I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to present the work of Shigeki Kitani in New York for the very first time. The 33 pieces gathered here cover the full range of this extraordinary art- ist’s early career and in particular his fifteen years of involvement with the Gutai movement, which played such a central role in the development of the postwar Japanese avant-garde. Soon after his graduation in 1952 from a conservative art-college training, Kitani came under the spell of Jirō Yoshi- hara, the charismatic, radical co-founder of the Gutai Art Association. Still only 25 years old, Kitani would not become an official member of Gutai until 1965 but his own artistic grouping at the time, the Osaka Circle of the Free Art Association, had a similar ideology: opposition to conservatism and subservience and a denial of the “deceptions and errors” of existing artistic organizations.
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