Late Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo is sort of like the pinball-ish game pachinko: While hugely popular in Japan and select other places on the map, he just never took off in America. Sure, some American art scholars can talk about his impact on postwar art movements. But despite the 18 years since his death, and his decades-long career, the Walker's exhibit "Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis" is the artist's first solo show in America. For it, Walker curator Doryun Chong worked with Kudo's widow, Hiroko, to put together a collection showing off Kudo's entire radical career, including room-size installations, sculpture, drawings, and paintings. Kudo was influential largely for his willingness to throw his traditional art education out the window in favor of using everyday objects in strange ways. His innovation is recognized just by reading the media list on his 1966 work Your Portrait, which consists of a model of a man sitting in a box: painted wood case, cage, cotton, plastic, polyester, chains, receipts, tram tickets, condom. How did America take on pass on art like that?! Thank goodness the Walker is here to introduce us to what Europe and Japan were digging from 1956-86. Better late than never. Curator Doryun Chong discusses the show at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 23.
Oct. 18-Jan. 11, 2008