Gutai: Splendid Playground is up at The Guggenheim Museum until May 8th.
It is a show that gives homage to Gutai, a Japanese postwar art movement
that resonates deeply within me.
I came to art well after college and my first impulse was to use my body as a geometric tool to understand materials, spaces and ideas: I broke stones with hammers,
burned them with acetylene torches … carried them, threw them, painted them and drew them. I was bringing my experiences as a wrestler and martial artist
to the world of art making, and I felt a strong impulse to allow material to behave as it would naturally under the weight of a tool
or by the articulation of a process. So, when I discovered that the Gutai did something similar – they embrace actions
that bring out the natural qualities of materials, rather than impose form, ideology and trickery on to it –
I was stunned at the overlap.
So, when I heard one of the preeminent Gutai artists, Takesada Matsutani, was going to perform at Galerie Richard, 514 West 24th Street, New York, NY,
I jumped at the chance to go.
Weeks later, I discovered a Facebook friend, Taney Roniger, was also at the performance
and wrote a great essay and blog post that I encourage you to read.