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IMAGE GALLERY

Featured image—of Atsuko Tanaka installing her 1955 sound art installation, "Work (Bell)," at the 1st Gutai Art Exhibition in Tokyo, October, 1955—is reproduced from the Guggenheim Museum
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 2/20/2013

'Gutai: Splendid Playground' Necessitates Some Adjustment in Thinking

Featured image—of Tsuruko Yamazaki's "Tin Cans" and the painting "Work," both originally produced in 1955—is reproduced from the Guggenheim Museum's "terrific" exhibition catalog for Gutai: Splendid Playground, which critic Roberta Smith called "a mind-shifting exhibition about Japan’s best-known postwar art movement" in a recent New York Times review. She continues, "The works in this show are… generally relaxed and even fun-loving. The idea of art as an occasion for liberating, medium-mixing, often participatory play was a serious component of Gutai thought, especially during its first decade. Formed in 1954, the Gutai Art Association stressed the importance of uninhibited individual actions, the thwarting of expectations and even silliness as ways to counter the passivity and conformity that enabled the country’s militarist government to become so disastrously powerful in the previous decades, invading China and then charging into World War II… Whatever else you may think of these pieces, they relocate some of the origins of participatory art, so much the rage today. Similarly, the show reveals little-known precedents for all kinds of seemingly Euro-American-centered developments, including Happenings, Minimalism, specific objects and various strains of land art, installation art, Conceptual Art and relational aesthetics. Nearly every work necessitates some adjustment in thinking."

Gutai: Splendid Playground

Gutai: Splendid Playground

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
Hbk, 9.75 x 11 in. / 316 pgs / 270 color.

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