Gutai & the Unraveling of Linear Modernism

Kazuo Shiraga Untitled, 1961, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches (courtesy of Ever Gold Projects)
Kazuo Shiraga Untitled, 1961, acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches (courtesy of Ever Gold Projects)

John Held, Jr. considers Japanese Gutai and its influences and impact in light of three San Francisco exhibitions: Kazuo Shiraga & Kour Pour: Earthquakes And the Mid Winter Burning Sun at Ever Gold Projects (through March 18), Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, et al.:Beyond Matter at Gagosian San Franciso (through March 18), and Japanese Art of the 1970’s and 80’s, Works from the Gallery and Bay Area Collections at Don Soker Contemporary Art (through February 25).

The shows help demonstrate, Held writes, that "[c]ontrary to longstanding belief, Modernism did not arise solely in Europe, nor did it unfold, as is also commonly believed, in a linear fashion. Rather, it was a swarm of conceptual meanderings taking place across the globe."