GALLERY 360°は表参道の印象が強かったのですが、もともと原宿の先、現在のGALLERY TARGETの場所にあったそうですね。

菅谷「そうなんです。1982年10月に私たちがギャラリーをオープンした当時、いまGALLERY TARGETがあるエリアは80年代カルチャーが芽吹く話題の場所でした。すぐ近くには『ア・ストア・ロボット』などがあって、プラスチックスや藤原ヒロシさん始めとんがった人たちが集まって盛り上がっていて。ロボットに来たお客さんが360°の前を通って、ちょっと覗きに来てくれたりもしました。また、『ピテカントロプス・エレクトス』というギャラリーやクラブがある地下空間で、ナム・ジュン・パイクと坂本龍一のイベントをやっていたりしていてね。『カル・デ・サック』というイエローマジックやムーンライダーズらテクノ系のミュージシャンが集まっていたカフェバーもありました。大人っぽくて素敵な空間でしたよ。当時そういったエリアだったので、私たちもギャラリーをそのエリアでオープンさせました」



–I had a strong impression of GALLERY 360°being located in Omotesando, but I heard that it was originally just ahead of Harajuku, at its current location.

Sugaya: “That’s right. At the time when we opened the gallery in October of 1982, the area where Gallery Target is now located was known to be an 80s-culture hub. Just near it was “A Store Robot” where edgy people like Plastics and Hiroshi Fujiwara would gather and be livelily. Customers who went to Robot would pass by our gallery and come in to take a look. Also, Nam June Paik and Ryuichi Sakamoto would hold a book launch ceremony in an underground space with galleries and clubs called “Pithecanthropus Erectus”. There was also a café-bar called “Cul de Sac” where techno-musicians like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Moonriders hung out. It was a sophisticated and elegant space. It was that kind of area back then, so we too, opened a gallery in that area.”

–Did you open with knowledge and experience in galleries?

Sugaya: “I had none. I was 22, and my husband (Toshiyuki Nemoto) was 33. My husband is a baby-boomer and is from the Tohoku area. He was greatly influenced by the late 60s underground culture that was flowering when he came down to Tokyo. He says he saw Tatsumi Hijikata carrying a bonsai tied with a tasuki (a cord that tucks up sleeves of Kimonos or Yukatas) under his dotera (a padded kimono) and walking around all day in front of what’s now Alta (a fashion building in Shinjuku). Apparently my husband ate breakfast at a café called Fugetsudo where ‘underground’ people would gather, then eat the most inexpensive lunch at a place referred to as “Shonben Yokocho” just outside of the Shinjuku west exit, then go back to Fugetsudo to have some tea. That was his lifestyle, but my husband would see such avant-garde peformances. Like when Nagisa Oshima was shooting the film “Diary of a Shinjuku Thief” with Juro Kara and Tadanari Yokoo. Even though he doesn’t know what they are doing, when he sees scenarios like that he gets attracted to them. Since they were such interesting things and he doesn’t want to miss out on them, having no internet back then, he would ask the people around him, or read the culture column in the newspaper the next day and try everything to gather as much information as he could. That’s how he came to follow the avant-garde path.”

NeoL_360 | Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_2| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi



——今で言う、インフルエンサーですね(笑)! 一方、菅谷さんはジョン・ケージのパフォーマンスに感銘を受けてアートに傾倒したとお聞きしたのですが。


–Before dealing with art, what was he doing?

Sugaya: “He was a hippie, haha. Hippies dressed fashionably and stood out, so regular people back then wanted to know more about the youth culture boiling around Shinjuku. They would be featured in weekly magazines, be invited to popular discos to hype up the scene, and even be seen in department store fashion shows. They would be invited like, “We want a hippie that is a hot topic among the media”.”

–As we say today, an “influencer”! On the other hand, I heard you were impressed by John Cage’s performance and came to be devoted to art?

Sugaya: “My parents’ home was near Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture, and I came to Tokyo from there. My husband was influenced by Warhol’s interview magazine and created a culture magazine called “UP”. I wanted to become an editor, so I commuted to the editorial department and helped out. It was called the Seibu Museum of Art back then, and the Sezon Museum of Art that we know of today was located on the top floor of Seibu department store. They put emphasis on introducing contemporary art. It was an amazing era when they would invite Joseph Beuys, hold César exhibitions and many great artists – if you wanted to know about contemporary art, you had to go to the Seibu Museum of Art. When the Seibu Museum opened in Karuizawa, the opening exhibition was Marcel Duchamp. Since Duchamp had already passed away, John Cage came to Japan in his place and performed. We decided to do an interview for him with UP. I only knew of his name back then, and I went into it with pure curiosity. The people there were all people leading contemporary music, and we really felt out of place, haha. The performance contained songs composed by Duchamp et al, and we had good seats so we were able to see the music score. The thing is, there was nothing written on it. No notes. In place of it, there were vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines here and there, and Cage was conducting from it. It was completely different from what I had learned in school, and I was thinking, “Why is music playing when no tadpoles (notes) are there?”. However, the performers understood and a beautiful performance was being created, so I realized, “There must be one promise among the music world that I don’t know of, and that is how music happens”. I was so surprised, it felt as if someone had hit me in the head. Being blown away by music that is created in a different world from the music I knew of with 12 tone notes, was the same as my husband being in awe when seeing Tatsumi Hijikata. I thought, “It’s a shame if humans do not know of this world.” That is how I too, came to follow the avant-garde path.”

NeoL_360_3| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_8| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_9| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi







–It must have had a great impact on you.

Sugaya: “Being attracted to avant-garde things in the first place told me that I had no comfortable place to be in the society I live in today. When I was searching for a place I belong, where there are new values that don’t follow rules and are not restricting, contemporary art was the answer. However, although I knew John Cage, I was not that attracted to other contemporary art or music. Amongst that, my husband gave me Yoko Ono’s “grapefruit”. As I read it, I realized that this person named Yoko Ono went through the same struggles as I did, even, she was hurt more, which lead her to write down the words that she did. If there are people like her in this world, I wanted to try to live in it. After reading her book, I was able to dig deeper into the avant-garde world. My life thereon was decided by John Cage and Yoko Ono. It may have been especially good that I had decided early on. If not for that, I think I may have mindlessly floated around in my 20s.”

–What does it mean to be uncomfortable or not belong anywhere?

Sugaya: “I was born into a farmer’s house in Chiba as the oldest child. Back then, girls were not regarded highly by farmers. Whereas an oldest son would be cherished, I was told as a child that “girls don’t need an education, they just need to be liked by their future husbands”. My feelings of resistance got bigger and bigger – “I will never live the way my father want me to” were the words I felt. I somehow escaped from my parents’ house, and kept thinking that I had to find my own path and follow it. I believe I was intrigued by Yoko Ono’s art in that way.”

— You changed your gloomy feelings into power and found an outlet through art. I believe you have dealt with art in many different ways, but why did you decide to pursue a path in running a gallery?

Sugaya: “In the 60s American pop art was on the rise, and among that a star named Andy Warhol produced bands, and published magazines. There were no artists that did such things before him, so he was featured in the media like crazy. We saw this and found out that he ran a studio called FACTORY where interesting people gathered every night. We were so fond of it. Then, we started saying how we wanted our own space, like a salon, where our friends can hang out, and we started without thinking further. Since I ended up opening a gallery at 22, every day I learned as I went. If I had decided to live in this world, I had to know more about that world. I just studied day and night.”

NeoL_360_7| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_13| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_11| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi





–What kind of artwork did you handle at first?

Sugaya: “We held printmaking exhibitions by Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, John Cage et al. The gallery world was a lot different from today. In the 80s, there were little to no galleries in Japan that handled contemporary art from abroad. Moreover, the galleries in Ginza mainly showcased Japanese artists, so we picked Jingu-mae as our location to contrast with them. “Gallerie Watari” (now known as Watari Museum of Contemporary Art) was the place where young people who liked contemporary art would gather, so we wanted to aim for that and located ourselves close by. There were not many bookstores that sold foreign books, so we ordered from New York and gathered information about foreign artwork that way. We have Zine in Japan today, but back then young, foreign artists used Zine to post their artwork so to get a hold of that we would have to get it shipped. Since we did such things, profit was out of the picture. We somehow managed with our youth and passion. Perhaps because my husband often went to pop art/psychedelic poster shops that they had in the 60s, he liked posters and would buy off posters in shops that closed down for cheap and resell them. The first two or three years after opening was difficult, but the bubble economy started around 1985 and we were able to create some leeway. We held Keiichi Tanaami or Tadanori Yokoo’s prints exhibition, and since the economy was good we were able to sell art if we held exhibitions. The rent wasn’t as expensive as today either.”

–And then, it was the start of a rocky era.

Sugaya: “In the 80s, we were busy trying to sell foreign artists’ works. During the bubble economy, the flow of money was almost scary. Warhol’s Mick Jagger piece sold for $4K before the bubble economy, but during the bubble peak it sold for 10 times more. As we went through that, we entered the 90s and the bubble burst, resulting in much lower sales. The fact that Warhol and Beuys passed also had a great impact on us. It really felt like one generation had ended. We started thinking that we had an obligation to develop a new movement that we had not done before. Just around the same time, an acquaintance who owned a building in Omotesando told us, “There’s an open floor. If you’re doing a gallery, I want you to open one here.” So we moved to Omotesando while the bubble was still settling down in 1993, to start a new movement in a new place. My husband was a carpenter when he was younger, so he repaired our past gallery and used it well, and was good at making spaces. From that time, installations in contemporary art were appearing, and the Omotesando floor was perfect for that. Since we also received attention from Japanese artists, we curated a program to introduce young Japanese artists.”

NeoL_360_6| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_10| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi





–Did you have the style of adjoining a shop and gallery from when you were at Jingu-mae?

Sugaya: “Yes. Since we were young, we felt more at home with posters, postcards and books rather than paintings that cost thousands of dollars. It wasn’t like we originally had a hobby for collecting, so we enjoyed seeing art with everyone and discussing it more. We decided we wanted to do limited editions in the 90s, so we asked Lawrence Weiner for our first attempt. Since then, along with artists’ exhibitions we showcase international artists, various gallery artists, or printmaking creations. Our wish then was simply, for people to incorporate art into their daily lives. Most Japanese collectors back then collected for investment purposes, but I believed that there could be more art enjoyed in our daily lives. In foreign collectors’ homes, there are artworks hung on the walls that people would look at while dining, or drinking. They really enjoy art in their daily lives. Discussing art during dinner times and talking about the times they bought art is so fun, and I wished Japanese people could live a life like that too. We started publishing to provide a space where art can be purchased for a reasonable price. My husband originally wanted to be an artist, and I had a lot of interest in editorial work. Although the artist’s intuitions and senses are fundamental, the way in which that is brought to life is heavily dependent on us, the publishers as well. Depending on the artist, some may not have specific suggestions so that is when we advise them. For example, if we were publishing in Japan, we would suggest that there should be a Japan-like element. It feels like a collaboration to both sides.”

–I see. At 360°, you do things to raise Japanese artists too.

Sugaya: “I wouldn’t say ‘raise’, but young artists have so much to express yet there are no spaces for them to. I don’t want them to throw their ambitions away and stop expressing because of financial strains, so it is important that we provide a place for them. I think it’s also because we did not begin with a commercial purpose. That’s why I’m so bad at selling, haha. Especially since my husband did not have a place to showcase his art either, we feel that we would like to do as much as we can to support.”

NeoL_360_14| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_15| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi





–Perhaps because those intensions are deeply rooted, your relationships with the artists are very open.

Sugaya: “That is because we proceed with the desire to work with artists that we truly admire. Artist that have done something at 360° are all artists that we admire, so naturally we achieve an open-minded relationship. In addition, I believe that the artist’s intention should always come first. For example, we wrote letters to Yoko Ono from when we were at Jingu-mae, and she wanted to come to our gallery but it never happened. Then, in 1996 it was meant to be. Her curator, John Hendricks visited our gallery and we proceeded to holding an exhibition for her. We showed the 60s instruction, “Blue Room Event” and a series of “Flranklin Summer” that she drew then and built our relationship with her little by little. By 2001, we held exhibitions with her on a yearly basis. It is our goal to build history with each other.”

–How did you feel when your exhibition with Yoko Ono’s came true?

Sugaya: “I was very happy, but I felt a greater sense of responsibility that weighed down on me. To hold an exhibition with Yoko Ono meant that we had to continue to do well with our gallery in order to not hurt her name. Ono is a master to me, so we could never do anything rude to a master, and so my thought that I had to treat the person who crafted my life with respect and awe got bigger and bigger as the days went by. Nemoto also worked on the big Warhol exhibition in ’83, and took part in a project to create a series called “KIKU” and “LOVE” in Japan. We were so happy and grateful to have worked with each of our masters. I left my parents’ house, and through contemporary art met many great people regardless of their age or gender. There’s nothing greater than to meet people who can share the same thoughts as you. Contemporary art has allowed me to meet people like that. Because I want to give back for this gift I received, although small, I try to spread the greatness of contemporary art at Oyamadai and Jingu-mae.”

NeoL_360_18| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_16| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi



–How do you think you will use the space at Oyamadai?

Sugaya: “It’s kind of like the outskirts of Jiyugaoka, with a small space, so we are still exploring how to use it. We moved in at the end of February, but we haven’t even finished renovating it. So I believe it will take a little more time until we hold exhibitions. In addition, one of my friends suggested that “It should be a place where people can gather, that takes on the friendships cultivated at 360°Omotesando”, and since we found a small space about a minute away from Watari-um, we are preparing to use it as a bar at night, and from July, a gallery space during the day. Since we originally wanted to use a space like a salon to talk with friends through art, we are regressing back to our origin. Now we can communicate with typed words through LINE and emails, but I want to create a place for people to use their own voice to form relationships. Even looking back at history, new things were born in real settings. Even with the internet’s development, it is still important to talk with real people and organize your thoughts, and expand your ideas due to other people’s reactions. There are cases in which coincidental encounters can end up changing your life, and I would like GALLERY 360°to be a place where that kind of opportunity is hidden. There any many encounters in the world. I want people to greatly enjoy life by searching for that.Always with “ART INTO LIFE!”.”

NeoL_360_4| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_5| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi


TEL : 03-6809-8566
営業時間:金、土、日 12:00 〜18:00
Contact :


1 Chome-17-14 Oyamadai
Setagaya-ku, Tōkyō-to
158-0086, Japan
TEL : +81-03-6809-8566
Business Hours: Friday, Sat, Sun 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
**We will accept visits on other business days through appointments only

NeoL_360_19| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

NeoL_360_17| Photography : Satomi Yamauchi

360° ‹ 神宮前 ›
東京都渋谷区神宮前3-1-24 ソフトタウン青山1F
TEL: 03-5410-2350
バー営業時間:月〜土 19:00〜  日休み
Instagram, Facebookでご確認下さい。

Softtwon Aoyama 1F 3-1-24
Jinguumae Shibuya-Ku
TEL: 03-5410-2350
Bar Business Hours: Mon-Sat 7:00 p.m.~ closed on Sun
Bar contact: Valinda
**Business Hours are subject to chance during exhibitions.
Please check regularly on our Instagram and Facebook.

photography Satomi Yamauchi
text& edit Ryoko Kuwahara



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