“Artists from Postwar Japan Days of Struggle in New York, 1960s–1970” Exhibition

The Nippon Gallery

poster for “Artists from Postwar Japan Days of Struggle in New York, 1960s–1970” Exhibition
[Image: Masaaki Sato "Newsstand No. l03 (36 Languages)" (2009-2010) oil and acrylic on canvas 64 x 52 in.]

This event has ended.

The postwar decades in New York were an epoch-making period in the art history of the world. Between the 1950s and the 1960s, the Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art movements, both of which originated in New York, moved the mecca of art from Paris to New York. People all over the world, including visual artists, performers, musicians, filmmakers and other creators, came to New York expecting that amazing and exciting things must have been happening. Among the newcomers were young artists from beyond the Pacific Ocean, who arrived by cargo and passenger ships or propeller planes, with aspirations of becoming prominent artists. Particularly after 1964, when
international travel regulations were eliminated in Japan, the number of artists who lived in New York and wanted to exhibit their works on the world market rapidly increased.

Those days in Japan, however, 500 dollars per year was the maximum amount that each foreign voyager could take out of the country. Many artists from Japan, as a matter of course, quickly spent their last pennies and struggled with making money and maintaining their visa status. They helped each other economically and mentally by exchanging goods and information, while applying themselves to their works of art. In 1973, as suggested by lawyer Max Fletcher Jr., Kunio Izuka founded JAANY (Japanese Artists Association of New York Inc.) with his companions. JAANY has since supported its numerous members living in New York and other artists all over the US by hosting annual exhibitions and various art events.

Some initiators, including Kunio Izuka and original members of JAANY, are still active. Several of those artists who came to New York from 1956 through 1970 participate in the exhibition, Artists from Postwar Japan: Days of Struggle in New York, 1960s−1970s. They show their masterpieces in painting, graphics, or sculpture through which visitors can easily understand how the artists have, in the New York’s cultural environment, been influenced, and how their Japanese sensitivity to traditional methods has, for more than half a century, been an intrinsic part of the world’s foremost art scene in New York. The viewer can also enjoy documentation reporting their activities at the time.


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