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 Shinohara Ushio  (1932 - )

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Lived/Active: New York / Japan      Known for: Neo Dada Japanese painting, performance, large-scale sculpture

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Hamilton Port, Bermuda
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Japanese born and living in New York City from the 1969s, Shinohara Ushio is a painter, sculptor and performance artist whose works "from the early 60s to the present are almost uniformly raucous and bawdy" (Kopkos) and make little attempt to discriminate between ugly and pretty. 

His reputation was that of the enfant terrible of Japan's art world at that time. I n Tokyo in the late 1950s, Ushio, who had studied had the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and who rebelled against its conservatism, was a Neo-Dada organizer.  He had a Mohawk hairdo and participated in performance events that reflected post-war Japanese culture, which was much focused on American life.  As a result, Ushio reflected the life of both countries in his artwork with subjects such as cowboys and geishas, and he lived cross-culturally, traveling often between the continents.

In Tokyo in 1960 and then revived in the 1990s, he did 'boxing paintings' by using boxing gloves to punch paint and ink onto canvas, "swinging his way down a canvas or a series of paper sheets."  This activity was then turned into a performance.  He also did 'action sculptures' or 'thunder sculptures', which were piles of junks that he slashed at ferociously.

Another genre was sculptures of motorcyles and riders, a result of a fellowship he got to travel in 1969 to America where he remained.  "Motorcycles became his expression of America."  However, his riders often were geishas.  He created the images out of found objects and made them garish, exaggerated and humorous.

In 1990, the creative work of Ushio Shinohara was the subject of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the Musuem of Modern Art in Kamakura, and in 2005, an exhibition, "Shinohara Ushio: Boxing Paintings and Motorcycle Sculptures", was at the same museum from September 17 to November 6.  Bilingual catalogues accompanied the shows.

Janet Koplos, "Report From Japan: Clamor and Quiet", Art in America, March 2006, pp. 59-61

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