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HOMEBLOG › The Tokyo Avant-Garde at the MoMA
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Yokoo Tadanori. Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (Sōzōsha) (Shinjuku dorobō nikki [Sōzōsha]). 1968. Screenprint. 39 1/4 x 28″ (99.7 x 71.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer. © 2012 Yokoo Tadanori Moriyama Daidō. Baton Twirler (Baton towarā). 1967. Gelatin silver print. 18 7/8 x 14 11/16″ (48.1 x 37.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the photographer. © 2012 Moriyama Daidō Ay-O. Pastoral (Den’en). 1956. Oil on panel. 72 1/16″ x 12′ 1 13/16″ (183 x 370.4 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. © Ay-O, courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Yamaguchi Katsuhiro. Vitrine: Deep into the Night (Vitorīnu: Yoru no shinkō). 1954. Watercolor on paper, oil on wood, corrugated glass. 25 3/4 x 22 1/4 x 3 9/16″ (65.5 x 56.5 x 9 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. © Yamaguchi Katsuhiro, courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Tateishi Kōichi (Tiger Tateishi). Samurai, the Watcher (Kōya no Yōjinbō). 1965. Oil on canvas. 51 5/16 x 63 3/4″ (130.3 x 162 cm). The National Museum of Art, Osaka. © Estate of Tiger Tateishi, courtesy The National Museum of Art, Osaka Nakanishi Natsuyuki. Compact Object (Konpakuto obuje). 1962. Bones, watch and clock parts, bead necklace, hair, eggshells, lens, and other manufactured objects embedded in polyester. 5 5/8 x 8 3/8 x 5 1/2″ (14.3 x 21.2 x 14 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Frank Crowninshield Fund. © 2012 Nakanishi Natsuyuki Nakamura Hiroshi. Upheaval (Nairanki). 1958. Oil and pencil on plywood. 36 1/4 x 72 7/16″ (92 x 184 cm). Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya. © Nakamura Hiroshi, courtesy Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya Nakamura Hiroshi. Circular Train A (Telescope Train) (Enkan ressha A [Bōenkyō ressha]). 1968. Oil on canvas. 71 5/8 x 89 9/16″ (182 x 227.5 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. © Nakamura Hiroshi, courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Ikeda Tatsuo. Arm (Ude). 1953. Oil on canvas. 28 5/8 x 23 7/8″ (72.7 x 60.6 cm). Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo. Courtesy Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo Hi Red Center. Hi Red Center poster (verso). Fluxus Edition, edited by Shigeko Kubota, designed and produced by George Maciunas, New York. Edition announced 1965. Offset printing on paper, double-sided. 22 1/16 x 17″ (56 x 43.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. © The Estate of Takamatsu Jirō, courtesy Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo
The Tokyo Avant-Garde at the MoMA
Just recently, a great show opened at the MoMA. Titled Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, it brings together some of the most iconic Japanese artists (like Okamoto Taro, Nakamura Hiroshi, Ay-O, Yoko Ono, Shiomi Mieko, and Tetsumi Kudo) and art collectives (like Experimental Workshop, Hi Red Cente, and Group Ongaku) synonymous with the city's post-War cultural heyday.

The show demonstrates the fantastic vitality of the Japanese through its artists. The country, which was physically and psychologically obliterated after World War II, never gave into depression, and only ten years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tokyo was back on the international creative scene as a center of art, culture, and commerce.

One of the stand-out pieces in the show is Kachi Kachi Yama (1965), the animated film by illustrator Tadanori Yokoo, featuring Alain Delon, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and The Beatles as cartoon characters. The freshness of the tones is striking, as is the element of mystery in each sequence. The work seems to reveal a Japanese fascination with Western culture, but by the artist using his own palette and codes, he achieves a playful sophistication that subtly characterizes the Land of the Rising Sun.

Through February 25, 2013. All images courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

MoMA
11 W 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019
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FILED UNDER: Art , Exhibition , New York , MoMA , Japan
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