It is a great sadness to report the passing of Tadaaki Kuwayama.
Tadaaki Kuwayama graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1956, having studied nihonga, a traditional form of Japanese painting. Together with his wife, artist Rakuko Naito, he came to the United States in 1958, at a similar time as Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. After settling in New York, Kuwayama eschewed both traditional Japanese painting and Abstract Expressionism, which dominated contemporary art, and instead, associated with Minimalists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd. Kuwayama soon developed his own distinctive reductive style, typified by vivid fields of paint juxtaposed in horizontal and vertical compositions, as well as monochromatic canvases bisected by thin strips of chrome.
Through the 1960s, Kuwayama both refined his painting practice and began to explore three-dimensionality, creating painted wood-and-paper floor pieces and incorporating industrial materials to make work that was free from any trace of the artist’s hand.
Kuwayama has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues such as Institute of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Nagoya, Ingolstadt, Germany and National Museum of Art. His work has been presented in group shows at the Guggenheim Museum, (in the renowned Systemic Painting exhibition, 1966) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute.