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Action Painting Street Battle! Ushio Shinohara vs. Ryoga Katsuma

Ethan Cohen Fine Arts
18 Jay Street, between Hudson and Greenwich, 212-625-1250
Tribeca / Downtown
May 23 - June 24, 2006
Reception: Wednesday, May 24, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

The emerging Japanese action painter Ryoga Katsuma challenges the grand-champion of Boxing Painting, Ushio Shinohara. At age 74, Mr. Shinohara is the legendary Boxing Painter and was a core member of Neo Dada (initially “Neo Dadaism Organizers”), one of the most radical avant-garde collectives in postwar Japan.

Shinohara’s motifs are everyday objects, such as junk, motorcycle, mass media-related objects and all symbols of modern society. In 1963, Shinohara created the series of “Imitation Art,” in which he “imitated” the Neo-Dada and Pop Art masterpieces, such as Jasper Johns’ Three Flags and Robert Rauschenberg’s Coca-Cola Plan.

Shinohara first performed his Boxing Painting in1959, and William Klein was among the first photographers to document Boxing Painting performances. Since 1969, Shinohara has been based in DUMBO in Brooklyn, New York.

In “Action Painting Street Battle!” the young challenger Katsuma freely draws and paints on canvas It is Katsuma’s special talent to have both a child’s free spirit and an accomplished painter’s hand.

“Action Painting Battle!” will be held on Jay Street in TriBeCa, blocked for the occasion, and our guest judges, including Dr. Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator from Guggenheim Museum, and Juan Puntes, the Founding Director of White Box, will judge the battle and name the champion of Action Painting!

During this performance and exhibition, the recent works by Shinohara and Katsuma will be exhibited.

The exhibition will also include a selection of the Tokyo-based photographer Minoru Hirata’s works that documented Ushio Shinohara’s early performances. With this segment of the exhibition, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts launches the “Art Archeology Project,” a long-term archival project which aims to preserve ephemeral art works documented by photography, and to foster the understanding of the diverse and rich history of Japanese avant-garde performances in the 1960s. The project was conceived and proposed by Dr. Reiko Tomii, an independent art historian who specializes in post-1945 Japanese art and a co-founder of PoNJA-GenKon, a scholarly listserv group.
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