Tetsumi Kudo

By: Gary Panter
February 23, 2015


The poisonous radiation from America’s 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki produced endless mutations throughout the work and life of Japanese artist TETSUMI KUDO (1935–90). The 1964 work shown here consists of a scorched canvas beach chair dripping gelatinous material; the remnants of a polka-dot bikini, free-floating eyeballs and feet of ash; and, where the beachgoer’s head might have been, a giant insect-eggsac brain. His catastrophic collage boxes and birdcages (perhaps inspired by Joseph Cornell’s chillier oeuvre) are inhabited by sickly plants, spores, snails, circuitry, penises, tiny people, indecipherable signage, and combinations thereof; they are nightmare terrariums bearing poison glowing fruit. In addition to his assemblages and sculptures — innumerable lonely day-glo mutant creatures — Kudo’s drawings, paintings, and knitting raised ecological-technological alarms, about a coming disaster he fervently hoped we’d avoid.

HILO HERO ITEMS by GARY PANTER: Tadanori Yokoo | Peter Saul | Yasuji Tanioka | H.C. Westermann | Öyvind Fahlström | Cal Schenkel | Eduardo Paolozzi | Tod Dockstader | Yayoi Kusama | Walter Lantz | Richard Lindner | Shigeru Sugiura | Todd Rundgren | Yoshikazu Ebisu | Jim Nutt | Judy Henske | Tod Dockstader | Jesse Marsh | Tetsumi Kudo | Larry Poons | Ed Sanders | Dick Briefer | Dick Briefer


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Terence Fisher, Kazimir Malevich, Jean-Paul Clébert, Aziz Ansari, W.E.B. Du Bois.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation (1934-43).


Art, HiLo Heroes, Sculpture