Tokyo from the mid 50’s through the 70’s

by Daniel Haim

Nobuaki Kojima. Untitled, 1994. Painted plaster and strips of red-and-white cloth coated with polyethylene resin, 67 5/8 x 35 ½ x 19 3/8” (171.7 x 90 x 49 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously. © 2011 Nobuaki Kojima.

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 provides a focused look at the extraordinary concentration and network of creative individuals and practices in this dynamic city during these turbulent years. Featuring works of various media—painting, sculpture, photography, 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 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, the United States, and Europe. Artists in the exhibition include: artist collectives such as Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop), Hi Red Center (Jiro Takamatsu, Genpei Akasegawa, Natsuyuki Nakanishi), and Group Ongaku (Group Music); critical artistic figures such as Taro Okamoto, Hiroshi Nakamura, Ay-O, Yoko Ono, Mieko Shiomi, and Tetsumi Kudo; photographers Daido Moriyama, Eikoh Hosoe, Shomatsu Tomei; illustrators and graphic designers Tadanori Yokoo, Kohei Sugiura, and Kiyoshi Awazu; and architects Arata Isozaki and Kisho Kurokawa, among others.