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 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 offers a story of artistic crossings, collaborations, and, at times, conflicts, with the city as an incubator. It introduces the myriad avant-garde experiments that emerged as artists drew on the energy of this rapidly growing and changing metropolis.
Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde brings 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 are 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 Tetsumi Kudo; photographers Moriyama Daido, Hosoe Eikoh, and Tomatsu Shomei; illustrators and graphic designers Yokoo Tadanori, Sugiura Kohei, and Awazu Kiyoshi; and architects Tange Kenzo, Isozaki Arata, and Kurokawa Kisho, among others.
In conjunction with Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, MoMA presents a 40-film retrospective of the Art Theatre 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 features such filmmakers as Teshigahara Hiroshi, Shindo Kaneto, Imamura Shohei, Oshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, and Wakamatsu Koji. This exhibition runs December 7, 2012–February 10, 2013, and 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.