TOKYO 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde

Photo of TOKYO 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde

The United States of America is Japan's important ally, and giving the American people a broader view of Japanese art has been the aim of many projects organized by the Japan Foundation since its establishment in 1972. These projects have included a number of exhibitions of traditional art, such as "Folk Traditions in Japanese Art" at the Cleveland Museum of Art and other venues (1982), "Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture 1185-1868" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (1988-89), and "Japan's Golden Age: Momoyama" at the Dallas Museum of Art (1995). In addition, the Japan Foundation has been involved in organizing timely exhibitions that became landmark events, such as "Against Nature: Japanese Art in the Eighties" at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Grey Art Gallery at New York University, and other venues (1989-1991), and "Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky" at the Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1994-95).

Building on these successes, which have been achieved through the unceasing efforts of art institutions and individuals in the United States and Japan, the Japan Foundation and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) are collaborating to organize "Tokyo 1955-1970".

In the years from 1955 to 1970—a critical historical crossroads in postwar Japan—Tokyo transformed itself from the capital of a war-torn nation into an international center for arts and culture, as well as commerce. The city was home to some of the most important art being made at the time; yet there has not been a significant exhibition or publication that provides a focused look at this extraordinary concentration and network of creative individuals and practices. Tokyo 1955-1970will bring together works of various media—painting, sculpture, photography, graphic design, illustrated books, as well as documentary and cinematic film—in order to introduce the myriad avant-garde experimentations that emerged as artists drew on the energy of this rapidly growing and transforming metropolis. By demonstrating the density of and interconnections between artists, groups, and practices in Tokyo during this period, Tokyo 1955-1970 will offer a story of artistic crossings, collaborations and, at times, conflicts, with the city as an incubator. Its presentation of the multifaceted dimensions of the creative production in Tokyo during these vibrant and turbulent years will benefit greatly from the growing interest and scholarship on the history of postwar Japanese art in the West in recent years.

MoMA plans to publish a catalogue to record the exhibition.


Date November 18 (Sun.), 2012 to February 25 (Mon.), 2013
(Private view: November 13 to 17)
Venue The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA)
(Special Exhibition Room on the 6th floor)
Curator Doryun Chong (Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture,The Museum of Modern Art)
Nancy Lim(Curatorial Assistant)
Organizer The Japan Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Supported by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and ITOCHU international Inc.
Special thanks to JAPAN AIRLINESPhoto of Japan Airlines

This is a part of the commemorative project to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Japan Foundation's establishment.

Hiroshi NakamuraCircular Train A (Telescope Train)1968
Hiroshi Nakamura
Circular Train A (Telescope Train)
1968 Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Chimei HamadaElegy for a New Conscript (Sentinel)1954
Chimei Hamada
Elegy for a New Conscript (Sentinel)

1954 The Tokushima Modern Art Museum

Nobuaki KojimaUntitled1964-1966
Nobuaki KojimaUntitled
1964-1966 Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Genpei AkasegawaMorphology of Revenge (Look him in the Eye Before Killing Him) 1963
Genpei Akasegawa
Morphology of Revenge (Look him in the Eye Before Killing Him)
1963 Nagoya City Art Museum

Jiro TakamatsuStrings in Bottles
Jiro TakamatsuStrings in Bottles
1963 Private Collection
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto
© The Estate of Jiro Takamatsu, courtesy of Yumiko Chiba Associates

Toshio MatsumotoBicycle in Dream
Toshio MatsumotoBicycle in Dream
1956 National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
© Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd

Ay-OPastoral 1956 Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Americas Section, Arts and Culture Dept.

Persons in charge: Miki OkabeE-mail / Etsuko YamadaE-mail
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Tel: 03-5369-6061 Fax: 03-5369-6038

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