• MoMA, Floor 4, 408 The David Geffen Wing

The occupation of Japan by the United States following World War II intensified the cultural exchange between the former enemies. The Americans officially left in 1952, but the dialogue continued, fostered by exhibitions, periodicals, and travel. Artists in both nations sought to create an art that—in its subject matter, materials, and making—was closely intertwined with daily life, in contrast to the heroic gestural paintings garnering attention at the time.

The Japanese group Gutai rejected art as a vehicle for the individual psyche or humanist values, focusing instead on engaging with materials through physical actions—by shoveling paint across a canvas, for example—often in front of audiences. Gutai artists and their peers incorporated elements from their surroundings, which bore signs of postwar devastation and rapid economic growth. In the United States, artists interested in the everyday combined found objects with traditional art materials in “assemblages.” They challenged the mythology of the sole creator by relying on collaboration, including with viewers, to realize their works.

19 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].