Contemporary Art

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Japanese Artists in the American Avant-garde 1945–1970

by Alexandra_Munroe on June 29, 1987

Originally published in Contemporary Japanese Art in America I: Arita, Nakagawa, Sugimoto. Reproduced by permission of the publisher.


Japanese Artists in the American Avant-garde 1945–1970
By Alexandra Munroe

“This universality in art is unaffected by the breaking-up of art into names and nationalities. That is making arbitrary decisions for convenience and comfort. There is Russian art, Chinese art, American art and art of other nations… But these classifications are the grouping of superficial qualities or attributes and do not pertain to the fundamental character of art.”

—Yasuo Kuniyoshi, 1949[1]

“His career and oeuvre stand as proof that cultural origins are not binding. An authentic artist can transcend his background, neither accepting its givens without question nor abandoning all he knows; rather, by opening the patterns of his heritage to currents, cultural energies, from elsewhere.”

—Carter Ratcliffe on Kenzo Okada, 1984[2]

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Alexandra_MunroeJapanese Artists in the American Avant-garde 1945–1970