Genpei Akasegawa is a rare phenomenon, an artist who successfully transitioned from the avant-garde to the larger realm of popular culture. He emerged on the Japanese art scene around 1960, starting in the radical “Anti-Art” movement and becoming a member of the seminal artist collectives Neo Dada and Hi Red Center. The epic piece Model 1,000-Yen Note Incident (1963-1974), which involved a real-life police investigation and trial, cemented his place as an inspired conceptualist. His irreverent humor and cunning observation of everyday life made him popular as a writer, peaking with his 1998 book Rõjinryoku, in which he put forth a hilariously positive take on the declining capabilities of the elderly. Hyperart: Thomasson, marks a crucial turning point in his metamorphosis from a subversive culture to a popular culturatus.
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“Mr. Akasegawa is the kind of artist who inspires everybody every time he makes a new piece of art.”
— Yoko Ono
“Why is the city always laughing at us behind our backs? Akasegawa, of course, knows the answer, but prefers to keep us prisoners of his enigma…” — Mike Davis, author of In Praise of Barbarians
“An indispensable, hilarious, and faux-naïve map of postwar Japan, conceptual art making, and exactly that point in the ’70s where Western consumerist culture collapses into unapologetic simulacra. Let this witty master of resistance usher you onwards to genuinely useful modes of higher observation … until one sees and knows only the startlingly different.” — Michael Light, author of Full Moon and 100 Suns
Genpei Akasegawa news
On Sunday, the 26th October of 2014, renowned Japanese avant-garde artist and writer Akasegawa Genpei passed away in Tokyo, leaving behind an inspiring legacy. His literary works include Rōjin-ryoku and Hyperart: Thomasson, the latter of which we published in English in 2010. Read words from our publisher & our translator here. Here are some photos in memory of Akasegawa. […]
On Sunday, the 26th of October, 2014, renowned artist and writer Akasegawa Genpei (赤瀬川 原平) passed away in a hospital in Tokyo. Akasegawa was the author of Hyperart: Thomasson, which Matt Fargo translated and Kaya Press published in 2010. Best known for his avant-garde art and involvement with Neo-Dadaism, he co-founded the Hi Red Center in 1963 […]
99% Invisible, a radio show about design and architecture, recently featured our book HYPERART: THOMASSON by Genpei Akasegawa on their show, with a companion piece on their blog, along with the book’s trailer: Here’s an excerpt, and you can listen to the full episode here. “Akasegawa started noticing similar urban leftovers, and treasured them as […]
They’re both part of The Believer‘s 2013 Art Issue! Along with cover art by J. Otto Seibold of children’s book Lost Sloth, the November/December issue includes a review of Kaya book Hyperart: Thomasson. Read an excerpt of the review, written by Daniel Levin Becker, here.