Tatsuo Ikeda was a Japanese artist who became known for his collection of drawings inspired by his experiences during World War II. Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, presents an exhibition of portraits by two of Britain’s leading figurative painters: Frank Auerbach and Tony Bevan. “Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop” will be on view from March 28, 2021, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Tatsuo Ikeda, Creator of Disquieting Works About the Toll of War, Has Died at 92
December 11, 2020 Via artnews.com
Tatsuo Ikeda died in November at the age of 92. During his career as an artist he created beautiful, somber-looking drawings inspired by his experiences during World War II. Ikeda was born on August 25, 1928, in Saga Prefecture, Japan.
The news was announced by Ikeda’s gallery, Fergus McCaffrey, which has locations in New York, Tokyo and St. Ikeda was a leading Japanese artist who became known for his collection of drawings: Anti-Atomic Bomb, Chronicle of Birds and Beasts, and Genealogy of Monsters.
Ikeda was selected as a kamikaze pilot in 1943, but luckily for the art world he was not sent on a last suicide flight before the end of the war. After that painful experience, Ikeda moved to Tokyo where he studied at Tama Art University. There he later joined the Vanguard Art Study Group of Taro Okamoto and Kiyoteru Hanada.
The three Japanese artists formed the “Seisakusha Kondankai” producers’ discussion group that searched to create a new realism by distancing itself from the legacy of Social Realism. Ikeda had begun with the Ude proletarian movement in 1953, which was inspired by surrealism.
Ikeda’s early drawings reflected the artist’s anti-war perspective. They were produced in the early 1950s in muted colors, black and white. These early drawings depicted strange and menacing creatures that seemed to allude to the atrocities of war and the corrupt powers of nationalism.
The use of the beaches of the Japanese village of Uchinada as a firing range and the U.S. military’s testing of thermonuclear bombs in the Pacific served as catalysts for Ikeda’s next series. These included works completed between 1955 and 1960 as Genealogy of Monsters, An Album of Birds and Beasts, and One Hundred Masks.
Ikeda painted portraits for Americans stationed at bases in Japan to support himself economically. Between 1963 and 1964 he created the “Elliptical Space” series inspired by the signing of the U.S.-Japanese Treaty on Cooperation and Security.
Between 1966 and 1970 he explored surrealist themes in his “Toy World” series. In 1973, he began working on the “Brahman” series, for which he adopted a contemplative and philosophical approach. In recent years Ikeda has shown his work at MOCA Hiroshima in Japan, the Museum of Modern Art and Fergus McCaffrey in New York and the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, among others.
Exhibition of works by Frank Auerbach and Tony Bevan opens at Ben Brown Fine Arts
December 12, 2020 – Via artdaily.com
Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, presents an exhibition of portraits by two of Britain’s leading figurative painters, “Frank Auerbach / Tony Bevan: What Is A Head?”
This exhibition curated by Michael Peppiatt is based on another exhibition organized in 1998 by the same Peppiatt at the Maillol Museum in Paris under the title “L’Ecole de Londres de Bacon à Bevan”. It traced the influence of Bacon, Freud, Auerbach and Kossoff on the new generation of figurative artists in London.
Bevan and Auerbach, even though they are a generation apart, they share a fascination for the conceptual and pictorial possibilities of reinventing heads. For both artists, the head is the center that controls everything we do. Between confrontation of impulse and containment; instinct and order; spontaneity and discipline; this world is full of contradictions. Yet for both, it remains the main vessel of human life.
In Auerbach, you can see the image rising through the painting. These evoke struggle, exhaustion, a fire that burns forever in the thick layers of paint. Bevan explores his internal structure as an unknown space, an experimental architecture. The differences and similarities on the same subject seem to establish a dialogue between generations. But also within the way we see painting, as a constantly evolving vision of human consciousness.
A head can contain a whole world, can be the place of existence itself, and simultaneously a complete mystery. We can perhaps say that it contains everything that we are and everything that we can know and even our limits.
The head can also serve as a mirror of the history of art in all its splendor. For the way it is represented has changed constantly over the years. Even after centuries of representation there seems to be plenty of material left for contemporary artists to explore.
In Bevan and Auerbach there is as much to differentiate them as there is to unite them. Though they are a generation apart, they share fascination with all the conceptual and pictorial possibilities of reinventing heads.
In 1963, a Group of Black Photographers in Harlem Decided to Build Their Own Art Ecosystem
December 9, 2020 – Via artnet.com
The image below seems to be the most famous photograph of the Kamoinge collective. It was taken when 14 members of the seminal collective gathered in front of a blank background. “Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop” will be on view from March 28, 2021, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The Kamoinge collective was part of the Kamoinge Workshop, founded by an enterprising group of black artists in New York almost 60 years ago. The group was created in Harlem as a space for photographers to collaborate with each other. The concept that brought this group together is in their name. It is based on the Kikuyu (a Bantu ethnic group native to Central Kenya) word which means “a group of people acting together”.
Carrie Springer was the curator who helped organize the exhibition about the work and legacy of the Kamoinge Workshop that is now on display at the Whitney Museum. “For me, this photograph captures the energy and spirit of the group as a whole, but it also gives you a glimpse into their individual personalities and styles,” said Springer.
Entitled “Working Together”, the exhibition includes about 140 photographs of the group members taken throughout the 1960s and 1970, as they explored photography within the flowering Black Arts Movement.
Springer adapted the exhibition from an earlier version organized earlier this year by Sarah Eckhardt at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). “The photos are the main legacy of the workshop, but not much beyond that are its achievements behind the camera. Their self-organizing, long-standing commitment to their communities, and centering of Black experiences and audiences in their art,” said Springer.
Kamoinge’s inaugural members included Albert Fennar, Herb Randall, Shawn Walker and Louis Draper. This group merged from two groups of black photographers in 1963. They were all aware about the barriers that prevented black photographers from having a voice in mainstream communication.
“With all the untapped talent amidst [the group’s members], there was no reason why it should not be developed and expressed. Thus, it is valid to state that the Kamoinge Workshop, while operating within an arena of negation, was primarily forged in an atmosphere of hope and not despair.” Draper recalled.
Draper, a historian, professor and ambassador of the group, was a particularly instrumental figure in shaping the vision of the workshop as it evolved. He brought in Langston Hughes, who lived in Draper’s building, as a consultant. Later Hughes introduced the group to the pioneering photographer Roy DeCarava, who became the first director of Kamoinge. Draper also brought numerous artists into the fold, including Ray Francis, Daniel Dawson and Ming Smith.
It was through Draper’s work that Eckhardt was introduced to the workshop 50 years after it was formed. In 2012, Draper’s sister brought a box of his works to the VMFA hoping the institution would be interested in acquiring his rich archive, and the VMFA did. “She opened for me this box of photographs, and they were just stunning, amazing images, I immediately ran down the hall and got the chief curator,” Eckhardt said.