I was not trying to paint a painting, but trying to step out of painting. – Tadaaki Kuwayama
Japanese artist Tadaaki Kuwayama and wife Rakuko Naito moved to New York in 1958. Soon after both left behind their training in traditional nihonga painting to create works characterized by the pared-down, geometric vocabulary associated with the Minimalist ideas emerging at that time, joining a scene of artists that included Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and Dan Flavin. Kuwayama’s work of the mid-late 1960s used commercially available pigments, such as car paint or spray paint, to create monochromatic works of repeated elements. His use of aluminum frames further emphasized the physicality and modular nature of the canvas and reinforced his interest in a purified language of color and material. Kuwayama has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums such as Museum Folkwang, Essen; Institute of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; and SFMoMA, San Francisco. He won a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1969 and an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grant in 1986.