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Guggenheim Museum Presents Gutai: Splendid Playground, 2/15-5/8

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Guggenheim Museum Presents Gutai: Splendid Playground, 2/15-5/8

From February 15 to May 8, 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present Gutai: Splendid Playground, a retrospective of the Gutai Art Association (1954-72), the radically inventive and influential Japanese artistic collective whose innovative and playful approaches to installation and performance yielded one of the most important international avant-garde movements to emerge after World War II. Based on fifteen years of research, Gutai: Splendid Playground provides a critical examination of both iconic and lesser-known examples of the collective's dynamic output over its two decade history and explores the full spectrum of Gutai's creative production: painting, performance, installation art, sound art, experimental film, kinetic art, light art, and environment art. Gutai: Splendid Playground is the first North American museum exhibition devoted to the Gutai group and offers a comprehensive interpretation of the convention-defying movement.

Comprising approximately 145 works by 25 artists and spanning two generations of Gutai artists, Gutai: Spendid Playground is organized into six chronological and thematic sections presented along the Guggenheim ramps:

Play: An Uninhibited Act
Concept: Can a Piece of Cloth Be a Work of Art?
Network: To Introduce Our Works to the World
The Concrete: The Scream of Matter Itself
Performance Painting: Pictures with Time and Space
Environment: Gutai Art for the Space Age

The exhibition also includes documentary films of the group's historic outdoor exhibitions and stage events and offers a focus on their eponymous journal as a platform for international artistic exchange. A centerpiece of Gutai: Splendid Playground is a site-specific commission of Work (Water) (1956/2011) by the late Motonaga Sadamasa. Prior to his death in 2011, Motonaga reimagined his iconic early Gutai outdoor installation, made of plastic tubes filled with colored water, for the Guggenheim rotunda.

Gutai: Splendid Playground is co-curated by Ming Tiampo, Associate Professor of Art History, Carleton University, Ottawa, and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Assistance was provided by Asian Art Curatorial Fellow Lyn Hsieh.

Gutai: Splendid Playground is supported in part by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Japan Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, Tokio Marine Holdings, the United States-Japan Foundation, and the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.

The Leadership Committee for Gutai: Splendid Playground is gratefully acknowledged for its support: Hauser & Wirth, Yoko Ono Lennon, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Tina Kim and Jae Woong Chung, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Richard Roth, and those who wish to remain anonymous.


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