One of the most well-known images of the Gutai movement in Japan is that of Saburo Murakami tearing through a row of large frames covered in paper. His Passing Through (1956) embodied the spirit of the group that believed artwork needed to break free from the canvas in order to speak to a new postwar generation. They used everyday objects, such as wood, light bulbs, smoke, sand—you name it—to express themselves and, at the time, were celebrated as revolutionaries. Nearly forgotten in the West after the death of their founder, Jiro Yoshihara, they are being celebrated again with the Guggenheim’s Gutai: Splendid Playground, the first U.S. museum retrospective ever devoted to the group and their impact on artists around the world. For even more artwork from postwar Japan, head over to MOMA, where the exhibition Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde is still running through February 25.
Mondays-Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: Feb. 15. Continues through May 8, 2013