Anarchy of the Body

Undercurrents of Performance Art in 1960s Japan

KuroDalaiJee

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How performance art in 1960s Japan formed a legacy of resistance against institutionalization
In Anarchy of the Body, art historian KuroDalaiJee sheds light on vital pieces of postwar Japanese avant-garde history by contextualizing the social, cultural, and political trajectories of artists across Japan in the 1960s. A culmination of years of research, Anarchy of the Body draws on an extensive breadth of source material to reveal how the practice of performance by individual artists and art groups during this period formed a legacy of resistance against institutionalization, both within the art world and more broadly in Japanese society. This book contains 256 high-quality reproductions, including rare performance photographs not readily accessible elsewhere, as well as a comprehensive chronology. KuroDalaiJee was awarded the 2010 Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists (criticism category) by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Art.

Contributors: Kurokawa Noriyuki (editor), Jason Beckman (copy-editor of the translation), Andrew Maerkle (translator), Shima Yumiko (translator), Alice Kiwako Ashiwa (editorial assistant), Daniel González (translator), Claire Tanaka (translator), Giles Murray (translator), Jenny Preston (translator)

Translated from the original Japanese edition published with Tokyo: Grambooks, 2010.

In cooperation with Art Platform Japan / The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan
Art Platform Japan is an initiative by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, to maintain the sustainable development of the contemporary art scene in Japan.


Translation Credits 
Notes on the Translation 

PROLOGUE UNDERGROUND CONSTELLATION 

PART I TOWARD A HISTORY OF ANTI -ART IN PERFORMANCE 

CHAPTER 1 THE NETHER REGIONS OF ART, ART HISTORY’S PRIVATE PARTS 
IS A HISTORY OF PERFORMANCE ART POSSIBLE?
1. The Aim and Structure of This Book 
2. Reviewing the History of Postwar Japanese Art 
3. The Exclusion of Politicality 
4. Is a History of Japanese Performance Art Possible? 
5. What Makes an Artist? Deviating from The Arts 
6. Upper-Echelon Courtiers, Bottom-Rung Samurai 
7. From Historical Uncertainties to Real, Shared Feelings 

CHAPTER 2 THE SPECTRUM OF BODILY EXPRESSION 
ACTIONS NOT YET NAMEABLE
1. “Artists in Action”—Through the Eyes of Yoshida Yoshie 
2. Bodily Expression in the 1960s 

CHAPTER 3 BEYOND ANTI-ART 
THE DESCENT INTO THE EVERYDAY AND ITS DIFFUSION
1. Performance Art and the Anti-Art Debates in Four Acts 
2. Act One: Tōno Yoshiaki in the Spotlight, 1960 
3. Act Two: Starring Miyakawa Atsushi, 1964 
4. Act Three: Ishiko Junzō, after 1967 
5. Act Four: Tone Yasunao, circa 1970 
6. Anti-Art Performance 

PART II THE EVOLUTION OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE 

CHAPTER 4 A PRE-HISTORY OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE 
FROM THE 1950S TO GUTAI
1. 1957 as a Starting Point 
2. 1970 as an End Point 
3. The Age of Kyūshū-ha and Zero Jigen 
4. Pre-history 1: MAVO 
5. Pre-history 2: Jikken Kōbō 
6. Pre-history 3: Gutai 

CHAPTER 5 WAVES OF DEMONSTRATION (1957–1959) 
ACTION INFORMEL
1. Shinohara Ushio: Action in the Mass Media 
2. Kudō Tetsumi: From Action to Body 
3. Kazakura Shō: Objet-ification of the Body 
4. Itoi Kanji and Unbeat: Organically Generated Action 
5. Kyūshū-ha: Farmers’ Festivities in the City 

CHAPTER 6 DIRECT ACTION AND ANTI-ART (1960–1963) 
FROM PUBLICITY TO PROVOCATION
1. A Youthful Spring of Happenings 
2. The Neo Dada Artists 
3. Unbeat’s Coming-of-Age 
4. Group Ongaku Meets the Artists Returning from the U.S. 
5. Intervention as Expression 
6. League of Criminals: Violating the Border of the Politics and Popular Culture 
7. VAN and Jikan-ha: Provoking the Audience 
8. The Launch of Hi-Red Center 
9. The Fieldwork of Mizukami Jun 
10. The Early Experiments of Zero Jigen 
11. The Middle Period of Kyūshū-ha: An Attempt at Audience Participation 
12. The Last Yomiuri Independent Exhibition 
13. The Beginnings of Joint Performance Events 
14. Interventions and Provocations 

CHAPTER 7 ONTO THE STREETS! AWAY FROM THE CAPITAL! (1964–1965) 
THE SPREAD OF ACTION-EXPRESSION
1. The Outskirts of Art 
2. Performance at Regional Independent Exhibitions 
3. A Watershed Moment: The Gifu Independent 
4. Into the Space of the City 
5. Joint Performance Events 
6. Artists at Crossroads 
7. Activities of Individual Artists 

CHAPTER 8 ANGURA CULTURE AND HAPPENINGS (1966–1968) 
THE RITUALISTS AT HIGH TIDE
1. Pre-Expo ’70: the Crossover between Angura and Intermedia 
2. The Spread of Intermedia Events 
3. A Stage Named Shinjuku 
4. Happenings Hit the Media 
5. Jack Society and the Public at Large 
6. The Mass Media Strategies of Chida Ui, Koyama Tetsuo, and Chiba Eisuke 
7. Ritualists, Assemble! 1: May Day and Other Outdoor Spaces 
8. Ritualists, Assemble! 2: The Stage of Low Culture 
9. The Ritualists’ Climax 1: Insanity Trade Fair (Honmoku-tei Theater) 
10. The Ritualists’ Climax 2: Grand Insanity Trade Fair (Iino Hall) 
11. Movements in Kansai: From Remandaran to The Play 
12. Quest for the Commune 
13. The Recognition and Spread of Happenings 

CHAPTER 9 THE VARIOUS ANTI-EXPOS (1969–1970) 
FROM REVOLT TO A REVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS
1. The Beginning of the End 
2. From Intermedia to Ibento (Event) 
3. The Rise and Fall of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 
4. The Aims of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 
5. The Rituals of Expo ’70 Destruction Joint-Struggle Group 
6. The “Suicide” of Collective Kumo 
7. Ibento Spread to Provincial Cities 
8. Challenging the Arts/Systems 
9. The Transformation of The Play 
10. A New Generation of Collective Action: From “Underground” into the Light of Day 
11. From the City into Nature: Toward Open, Fluid Spaces 
12. Anti-Art Artists after 1970 

CHAPTER 10 THE RISE AND FALL OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE 
FROM ACTION TO ACTIVISM
1. From “Public Demonstration” to “Publicity” to “Autonomous Performance” 
2. From “Intervention” to “Independence” to “Diffusion” 
3. From “Individual” to “Collective” to “Collective of Collectives” to “Network” 
4. From “Event” to Ibento 
5. New Social Spaces: The Street and the Mass Media 
6. Beyond the Political: Toward Cultural Reformation 
7. Anti-Art and Performance 
8. On the Development of Individual Artists and Groups 

PART III TRAJECTORIES OF ANTI-ART PERFORMERS 

CHAPTER 11 KYŪSHŪ-HA 
THE FOLK IN THE CITY
1. Kyūshū-ha and Anti-Art 
2. Early Period: Painting (1957–59) 
3. Middle Period 1: Objets (1960–61) 
4. Middle Period 2: Happenings and Installations (1962–64) 
5. Late Period (1965–68) 
6. The Avant-Garde in Transition: Farm Folk and Urban Masses 

CHAPTER 12 ASAI MASUO 
DREAMING OF REVOLUTION FROM THE BOTTOM
1. Pioneering the Commune 
2. Children as Subjects 
3. “Rise Up, Organizers of the Bottom Zenith!”: Revolution from the Far Margins 
4. Jōmon Festival 
5. After the Jōmon Festival 
6. Dreaming of Revolution from the Bottom Zenith 

CHAPTER 13 ZERO JIGEN 
BODIES REVOLTING AGAINST MODERNITY
1. A Zero Jigen Revival? 
2. Proto Zero Jigen (1960–62) 
3. Early Period (1963–64) 
4. Middle Period (1965–68) 
5. Anti-Expo (1969) 
6. Late Period (1970–72) 
7. Key Features of Zero Jigen’s Rituals 

CHAPTER 14 KUROHATA 
POLITICAL THEATER ON THE STREET
1. From Leftists to the Ritualists 
2. Religious Rituals and Political Theater 
3. Ascent and Demise 

CHAPTER 15 KOYAMA TETSUO 
A VISCERAL REBELLION
1. Jack Society 
2. “Dating” with Chida Ui 
3. Solo Career 
26 Contents

CHAPTER 16 KOKUIN 
THE SEARCH FOR A REVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
1. Secession from “Art” 
2. The Rituals of Kokuin 
3. Ever-Expanding Mind Revolution 

CHAPTER 17 WOMEN PERFORMERS 
CHALLENGE AND ISOLATION
1. Absent Entirely? Few in Number? Or Just Underestimated? 
2. The Erasure of the Body: Tanaka Atsuko, Ono Yōko, Shiomi Mieko 
3. Challenge to Femininity: Kishimoto Sayako, Chida Ui, Tabe Mitsuko 
4. Gender, Underground 

CHAPTER 18 ITOI KANJI 
DADAIST DEVOTEE
1. The Legend of Itoi 
2. Spiritual Life of the Wartime Generation 
3. Body of Steel 
4. The Plastic Arts as Shumi (1951–62) 
5. From Objet to Action (1962–64) 
6. The Evolution and End of Action (1966–70) 
7. The Performance of Itoi Kanji 
8. The Voices of Rage Now Quiet 

CHAPTER 19 COLLECTIVE KUMO 
THE TOTAL NEGATION OF EXPRESSION
1. The Logic of Negation 
2. First Period: From Zelle to the Spider Uprising 
3. Second Period: From the Kokura Happening to Crazy Grand Rally of the Three Deformed Sects 
4. Third Period: From Anti-Competition Actions to the Denshūkan High School Struggle 
5. Fourth Period: The Obscenity Trial 
6. From Body to Concept 
7. Ecstasy 

PART IV THE SPIRIT OF ANTI-ART PERFORMANCE 

CHAPTER 20 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE BODY 
RITUALS IN SECULAR SPACE
1. The Nether Regions of the Body 
2. Secular Space: The City and The Media 
3. Performance as Ritual 
4. Why Ritual
5. Memories of Traditional Body Culture 

CHAPTER 21 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE CITY 
FROM SUKIMA TO ANGURA
1. Lost Rituals, Ritual Losses 
2. Shinjuku: Big Niche in the Big City 
3. The Nether Regions of the City: Earth, Garbage, and Body 

CHAPTER 22 THE NETHER REGIONS OF CULTURE 
MARGINAL ART AND THE QUEST FOR POPULARITY
1. Marginal Art 
2. The Masses in the Post-Anpo Period 
3. Kitsch as a Popular Aesthetic 
4. From Popularity to Anti-Art 

CHAPTER 23 THE NETHER REGIONS OF THE POLITICS 
UNDERCURRENTS OF REVOLT
1. The Generation of Anti-Art Performers and Their Political Action 
2. The Political Experience of the Artists 
3. The Ethics of Apolitical Revolt 
4. “Direct Action” in the Media 
5. From “Art and Politics” to “The Politics of Art” 
6. Anarchy of the Body 
7. The City and Asphalt 

Afterword for Myself 
Another Afterword, Twelve Years On 

Groups mentioned throughout the book 
Chronology 
Bibliography 
Illustration credits 
Index of Subjects 
Index of Names 

Format: Monograph - ebook

752 pages

B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9789461665027

Publication: March 20, 2023

Languages: English

KuroDalaiJee is an art historian in Japan. He earned his MA in art history from University of Tokyo in 1985.