Kitasono Katue: Surrealist Poet is currently on view at LACMA in the Pavillion for Japanese Art until Dec. 1


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is pleased to present the first U.S. exhibition of leading avant-garde artist of his generation in Japan, Kitasono Katue (Japan, 1902–1978). Kitasono Katue: Surrealist Poet highlights over eighty original photographs, paintings, and drawings, as well as many rare publications drawn from the collection of Los Angeles-based poet and scholar, John Solt. Among the works in the exhibition are all of Kitasono’s poetry collections, including his first, Album of Whiteness (1929). The exhibition, organized by Hollis Goodall, LACMA curator for Japanese Art, portrays Kitasono as a leading participant in visual as well as literary avant-garde movements during both pre- and post-war eras.

Kitasono Katue, La Disparition d’Honoré Subrac (オノレ・シュウブラック氏の減形)
(1960), collection of John Solt. © Hashimoto Sumiko. Used with permission.

Kitasono Katue (1902–1978) was the best known Japanese poet-artist in Europe and the US during the middle half of the 20th century. This is the first solo exhibit of his art outside Japan. Active from the mid-1920s as a pioneering avant-garde spirit, Kitasono made a priority of finding common ground with poets, artists and writers in Europe and the Americas. First entranced by Dadaism and Surrealism, he also thoroughly absorbed the ideas of Futurism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. His poems were often published in poetry and visual art journals, and he served as an editor and graphic designer for some of these, including the journal VOU, published from 1935 to 1940, and then again from 1945 until his death in 1978. Kitasono edited and designed more than 500 magazines and poetry books, and created numerous covers for novels, trade journals and commercial magazines. Plastic Poems, which fit in a category more broadly referred to as visual poetry, adorned many of his book covers; Kitasono began to produce Plastic Poetry after being inspired by the photographs done by members of the VOU group. In the last twelve years of his life, Kitasono continued to experiment with the limitless field of visual poetry, maintaining the clean form and finely conceived pairings of images seen in his earliest successful text poems.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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