Kazuo Shiraga at Mnuchin & Dominique Lévy

Kazuo Shiraga, T23 (Asahina Saburo-Wada Yoshihide) 1962 oil on canvas 64 1/8 x 5
Kazuo Shiraga, T23 (Asahina Saburo-Wada Yoshihide) 1962 oil on canvas 64 1/8 x 51 7/8 inches (courtesy of Mnuchin Gallery)

Robert C. Morgan reviews works by Kazuo Shiraga on view in two concurrent New York exhibitions: Kazuo Shiraga at Mnuchin Gallery (through April 11) and Body and Matter: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Satoru Hoshino at Dominique Lévy (through April 4).

Morgan notes that "Japanese scholar Koichi Kawasaki ... argues that Shiraga was the first East Asian counterpart to Jackson Pollock, with the crucial difference that Shiraga painted not with a stick or a brush, as did Pollock, but with his naked feet while supporting himself with a single rope that hung from the wall in his studio. ... To see Shiraga’s paintings is not about seeing a well-designed virtual display; rather it is about an intense physical and emotional experience. The comparison between the works of Pollock from the 1950s with those by Shiraga, such as 'Chibisei Walkyakuko' (1959) at the Mnuchin Gallery or 'Untitled' (1959) at Dominique Lévy, if such a comparison is possible, offers a possible distinction between East/West expressionist abstraction..."