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Since MeijiPerspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000$
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J. Thomas Rimer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834418

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834418.001.0001

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How Gendai Bijutsu Stole the “Museum”

How Gendai Bijutsu Stole the “Museum”

An Institutional Observation of the Vanguard 1960s

(p.144) 6 How Gendai Bijutsu Stole the “Museum”
Since Meiji

Reiko Tomii

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the institutionalization of the avant-garde (zen’ei) as gendai bijutsu, or contemporary art, and specifically its ascent in the museum in the vanguard 1960s. During the vanguard 1960s, the modern institution was under constant attack. After Gutai (Gutai Art Association) prefigured various experimental options of 1960s art already in the mid-1950s, Anti-Art (Han-geijutsu) and Non-Art (Hi-geijutsu) made a concerted attack on Art (Geijutsu). This chapter explains how Japanese art in the 1960s became anti-institutional, first by discussing the rise of gendai bijutsu and the decline of the gadan, or Japan’s art establishment. It then considers how Anti-Art invaded the “museum”—in this case, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum—and quickly lost it, only to take it back in 1970. It also comments on the apparent insularity of gendai bijutsu—an impression that gendai bijutsu became incomprehensible or inaccessible to the general public—after 1970.

Keywords:   avant-garde, gendai bijutsu, contemporary art, museum, Gutai, Anti-Art, Non-Art, Japanese art, gadan, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

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