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Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis

The first solo U.S. museum exhibition of Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo’s work includes more than 100 works of diverse media and scale—objects, sculpture, installation, drawing, and painting—covering the entire trajectory of his career, from the late 1950s through the late 1980s. Also featured will be a study room, in which viewers can explore a timeline of the artist’s life and work and examine historical documentation, posters, and ephemera, as well as studies for some of his larger-scale works. Kudo was a rare artist who bridged many disparate artistic tendencies in the latter half of the 20th century—including French Nouveau Realisme, international Fluxus, Pop art, 1960s anti-art tendencies, and 1980s Japanese postmodernism—without specifically belonging to any of them.

Throughout his life and career he remained an eccentric and enigmatic figure in postwar art. In his stance and approach, temperament, and philosophy, the contemporary artists he perhaps shared most with were figures like Joseph Beuys, Paul Thek, James Lee Byars, and Yayoi Kusama. But the significance of Kudo’s work lies not only in art history but in postwar culture and thought more generally. Throughout his career, he remained particularly Japanese, while his art and vision were consistently and uniquely transcultural, international, and cosmopolitan. Deeply concerned with the fate of humanity in the wake of nuclear attacks on his native land and the dawn of the global arms race, Kudo sought to develop a universal humanist language of creativity and regeneration until his untimely death in 1990.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Curator: Doryun Chong