|Electric Dress (1956) by Atsuko Tanaka|
Lightning strikes twice in the best of Gutai art, first in the artist's honest confrontation with the material. (To fully appreciate Atsuko Tanaka's "Electric Dress" you need to see her wearing it, as she did in 1956.) Second, in the observer's direct experience of both the artist and the material. When you look at Tanaka's 1955 "Work" which is just plain yellow cloth, there is no sign of the artist's hand, no "aesthetic" value added. That absence throws you into direct contact with the material, the actual yellowness and clothness of it, and the mind that saw it as art. Hello!
"Gutai: Splendid Playground" runs through May 8 at the Guggenheim.
"Electric Dress" photo by Ito Ryoji
SANBASO photo by Enid Alvarez