Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

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From the mid-1950s through the 1960s, Tokyo transformed itself from the capital of a war-torn nation into an international center for arts, culture, and commerce, becoming home to some of the most important art being made at the time. Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, an exhibition on view at MoMA from November 18, 2012 to February 25, 2013, provides a focused look at the extraordinary concentration and network of creative individuals and practices in this dynamic city during these turbulent years, with the work of around 60 artists on view. Featuring over 200 works of various media—painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, drawings, and graphic design, as well as video and documentary film—the exhibition will offer a story of artistic crossings, collaborations, and, at times, conflicts, with the city as an incubator. It will introduce the myriad avant-garde experimentations that emerged as artists drew on the energy of this rapidly growing and changing metropolis. Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde is organized by Doryun Chong, Associate Curator, with Nancy Lim, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is co-organized and supported by The Japan Foundation.

Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde will bring together some of the most iconic works from the period as well as works recently discovered or reevaluated by new scholarship. A significant number are already part of MoMA’s collection, while others will be on loan from important public collections in Japan and the United States. Artists in the exhibition include: artist collectives such as Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop), Hi Red Center (Takamatsu Jiro, Akasegawa Genpei, Nakanishi Natsuyuki), and Group Ongaku (Group Music); critical artistic figures such as Okamoto Taro, Nakamura Hiroshi, Ay-O, Yoko Ono, Shiomi Mieko, and Kudō Tetsumi; photographers Moriyama Daido, Hosoe Eikoh, and Tomatsu Shomei; graphic designer Yokoo Tadanori; and architects Isozaki Arata, Tange Kenzo, and Kurokawa Kisho, among others.

In conjunction with Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, MoMA will present a 40-film retrospective of the Art Theater Guild, the independent film company that radically transformed Japanese cinema by producing and distributing avant-garde and experimental works from the 1960s until the early 1980s. The retrospective will feature such filmmakers as Teshigahara Hiroshi, Shindo Kaneto, Imamura Shohei, Oshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, and Wakamatsu Koji, and will run concurrently with the exhibition. The retrospective is organized by Go Hirasawa (Meiji-Gakuin University), Roland Domenig (University of Vienna), and Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The exhibition is co-organized and supported by the Japan Foundation.

The exhibition is made possible by UNIQLO.

Additional support is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, David Teiger, Chris A. Wachenheim, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Shiseido, ITOCHU International Inc., and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.

Special thanks to JAPAN AIRLINES.