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Collection 1

April 17(Sat.) - June 27(Sun.), 2010

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Arakawa Shusaku and Art of the 1960s and 70s

To coincide with the "Funeral for Bioengineering to Not to Die: Early Works by Arakawa Shusaku" exhibition, we present some of the painting Arakawa produced after relocating to the U.S. and works by both Japanese and foreign artists from the same period.
The era in which Arakawa began working as an artist is notable for a diverse range of expressions that transcended existing genres both in Japan and in the West. While maintaining a direct link to popular culture and consumer society, these movements, which encompassed a variety of trends and groups including Neo-Dada, Pop Art, Nouveau Realism, and Fluxus, attempted to broaden the scope of art. Rather than the museum and gallery, the artists at times used street as a venue for their work in order to engender a crossover between art and daily life.
After arriving in the U.S., Arakawa began producing "diagram paintings" using written characters and signs, and exploring cognition and perception. These experiments can be seen in connection with the conceptual art that began to flourish in the 1970s. This trend, which placed a greater emphasis on the conceptual aspects of art than its morphology, attempted to redefine the systems and accepted practices of formulating art.
Where is the line between art and non-art? Is it necessary for an art work to have a shape? What exactly do we conceive of as "art?" The diverse expressions of the 1960s and 70s questioned the very foundations of art.

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