Please Draw Freely: Gutai Individualism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism
About the Talk
“The most important thing for us is to make contemporary art the freest site for people living in today’s trying reality, and for creation in such a free site to contribute to the progress of humanity.”
–Yoshihara Jirō, 1955
This lecture introduces audiences to the Gutai group’s exciting innovations in painting, performance, conceptualism, sound, and participatory art, and links it to the group’s deep ethical commitment to freedom and individualism in the shadow of Japan’s wartime Totalitarianism.
It also considers the impact of the Gutai group globally, beginning with how the group itself connected with art worlds in New York, Paris, Turin, Johannesburg and Capetown, as well as demonstrating how Gutai has functioned as a paradigmatic movement of global art history that continues to have urgent messages and deep relevance today.
About the Speaker
Ming Tiampo is Professor of Art History, and co-director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Carleton University. She is interested in transcultural models and histories that provide new structures for understanding and reconfiguring the global. She has published on Japanese modernism, global modernisms, and diaspora. Tiampo’s book Gutai: Decentering Modernism (University of Chicago Press, 2011) received an honorable mention for the Robert Motherwell Book award. In 2013, she was co-curator of the AICA award-winning Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim Museum in NY. Tiampo is currently working on three publication projects, Transnational Cities, which theorizes the scale of the urban as a mode of reimagining transcultural intersections and the historical conditions of global modernism, Intersecting Modernisms, a collaborative sourcebook on global modernism, and Jin-me Yoon, an Art Canada Institute book on the diasporic Korean-Canadian artist. Tiampo is an associate member at ici Berlin, a member of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational Advisory Board, a fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art on the London, Asia project, a founding member of TrACE, the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange network, and co-lead on its Worlding Public Cultures project.