– Spring/Summer 2019

‘A Test Tube’ of New Art: Naiqua and the Rental Gallery System in 1960s Japan

Reiko Tomii

Hirata Minoru, Hi Red Center members and associates on the way to ‘Cleaning Event’ in the Ginza district of Tokyo, October 1964. From left to right: Akasegawa Genpei, Kawanaka Nobuhiro, Tanikawa Kōichi, Takamatsu Jirō, and Nakanishi Natsuyuki. © HM Archive. Courtesy Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film, Tokyo

In recent years, the idea of multiple modernisms has been increasingly accepted in world art history. The multiplicity of modernism means that each modernism has its own origins and paths of development, at once informed by local situations and transnational or global encounters. In deciphering a given modernism, caution must be taken against the facile assumptions of universality, since ‘universal’ is frequently a tacit assimilation of ‘Euro-American’. Those locally situated practices constitute ‘landmines’, of a sort, which are not few in studying 1960s art in Japan. The ‘rental gallery’, or kashi garō, is one such landmine.1

An American View of ‘Rental Galleries’

In 1966, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York presented ‘The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture’, an exhibition organised by its two curators William S. Lieberman and Dorothy C. Miller. In the accompanying catalogue, Lieberman outlined the art world in Japan, based on his field research there. Although a good part of his observation is informative and not inaccurate, he in retrospect failed to comprehend one locally specific situation when he dismissively stated: ‘the

  1. I thank Miyata Yūka, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, Kikkawa Hideki and Hiroko Ikegami for their assistance in preparing this essay. All Japanese names are given in the traditional manner, surname first. All translations from Japanese materials are by the author.

  2. William S. Lieberman, ‘Introduction’, in The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture (exh. cat.), New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966, p.10.

  3. For the use of remote landscapes in contemporary art, see my Radicalism in the Wilderness: International Contemporaneity and 1960s Art in Japan, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016.

  4. For the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, see my ‘How Gendai Bijutsu Stole the ‘Museum’: An Institutional Observation of the Vanguard 1960s’, in J. Thomas Rimer (ed.), Since Meiji: Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts from 1869 to 2000, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2012, pp.144–67.

  5. For the art and life of Shinohara Ushio, see Hiroko Ikegami and Reiko Tomii, Shinohara Pops! (exh. cat.), Albany: SUNY Press, 2012.

  6. Shinohara Ushio, Zen’ei no michi (The Avant-Garde Road), Tokyo: Bijutsu shuppan-sha, 1968, pp.78–79.

  7. For Shionhara’s Boxing Painting, see my, ‘Ushio Shinohara’s Action in Three Modes: Boxing Painting and Beyond,’ in H. Ikegami and R. Tomii, Shinohara Pops!, op. cit., pp.28–31.

  8. Shinohara U., Zen’ei no michi, op. cit., pp. 99–100.

  9. ‘Garō’ (Galleries), Bijutsu nenkan 1957 (Art Annual 1957), supplementary issue, Bijutsu techō (Art Notebook), no.119 (December 1956), pp.118–19.

  10. ‘Garō’ (Galleries), ’64 Bijutsu nenkan (Art Annual 1964), supplementary issue, Bijutsu techō (Art Notebook), no.230 (December 1963), pp.102–06.

  11. For the importance of the Yomiuri Independent Exhibition, see my ‘Geijutsu on Their Minds: Memorable Words on Anti-Art’, in Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Postwar Japan, 1950–1970, Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007, pp.35–62; and William Marotti, Money, Trains, and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.

  12. ‘Garō’ (Galleries), 1970 Bijutsu nenkan (Art Annual 1970), supplementary issue, Bijutsu techō (Art Notebook), no.323 (January 1970), pp.119–24.

  13. See Baba Akira and Satō Garō no sakka-tachi (Baba Akira and the artists of Satō Gallery) (exh. cat.), Akita: Akita Museum of Modern Art, 2001.

  14. ‘Kokka kōmuin no shoninkyū no hensen’ (‘Changes in the national government employees’ starting wages’), available at http://www.jinji.go.jp/kyuuyo/kou/starting_salary.pdf (last accessed on 29 December 2018).

  15. Ebizuka Kōichi, ‘Shuzo Takiguchi and the Takemiya Gallery’ (trans. Reiko Tomii), 1953: Shedding Light on Art in Japan, Tokyo: Tama Art University and Meguro Museum of Art, 1998, pp.59–66.

  16. In the modern kana syllabary and its English transliteration, 内科 is rendered ないか (naika), but Miyata adopted the historical syllabary (ないくゎ) and its English transliteration (naiqua), which gives a more literary and elegant locution.

  17. Miyata Yūka, ‘Naiqua Garō no hajimari to owari to sono haikei’ (‘The Beginning, End, and Context of Naiqua Gallery’), in Miyata and Kuroda Shūichi (ed.), Naiqua Garō: ’60-nendai no zen’ei (Naiqua Gallery: 1960s avant-garde) (exh. cat.), Kyoto: Kyoto University of Art and Design Museum, 2000, p.25.

  18. Miyata Kunio, ‘Garō manifesuto’ (Gallery Manifesto), in Naiqua Gallery, a flyer announcing the gallery’s opening, c.1963.

  19. Ibid., p.26.

  20. According to the activity list in Miyata Y. and Kuroda S. (ed.), Naiqua Garō, op. cit., pp.28–30.

  21. For Anti-Art, see R. Tomii, “Geijutsu on Their Minds,’ op. cit.

  22. Nakahara also guest organised another ‘curated’ exhibition ‘Comics and Humor in Postwar Art’ in January 1964, held jointly at Naiqua and Satō. Other ‘curated’ exhibitions included ‘Naiqua Cinemateque’ (held twice in 1963 and once in 1966) and ‘Dealer Naiqua Sales’ (1963) guest organised by the editor Kawani Hiroshi. Miyata also conceived its newsletter as ‘exhibitions on paper’ as stated in the Gallery Manifesto. See Miyata Y. and Kuroda S. (ed.), Naiqua Garō, op. cit.

  23. For more information on exhibitions on Table 2, please see the activity list by Miyata Y. and Kuroda S. (ed.), Naiqua Garō, op. cit., pp.28–30.

  24. For Hi Red Center’s ‘Great Panorama Exhibition’, see my essay and translation of the work in Mathieu Copeland and Balthazar Lovay (ed.), The Anti-Museum (exh. cat.), Fribourg and Cologne: Fri Art and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2016, pp.47–61.

  25. For Matsuzawa’s contributions, see my Radicalism in the Wilderness, op. cit., pp.176–84.

  26. For Ono’s work, see Alexandra Munroe and Jon Hendricks (ed.), YES Yoko Ono (exh. cat.), New York: Japan Society, 2000; and Klaus Biesenbach (ed.), Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 (exh. cat.), New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2015.

  27. Oral History Interview with Izumi Tatsu, conducted by Kawai Daisuke, Watanabe Kurara and Miyata Yūka, 24 May 2014, Oral History Archives of Japanese Art, available at www.oralarthistory.org (last accessed on 11 January 2019).

  28. For documentary photographs of Izumi’s Events, see Yamada Satoshi and Mitsuda Yuri (ed.), Hai Reddo Sentā: Chokusetsu kōdō no kiseki/Hi-Red Center: The Documents of ‘Direct Action’ (exh. cat.), Nagoya: Nagoya City Art Museum et al., 2013, p.87.

  29. Miyata Kunio, ‘Hitsuyō nano wa naika de atte geka dewa nai’ (‘What we need is not surgery but internal medicine’) (1964), reprinted in Mitaya Y. and Kuroda S. (ed.), Naiqua Garō, op. cit., p.23.

  30. Oral History Interview with Kubota Shigeko, conducted by Tezuka Miwako, 11 October 2009, Oral History Archives of Japanese Art, available at www.oralarthistory.org (last accessed on 11 January 2019).

  31. Commonly known as Investigation Event in English, the Japanese title Shinsa ivento refers to the jury selection (shinsa) at salons and competitive exhibitions to select prize recipients. Thus, the better English title is Jury Event.

  32. For the event advert and translation, see my ‘Concerning the Institution of Art: Conceptualism in Japan’, in Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s–1980s (exh. cat.), New York: Queens Museum of Art, 1999, p.21.

  33. Conversation with Shinohara Ushio, 25 December 2018.

  34. For the development of Shinohara’s Pop style, see H. Ikegami, ‘Shinohara Pops! When Oiran Rides a Motorcycle, Wonder Woman Swings a Samurai Sword’, in H. Ikegami and R. Tomii, Shinohara Pops!, op. cit., pp.11–25.

  35. Shinohara Ushio, ‘From Oral History Interview (2008–9)’ (trans. R. Tomii), in H. Ikegami and R. Tomii, Shinohara Pops!, op. cit., p.107.

  36. Shinohara, ‘From Oral History Interview (2008–9),’ op. cit., p.107.

  37. One of them was a three-sheet colour silkscreen after Doll Festival.

  38. ‘Yamaguchi Mitsuko’ [obituary], Tokyo Research Institute for Cultural Properties, available at http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/bukko/28477.html (last accessed on 11 January 2019).

  39. For the museum construction boom, see my Radicalism in the Wilderness, op.cit., p.151.