Fergus McCaffrey is pleased to present a solo exhibition surveying a pivotal decade of bold and experimental work by Sadamasa Motonaga (1922–2011). This exhibition, on view at the gallery’s New York location from November 1 to December 21, 2018, focuses on Motonaga’s 1966–67 visit to New York, and the influence that experience had on his life and work.
In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Motonaga both participated in and broke free of Gutai activities, traveling to New York for a year in 1966–67 with his wife, artist Nakatsuji Etsuko; there Motonaga radically altered key philosophical and material components of his practice. Fergus McCaffrey’s presentation shows Motonaga at the crux of Japanese art’s postwar trajectory, transitioning from existential and modernist concerns, embodied in Gutai, toward a new style of apolitical visual expression that incorporated aspects of children’s art and the anime of Japanese popular culture, using painting techniques borrowed from custom car culture and the street. In so doing, Motonaga erased barriers between high and low art and won recognition for a new visual art language that Takashi Murakami would later call Superflat.