Gutai: Splendid Playground
Published by Guggenheim Museum Publications, New York, 2013
Edited by Alexandra Munroe and Ming Tiampo
With contributions by Pedro Erber, Kato Mizuho, Alexandra Munroe, Judith Rodenbeck, Hirai Shoichi, Ming Tiampo, Reiko Tomii, and Midori Yoshimoto along with Lyn Hsieh and Nakajima Izumi as well as archival material from the Gutai group
The Gutai Art Association (active 1954–72) was the most influential artistic collective in postwar Japan and among the most important international avant-garde movements of the 1950s and ’60s. Founded by Yoshihara Jiro in Ashiya, near Osaka, the group spanned two generations, totaling 59 artists over its 18-year history. Against the backdrop of Japan’s World War II militarism and defeat, the American occupation, and Japan’s postwar reconstruction as a democratic state on the world stage, Gutai’s radical experiments broke through borders between painting and performance, object and process, and between art, the ordinary public, and everyday life. Gutai: Splendid Playground demonstrates Gutai’s range of bold and innovative creativity; examines its aesthetic strategies in the cultural, social, and political context of postwar Japan; and aims to further establish Gutai in an expanded, transnational history and critical discourse on modern art.