Japan’s Postwar Art History

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Contemporary Asian art in the West is often seen as having developed in response to globalization and a wide array of art centers around the world over the past decade.

Japan’s contemporary art history is a very complex and long standing one and dates back to as far as the end of World War II.  Although a period of destruction, the art coming from that area was not solely about destruction but also about rebellion and self determination.

With the exception of the 1994 exhibition “Scream Against the Sky,” very little attention has been paid to Japan’s postwar art in the West.  However, several museums and galleries are now shedding new light on that era. In November, the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened “Tokyo 1955-1970:A New Avant-Garde.” It was organized by associate curator Doryun Chong.

Next month the Guggenheim Museum will open “Gutai:Splendid Playground,” and it will be curated by Alexandra Munroe of the Japan Society Gallery and Ming Tiampo, associate professor of art history at Carleton University in Ottawa.