The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
As early as the 1950s the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York City was
challenging the conventional art world by exhibiting works of Abstract Expressionism
and Pop Art. Jackson was especially interested in bringing artists to her
gallery who were still unknown in the United States. One of these was Jiro
Yoshihara (1905-1972), a founder of abstract painting in Japan and leader
of the Gutai (literal translation: "Concrete"; "Embodiment") Art Association.
Based in Osaka, Gutai was founded in 1954 by 18 young Japanese artists, one
of several avant-garde art groups that sprang up in Japan following World
War II. Entirely independent of similar movements elsewhere in the Western
art world, the group nevertheless developed along parallel tracks with these
other groups. They questioned everything about art—even whether form
existed—and went beyond the canvas surface to performance art, kinetic
art, and light art. Their journal Gutai, which was
seen internationally, brought them recognition from art circles around the
world, not only that of Martha Jackson, but of painters in the United States
and Europe such as Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, Georges Mathieu, and the
critic Michel Tapié. When Jiro Yoshihara died suddenly in the early
1970s, the Gutai Art Association disbanded. Recent years, however, have seen
a resurgence of interest.
Southgate MT. To Martha's Memory. JAMA. 2001;286(17):2064. doi:10.1001/jama.286.17.2064