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Naoto Nakagawa

 (born 1944)
Naoto Nakagawa is active/lives in New York.  Naoto Nakagawa is known for Pop-Art, hyper realist, and botanical painting.

Naoto Nakagawa

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Naoto Nakagawa
Naoto Nakagawa (1944-)

Born in Kobe, Japan in 1944, he immigrated to New York City in 1962.  Nakagawa developed a modernist style, ranging from Pop Art to hyper-realist.  In the 1970s, he moved to Vermont, and his work began to reflect his studies of nature.  He states: " Nature has been my subject for a long time.  In my early work I painted man-made objects.  After emigrating to the United States from Japan in 1962 at the age of 18, I became fascinated by the abundance of consumer products, particularly machines.  My work was influenced and stimulated by the Neo-Dadaist movement and Pop Art.  I was painting realistic still-lifes of consumer objects, such as rusted automobile engines, electric drills, blenders, and lawn mowers, all sorts of machines that are extensions of man.

When I moved to Vermont, in 1975, I was re-acquainted with the kind of raw nature that I had experienced growing up in the countryside of Japan, full of wonderment at the creative power of nature's drama that surrounded me.  My connection to nature is rooted in my childhood; its ever-changing phases, and its mystery, inside of me. In Vermont I started to paint close-ups of grass, flowers, leaves and trees." (

Nakagawa moved back to New York City in 1979.
His paintings have been widely exhibited, starting in 1968.  He has participated in numerous group shows at, among others, The Guggenheim Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Venice Biennale in 2005.  His work is included in many public and private collections in the USA, Europe and Japan, including the New York Museum of Modern Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Worcester Museum, and The National Museums of Modern Art in Osaka and in Kyoto.  The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, Nakagawa has taught and lectured at Columbia University and Parsons School of Design.  He has been a guest lecturer at The Museum of Modern Art, NY, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, The Japan Society, NY and the Portland Museum, OR.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2008 Tamada Projects, Tokyo, Japan
2007 White Box, New York, NY "Triple X:Extended, Exploded, Extracted" NAOTO NAKAGAWA 1965-1975 (Curated by Eric Shiner with catalogue essays by Alexandra Munroe, John Pereault and Eric Shiner)
2006 "Works on Paper," Tamada Projects, Tokyo, Japan
2005 Tamada Projects, Tokyo, Japan
2004 Holly Snapp Gallery, Venice, Italy (Catalogue essay by Dore Ashton)
2004 Tamada Projects, Tokyo, Japan
2000 The Cooper Union Humanities Gallery, New York, NY (Curated and with an essay by Dore Ashton)
1999 Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, NC (Essay by Gail Levin)
1996 Nielsen Gallery, Boston, MA (Catalogue essays by Tadao Ogura and John Perreault)
1991 Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (Catalogue essay by Dore Ashton)
1982 Kasahara Gallery, Osaka, Japan
Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (Catalogue essays by Rand Castile & Yoshiaki Inui)
1978 Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1968 "The Extended Object and Its Image," Judson Memorial Church Gallery, New York, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2009 - 2010  Trick Art / Trick Art no Sekai, Toyohashi City Museum, Japan: traveled to Hokkaido-Kushiro Museum, Mie Prefecture Museum, Fukuyama Museum, Sonpo Japan Togo Seiji Museum, Nagano Prefecture Shinano Museum, Miyazaki Pre-fecture Museum, Yato City Museum.
2008 "CIGE" Arts Fair, Beijing, China
2008 "Scope" Arts Fair, New York. Ethan Cohen Fine Art
2007 Miami Basel: Arthaus
2007 ACAF: Asian Contemporary Art Fair, New York
2007 "The World of Trick Art" Takasaki City Museum, Japan
2007 "The World of Trick Art" Kita Kyushu City Museum, Japan
2006 "The World of Trick Art" Takasaki City Museum, Japan
2005 Istanbul Biennale, "Two Continents and Beyond: Waterways" An official independent project of 9th Istanbul Biennale, curated by Renee Vara and Asli Sumer
2005 Venice Biennale, "Poles Apart, Poles Together" A project of the International Artists' Museum and White Box. NY
2005 Venice Biennale, "Waterways" A socially conscious art installation produced by Vara Global Fine Arts, NY
2001 "Selected Work from the Permanent Collection," Ohita City Museum, Japan
2000 The International Asian Art Fair, Ethan Cohen Fine Art, New York
1998 "Works on Paper," Tamada Projects Co., Tokyo, Japan
1997 "Works on Paper," Tamada Projects Co., Tokyo, Japan
1994-5 "Scream Against the Sky: Japanese Art Since 1945" San Francisco Museum of Modern Art & Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA; Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York, NY; Yokohama Museum, Yokohama, Japan. Exhibition book by Alexandra Munroe (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1994)
1993 "Works on Paper: Lyric with an Edge," Victoria Munroe Fine Art, New York, NY
"Celestial," Lobby Exhibition, Champion International Co., Stamford, CT
1992 "Drawings," Victoria Munroe Fine Art, New York, NY
"In the Spirit of Landscape," Invitational, Nielsen Gallery, Boston, MA
1991 "Drawings," Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center, New York, NY; Great Wall Gallery, Toronto, Canada
1990 "The Silent Dialogue: Still Life in the West and Japan," Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan
1989 "Eighty Masterpieces from the Fukuoka Museum," Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
"Contemporary Japanese Art in America (1): Arita, Nakagawa, Sugimoto," Japan Society Gallery, New York, NY. (Catalogue essays by Alexandra Munroe; Toshio Hara; Patterson Sims)
1986 "Eminent Immigrants," New House Gallery, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, NY. Curated by John Perrealt
1982 "Contemporary American Realism since 1960," organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Travelled to The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA; Museo Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; Salas de Esposiciones de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain; Kunsthalle, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nurenberg, Germany
1981 "Real, Really Real, Super Real: Directions in Contemporary American Realism," organized by the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX. Travelled to The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolos, IN; The Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; The Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
1980 "Contemporary Asian Art Show," Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan
1979 "The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum," Summit Art Center, Summit, NJ
1977 "The Chosen Object: European and American Still Life," Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nabraska
1976 "The Presence and Absence in Realism," Brainard Hall Art Gallery, State University College at Potsdam, NY; Wichita State University, Wichita, KS; "Midyear Show;" Butler Institute of American Art,
Youngstown, OH
1973 "Japanese Artists in the Americas," organized by the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto and The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Travelled to both museums.
1970 "Toward a New Metaphysics," Allen Frumkin Gallery, New York, NY
1969 "West Side Artists," Goddard Riverside Auditorium, New York, NY
"Young Artists from Around the World," Union Carbide Building, New York, NY
1968 "Beyond Literalism," Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1968 Museum of Modern Art, Art Lending Gallery, New York, NY

Selected Public Collections:
Lester Avnet Foundation, New York
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Bell Telephone Company, Chicago, IL
Choritsu Kakunodate Museum, Akita, Japan
Frederick Weisman Collection
Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
Fukuyama Museum, Hiroshima, Japan
Morgan Stanley Company, Ltd.
Meguro Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Osaka City Museum, Osaka, Japan
Oita City Museum, Kyushu, Japan
Takamatsu Museum, Shikoku, Japan
The Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
The National Museum of Modern Art, Osaka, Japan
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
The Phillips Collection
The Spencer Foundation
Worcester Museum, Worcester, MA

Aiko, Kenji New York's Young Japanese Artist: Naoto Nakagawa. Bijutsu Techno, June, 1968: pp. 162-165
Anonymous "Naoto Nakagawa," Bijutsu Techno, June, 1991
"Realist Who Knows Abstraction: Naoto Nakagawa," Bijutsu Techno, interview by the editorial staff, January, 1983
"Eighty Masterpieces from the Fukuoka Art Museum," Catalogue, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan, 1989
"The Silent Dialogue: Still Life in the West and Japan," Catalogue, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum, Japan, 1990
Ashton, Dore "Beyond Literalism, But Not Beyond the Pale." Arts Magazine, November, 1968
"Naoto Nakagawa." Catalogue essay, Fuji TV Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1991
Battcock, Gregory, (Ed.) "Super Realism: A Critical Anthology" (New York, NY: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1975)
Boothe, Meredith Sally et al. " Real, Really Real, Super Real: Directions in Contemporary American Realism" (San Antonio, TX: The San Antonio Museum of Art, 1981)
Brenson, Michael "Three Japanese Artists in Search of a World Language." The New York Times, Sunday, May 24, 1987
Caldwell, Sheridan "For Artist Naoto Nakagawa, Painting is a Solitary Experience." The Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro, VT, July 13, 1977
Castile, Rand "Absorbing the Shock of the West," ARTnews, September 1981
Catalogue essay, Fuji TV Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; and Kasahara Gallery, Osaka, Japan, 1982
Cohen, Joan Lebold Asian Art News, April/May, 1996
Orientations Magazine, June 1995
Cotter, Holland "Arita, Nakagawa and Sugimoto." Art in America, Nov. 1987
Finkelstein, Alix "40 years of Explosive Color" The New York Sun, VOL.122, March 2-4, 2007
Forgey, Benjamin "A New Kind of Surrealism," Washington Evening Star, December 21, 1970.
Goodyear, Frank H. "Contemporary American Realism Since 1960" (Philadelphia, PA: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1981)
Gomez, Edward M. Art review, The Japan Times, August 17, 1987
Indiana, Gary "Eminent Immigrants," The Village Voice, July 8, 1986
"Transcendental Meditation," The Village Voice, June 16, 1987
Inui, Yoshiaki Catalogue essay, Fuji TV Gallery, Tokyo, Japan & Kasahara Gallery, Osaka, Japan, 1982
"Contemporary Asian Art Show: Part II," The Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
"The Art of Tomorrow," Vol. 18 of Gendai nihon no bijutsu (Contemporary Japanese Art).
(Tokyo: Shogakukan Publishing Company, 1980)
Koplos, Janet "Naoto Nakagawa," Art in America, April 1994
Koslow Miller, Francine Artforum, September, 1996
Lorber, D. Martin H. "The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum" (Summit, NJ: Summit Art Center, 1979)
Lucie-Smith, Edward "ARTODAY," London: Phaidon Press, 1995, p. 409, plate 451
Lutfy, Carol "Naoto Nakagawa." ARTnews, September 1991
Maniaci, Cara Art review, The Tufts Daily, March 14, 1996
Matsumura, Yoshio "Baroque Realism." Sankei Shimbun, October 22, 1982
McAdams, Shane Naoto Nakagawa at White Box and Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, The Brooklyn Rail, April 2007
McAdams, Shane "The dualities, and dual exhibitions, of Naoto Nakagawa" Chelsea now, March 23-29, 2007
Munroe, Alexandra "Scream Against the Sky: Japanese Art Since 1945." (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994)
"Contemporary Japanese Art in America (1): Arita, Nakagawa, Sugimoto," Exhibition catalogue (New York, NY: Japan Society Gallery, 1987)
"Japanese Artists in NYC." WINDS: The Inflight Magazine of JAL, August 1986
Ogura, Tadao "Naoto Nakagawa: White Angel" Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art Newsletter, November 1, 1974
"Naoto Nakagawa." Yomiuri Shimbun, November 20, 1982
Tomii, Reiko "Naoto Nakagawa as a New York Artist" "MAKING A HOME" Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York, Exhibition catalog 2007
Ota, Tomoo "Profile of an International Person of Prominence," Yomiuri Newspaper, Tokyo, October 27, 1999
Perrault, John "New Life for Still Life." The Soho Weekly News, April 12, 1979
"New Wrinkles in Realism: Posen and Nakagawa." The Village Voice, March 14, 1974
"Lies That Art True." The Village Voice, February 20, 1969
"Beyond Literalism." Art International, January 1969
Preston, Malcolm "Naoto Nakagawa: Paintings on Exhibit at Obelisk Gallery."Boston Herald Traveller, January 16, 1971
Ratcliff, Carter "New York Letter." Art International, March 20, 1972
Roth, Ikuko Art review, Asahi News, November 15, 1994
Scott, Margaret Art review, The Wall Street Journal, March 16, 1994
Segi, Shinichi "Hansha no aru seibutsu." ("Still Life in Reflection"). Shukan Post, January 1, 1988
Simko, Alison The Battery Park City Broadsheet, Volume 11 Number 5
Shapiro, Michael "Painter Naoto Nakagawa." Manhattan Catalog Magazine, Spring & Summer 1990
Shepard, Joan "Modern Japanese Art in America." Daily News, June 19, 1987
Smith, Icy (Editor) "Voices of Healing: Spirit and Unity after 9/11 in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community." A project by Organization of Chinese Americans (Gardena, CA: East West Discovery Press, 2004)
Tsuda, Margaret "Arranged Realism." The Christian Science Monitor, August 19, 1987
Vanderlip, Diane Perry and John Perrault "Beyond Literalism." (Philadelphia, PA: Moore College of Art, 1968)
Wyley, Campbell "West Side Artists." Exhibition brochure (New York, NY: Goddard Riverside Auditorium, 1969)
Yoshimoto, Midori "Naoto Nakagawa: Triple X:Extended, Exploded, Extracted" and "Scream of Nature" Art Asia Pacific,NO.55 Sept/Oct. 2007
Zaller, Robert "Naoto Nakagawa paintings in New York: The artist as interrogator"Broad Street Review, Philadelphia, PA. April 13, 2007

Media Interviews:
Fuji Television, Japan. "Television Museum: Nakagawa Naoto: The World of a Realist Painter." Interview with Nakagawa by Namiko Matsumura, October 24,1982
Fuji Television, Japan. Interview with Nakagawa, April 1991.
Manhattan Cable Television. "Art at Issue: Midnight Muse."
Interview with Nakagawa by Gail Levin, December 6, 1985
National Public Radio. "Heat." Interview by John Hockenberry, March 5, 1990

Teaching Positions & Lectures:
Portland Art Museum, Oregon, 2007
Japan Society, New York 2007
Massachusetts College of Art, Mass 2006
Columbia University, Adjunct Professor, School of Visual Arts, 1996-1999
Parsons School of Design, Adjunct Professor, Foundation and Fine Arts Departments, 1996 - Present
Panelist, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1998
"Kusama in New York: The 1960s"
Panelist, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1995
"Scream Against the Sky: Japanese Art Since 1945"
Artist's Talk, Asia Society, New York, 1995
Guest Lecturer, Sarah Lawrence College, 1993, 1994
Guest Lecturer, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi Campus, 1993
Panelist, Japan Society Gallery, New York, 1988
"Contemporary Japanese Art in America (1): Arita, Nakagawa, Sugimoto"
Pratt Art Institute Seminar, 1985
Windham College, Art Professor 1976-1978
Windham College Summer Landscape Painting Course,
Small Point, Maine 1977, 1978, 1979

Information provided by Richard Reiss

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About  Naoto Nakagawa

Born:  1944 - Kobe, Japan
Known for:  Pop-Art, hyper realist, and botanical painting