This issue includes papers on the influence of art and ideas from Asia, and the critical potential of performance art at times of political anxiety. Other topics include the conservation of a vandalised Mark Rothko painting, twentieth-century British art and visual experience, and Jay DeFeo's 'hybrid abstraction'.
This paper describes the preparation of a ‘representative sample’ and the investigation and refining of the solvent system used to remove graffiti ink from Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon 1958 (Tate T01170), which was vandalised in 2012. The historical, technical and scientific research carried out led to the successful treatment of the painting, which was returned to display at Tate Modern in 2014.
In this article Joan Kee asks what motivated artists in South Korea to turn to performance in the late 1960s and 1970s during the oppressive regime of the Yushin, or ‘restoration’ government. By comparing the various approaches taken by different artists and groups, Kee examines the subtleties between action and inaction, considering what these both might mean during a period of political turmoil.
In this paper Majella Munro proposes that Zen can be applied as a transnational intellectual framework for the analysis of post-war art. This is tested on the work of the Swiss-born Brazilian artist Mira Schendel, a sensitive and conscientious recipient of Zen influence, in order to clarify her relationship to Zen concepts and practices, and to describe Zen’s contribution to the cultural diversity of Brazil.
During the twentieth century several important British artists began to paint features of visual experience rarely ever painted before, including subjective curvature, double vision and the body seen from the first person viewpoint. In doing so they broke with hundreds of years of pictorial convention, yet their experiments remain largely unrecognised.
Situating the US artist Jay DeFeo within a network of West Coast practitioners during the 1950s and 1960s, this essay shows how her relief paintings – layered with organic, geological and bodily referents – constitute what can be understood as ‘hybrid abstraction’. This has affinities with ‘eccentric abstraction’ and ‘funk art’, but also resonates with the socio-political context of Cold War America.
Focusing on the works of Tatsumi Hijikata, Günter Brus and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, this paper examines the representation of the male body in post-war performance, demonstrating that butoh in Japan and Viennese Actionism emerged from a cross-cultural exploration of modernist concepts of abjection.