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Genealogy of Anti-Museology or Cultural Revolution: The Invention of Gendaibijyutsushi(History of Contemporary Art and the Institutionalization of Art)

Sohyun Park 1

1영남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since the global trend of multiculturalism of the 1980s, the history of Japanese contemporary art has been typified and generalized as avant-garde art history with relation to Western art history. But such perspective doesn’t question art history itself as an institution of art and fundamentally covers up the conditions that art history itself has been constructed in. This paper is about the questions of how the aspect of art institution worked as conditions constructing the history of Japanese contemporary art and what it means. For arguing those questions, I less described the embryological chronicle of art institutions in Japan than focused on the artistic practices and critical discourses in the 1960s when every art institution in Japan was questioned skeptically and denied intensely. Especially the problem of art institution in Japan resulted in the conceptual opposition between Kindai bijyutsu(modern art) and Gendai Bijyutsu(contemporary art). So we cannot access the concepts of art history without thinking about the problem of art institution. Since the modernization of Japan, the key concept with regard to the problem of art institution has been the Kindai Bijyutsukan(museum of modern art), the art institution as an embodiment of Kindai Bijyutsukan in which the conceptual opposition between Kindai Bijyutsu and Gendai Bijyutsu developed was Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum established in 1926. In the 1960s, that museum where Yomiuri Angdepangdang(independent exhibition) was held was the stage of anti-museology. Because the anti-art artists who exhibited their works at the Yomiuri Angdepangdang questioned totally and protested the meaning of art institution fiercely. Their anti-art was antithesis against the Gadan(Japanese established art world) and its practice called as Kindai Bijyutsu staged at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and at the same time responded to the issues of Anpotōsō(struggle against the security pact) of their time. By doing that, their anti-museology developed to the practices of cultural 94 revolution, whose representative agents focused on in this paper were art critic Haryū Ichirō, Bikyōtō(artists joint-struggle coucil), and Hanbakukyōtōha(joint-struggle group against '70 world exposition). But the practices of cultural revolution were weakened and finally exhausted by the year of 1970, and in reality there was no political place in which their cultural revolution could be realized. Such a change led them another kind of practice constructing alternative art history as a critical artistic practice. Constructing new art history was on the assumption that art history included complications and cracks and could be an object of perpetual questions and debates. Also, since opposing to Kindai Bijyutsu of Gadan, their new art history was constructed with historical avant-garde movements or groups which appeared outside of Gadan and named as Gendaibijyutsushi(history of contemporary art). However, the boom of constructing art museum in the 1970s and the global multiculturalism in the 1980s made that Gendaibijyutsushi institutionalize as a part of the established art history. As a result of it, the historical context of antimuseology and cultural revolution was eliminated, and the conceptual opposition between Kindai Bijyutsu and Gendai Bijyutsu was dissolved into the chronicle of art history, though the practices of anti museology and cultural revolution strived to crack the established art history.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.