Japanese Contemporary Art after 1989: Emergence of the Local in the Age of Globalization


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




This book examines Japanese contemporary art that negotiates and challenges the globally dominant cultural, economic, and political patterns encouraged by the West. The project frames art through the post-1980s generation that grew up in a materially saturated, urban-centered information society. Of particular interest are the unlikely ways consumerism got politicized by the communist entrepreneur Seiji Tsutsumi, the force behind the “Saison Culture” that introduced the original avant-garde, Russian constructivism, and other Utopian ideas to Japanese audiences together with nyûaka (post-structuralist) literature in the 1980s, which made artists more critically attuned. The book’s ultimate goal is to elucidate how contemporary Japanese artists responded to a series of natural and manmade disasters in the last 30 years, by incorporating homegrown principles into art in order to expand our understandings of the world.