mograg gallery Presents “Japanese Lowbrow Art”

The history of "mograg" dates back in 2008. We, the owner/director Motoko Ohta and the painter oki-chu., decided to open up our own garage to the public in Kokubunji, Tokyo, in order to hold exhibitions. We called this tiny space "mograg garage", then it soon became like an artist community.

In 2015, we moved to Shin-okachimachi, Tokyo, made a new start as "mograg gallery". We hold/direct exhibitions basically with 2-dimensional works of artists whose style is beyond the genre or the way of expressions are uncategorized. Producing merchandises is actively going on as well.

We call the artworks that are shown in here "the Japanese Lowbrow Art".

What is Lowbrow Art?

Even with different historical and cultural backgrounds, Lowbrow Art in the U.S. West Cost and underground art movements in Europe have all sprang from the rim, or the “Sub” of the mainstream art called “High Art.” Lowbrow Art distances itself from the money game among the affluent population and the art world, which has turned itself into a mere concept game. Lowbrow Art takes messy and populist means of expression such as painting, drawing, comic, animation, collage, tattoo, music, graffiti, publication, and toy figure. Through these means, Lowbrow artists express the outburst of their inner self and freak images into the artworks with humor and design, or characters. These artworks have evolved continuously through independent galleries and medias, which have been passionately supported by art fans and collectors.

Japanese Lowbrow Art

Such explanation of Lowbrow Art might give the impression that the path Lowbrow Art took from its birth to today is very similar to the characteristics of the so-called Otaku culture surrounding Manga and Anime in Japan. However, the situation is even more twisted in Japan. After the WWII, Otaku culture, which is supposed to be the “Sub,” has developed immensely surpassing Western High Art both in quality and volume. Today, Otaku culture is what forms Japanese mainstream culture.

Therefore, especially in the case of pictorial art, the reality of Japanese art world is that there are two cores—one being High Art as the world’s mainstream valuing historical contexts, and other being Otaku culture as Japanese mainstream expanding globally.

In such situation, we find ourselves surrounded by the artists expressing “the Third Sub” who have been exposed to many subcultures from their childhood to develop their own style without belonging to either the Western High Art or Japanese Otaku culture.

We define these artists including all styles of expression as “Japanese Lowbrow Artsits” with much respect, and we have decided to run our gallery specialized in their artworks.

To all the art fans, with humor and laughs, we are going to deliver art that we feel to be interesting and the fun around it from “mograg gallery”!