Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Presents 物質から存在へ Material Existence: Japanese Art from Jōmon Period to Present Opening November 16

LAS VEGAS (October 10, 2019) – MGM Resorts Art & Culture will unveil
物質から存在へ Material Existence: Japanese Art from Jōmon Period to Present at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) on November 16. Curated by independent curator Alison Bradley, this two-part, year-long exhibition invites visitors to experience large-scale installations complemented by smaller, intimate works, some of which are being shown in the U.S. for the first time.


Many pieces on view originate from the country’s Kansai region, and all are unified by an attitude towards materiality and the natural world special to Japanese tradition and culture.

“MGM Resorts is excited to present a survey of art that invites cultural discovery, dialogue and exchange, bringing in some of the most unique pieces and objects made in Japan from ancient to contemporary times, including works never before shown in the United States,” said Tarissa Tiberti, Executive Director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture.

Exhibition Curator Alison Bradley said, “Working with MGM Resorts Art & Culture to accomplish their mission of supporting and showcasing Japanese art and contemporary culture is a great privilege. Through long-term exhibitions and the concurrent Artist Studio at Bellagio, MGM Resorts is fostering a welcoming environment for artists, as well as a highly visible space for art from Japan, both within BGFA and the ever-evolving MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection.”

Part I: November 16, 2019—April 26, 2020 

The exhibition at Bellagio begins with a rare and spectacular Goggle-eyed Dogū, a clay ritual object in the shape of a human body. This piece is an incredible example of the most intact Goggle-eyed Dogū in existence and will be on view in the United States for the first time. It represents the most highly refined form of Jōmon pottery and can be considered to be Japan’s first foray into sculpture in the years between 1,000 and 300 BC.

The exhibition also features an iconic Haniwa figure, a helmeted head of a warrior, offering an extraordinary example of the later Kofun period of the mid-third century to sixth century AD. These figures were made for ritual use and set up around mounded tombs. Together with the Dogū figure, the two ancient objects provide a sense of the rich and enduring history of art-making on the Japanese archipelago and the foundation of aesthetics and spirituality to the accompanying forms of contemporary art on view.

Part I also will feature significant works by notable contemporary Japanese artists Tatsuo Kawaguchi, Tadaaki Kuwayama, ceramic artist Shiro Tsujimura and his sons Kai Tsujimura and Yui Tsujimura, and Kohei Nawa. Together the works on view showcase an aesthetic which embraces and challenges nature, materiality and social awareness as it molds material into form.

Part II: May 16, 2020—October 11, 2020

The second part of 物質から存在へ Material Existence explores earth and light on a deeper level, allowing visitors to experience the depths of sand, clay and glass through the Japanese aesthetic. Some of the pieces from Part I of the exhibition directly correlate to those in Part II. Tatsuo Kawaguchi’s Stone and Light (1971-1989) in Part I serves as a resonant starting point for works that will be shown in the latter portion of the show, such as Ritsue Mishima’s breathtaking colorless glass works and Takashi Kunitani’s neon light installation. In this manner, material creates a visual bridge between centuries.

Toshimitsu Imai’s Modern Times (1956), a historical work composed of sand, paint and resin, will highlight the cultural exchange of avant-garde art between Japan and the West in the late 1950s. In the more contemporary realm, a site-specific installation by Eiji Uematsu will offer a deeper understanding of environment through his mastery of earth-based material.

Artists in Part II of the exhibition also include Ritsue Mishima, Kohei Nawa, Eiji Uematsu, Takashi Kunitani, Toshimitsu Imai in addition to rare examples of Jomon pottery.

During this exhibition, BGFA will be open daily 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for Nevada residents, seniors 65 and older, and students, teachers and military with valid ID.  Locals are invited to visit the gallery for $11 admission on Wednesday nights from 5 – 7 p.m. Children five and younger are free. For additional information, call (702) 693-7871 or (877) 957-9777, or visit

About Alison Bradley

Alison Bradley is an independent curator and founder of Alison Bradley Projects, which has consulted on the acquisition and curation of artworks and exhibitions for both public and private clients over the past two decades. She holds Masters degrees in both Political Economy from the London School of Economics Photography from New York University and the International Center of Photography. Her specialty focuses on Japanese Post-War Art, including painting, sculpture and photography, and in curating shows of non-Japanese art in Japan. In 2015 Bradley worked with Phillips to pioneer a special section of the Contemporary sale to focus on masterworks of Japanese Post-War painting, sculpture and photography that helped to broaden the overall interest in Japanese art internationally. In the same year Bradley created a cooperative gallery in New York with Taka Ishii Gallery, one of Japan’s most prominent Contemporary galleries based in Tokyo, where they collaborated to present exhibitions of significant Japanese Post-War Art in New York. Alison Bradley Projects is currently a private office in New York City.

About Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

Located at the heart of Bellagio Resort & Casino, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is Las Vegas’ premier exhibition space. Since opening in 1998, the gallery has presented exhibitions of artworks and objects drawn from internationally acclaimed museums and private collections, including Yasuaki Onishi: Permeating Landscape, Yayoi Kusama, Primal Water: An Exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Art; Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller CollectionTown and Country: From Degas to PicassoYousuf Karsh: Icons of the 20th CenturyPicasso: Creatures and CreativityFabergé Revealed; and Warhol Out West.

About MGM Resorts Art & Culture

MGM Resorts Art & Culture focuses on commissioning, collecting, supporting and presenting contemporary art in and around MGM Resorts’ destinations globally. Currently the MGM Resorts Art Collection includes more than 800 pieces by over 200 artists.

MGM Resorts Art & Culture was established in 2016 to encompass all of MGM Resorts’ collections and varied art related initiatives and partnerships to develop a comprehensive, multifaceted arts program. Reflecting the company’s core values of inclusivity and diversity, MGM Resorts Art & Culture aims to create special, accessible experiences for all audiences. Each project thoughtfully considers the artist, the environment, and the overall experience, recognizing the power of art to evoke emotion, engage the senses, and spark conversation. Art is prevalent throughout MGM Resorts distinctive world-class brands including Bellagio, ARIA, Vdara, MGM Grand, and Delano Las Vegas; as well as MGM National Harbor outside of Washington, D.C., MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, and internationally at MGM MACAU and MGM COTAI.

For more information, please visit the MGM Resorts Art & Culture website and YouTube page.