Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama) was born in Nagoya, Japan, 1935. He came to the United States on a scholarship to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI in 1961. Tadasky's first stop was New York where he decided to stay. Tadasky transferred his scholarship to the Art Students League and the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York, then a locus of study for Japanese immigrants.
Tadasky's primary body of work, begun in the early 1960s, features compositions of concentric circles that trigger optical color interaction and explore sensory stimulation. They are highly calculated and precisely created, consisting of thin, pulsating, vibrantly colored lines that seem to whirl and radiate outward from the center. Tadasky uses a special wheel adapted from a traditional Japanese technique that allows him to paint each ring perfectly.
Philip Johnson was among Tadasky's earliest supporters, purchasing a painting in 1964 and introducing Tadasky's work to fellow architects and curators. A painting by Tadasky appeared in the December 11, 1964 edition of Life magazine in an article titled "Op Art: A dizzying fascinating style of painting." The Museum of Modern Art purchased the featured work, A-101, 1964, as well as B-171, 1964 for its permanent collection. Other early museum collectors were the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Albright-Knox Gallery (purchased 2 works), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (purchased by James J. Sweeney), and the Phoenix Art Center. Private collectors include Harry Abrams, Seymour Knox, Frederick Weisman, David Rockefeller, and James Michener.
Tadasky's first New York dealer was the prestigious Kootz Gallery which held solo exhibitions in 1964 and 1965. Tadasky also had solo exhibitions in Japan in 1966 at the Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo and at the Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka. Tadasky then had two solo exhibitions at Fishbach Gallery in 1967 and 1969.
Tadasky participated in seminal Op Art exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art's The Responsive Eye and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Kinetic and Optic Art Today both in 1965. The following year, the Museum of Modern Art included Tadasky in its exhibition The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture which traveled to 7 other museums across the country. Tadasky's bright, multicolored compositions were an instant success with the public; in 1968, Springbok Editions manufactured a circular jigsaw titled "Whirling Disks by Tadasky."
Tadasky's work was strongly featured in the Columbus Museum of Art exhibition The Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s with seven works illustrated in the exhibition catalogue. Tadasky's Sixties paintings were also included in Extreme Abstraction at the Albright-Knox Gallery in 2005. Tadasky was recently included in the exhibition Resounding Spirit: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s organized by the Gibson Gallery at SUNY Potsdam which traveled to the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.
Throughout Tadasky’s career, the circle has been his primary subject as he explored numerous approaches to painting and applying color to canvas. In addition to circles comprised of perfectly and colorfully painted stripes, Tadasky has painted his famous stripes on narrow rectangular and large triangular-shaped canvases, but he always returned to the circular compositions. His paintings from the 1960s were complex, hard-edged circular stripes of bright colors that created pulsating and vibrating optical effects. Later the edges of the circles became broken and uneven, more painterly and less defined. Later still, the circles themselves became more atmospheric, diffuse and ethereal. Since 2007, Tadasky has reintroduced optical effects by infusing his atmospheric circles with brightly colored drips of paint that activate the surface and create a three-dimensional illusion as though the circles bulge out of the picture plane. As Donald Kuspit noted, the circles are pure modern abstractions, yet the combination of the brightly colored concentric rings centered in the square canvas is reminiscent of mandalas, invoking a spiritual connotation; a Zen sensibility.
Tadasky, born Tadasuke Kuwayama in Nagoya, Japan in 1935 has lived and worked in New York since 1961. He had numerous solo exhibitions at both the Kootz Gallery and legendary Fischbach Gallery in New York. His paintings were included in the seminal Op art exhibitions, The Responsive Eye, 1965, MoMA, NY and Kinetic and Optical Art Today, 1965, Albright-Knox, Buffalo, NY, as well as more than 35 other group exhibitions. Most recently, his paintings have been included in Optic Art: Perceptual Art of the 1960s, 2007, Columbus Museum of Art, curated by Joe Houston. Tadasky’s work is included in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY; Albright-Knox, Buffalo, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Museum Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Nagaoka, Japan; Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan, among others.
Born: Nagoya, Japan, 1935. United States citizen since 1964.
Has lived and worked in New York City since 1961.
Came to US on a scholarship at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Scholarship student at Art Students League and Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York City.
Opened Grand Street Potters in 1972 in New York City; later moved to Napanoch, NY.
Currently maintains studios in Chelsea, Manhattan, and Ellenville, NY.
D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York City, 2015, Tadasky/ 1964-2008: Control + Invention, New Criterion Review
David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe NM, 2012, The Circle ReViewed: 1964-2012
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY 2008 New York Times review
Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo (1966, 1989)
Artisan Gallery, Houston (1970)
Fischbach Gallery, New York (1967, 1969)
Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka (1966)
Kootz Gallery, New York (January and October 1965)
Clossens Gallery, Cincinnatti, Ohio (with Gene Davis)
Gene Davis – Tadasky: Time, Dimension, and Color Explored, D. Wigmore Fine Art, 2013
Major group exhibitions:
David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe: “Post-Op: ‘The Responsive Eye’ Fifty Years After,” 2015
Grand Palais, Paris: “Dynamo: Space and Vision in Art, from Today Back to 1913,” 2013
Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, FL: “Adapting and Adopting,” 2012-2013
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires, Argentina: “A Global Exchange. Geometric Abstraction Since 1950,” 2012
D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York: “Four Optic Visionaries” 2008
“Exploring Black and White: The 1930s Through the 1960s,” 2009
“Structured Color,” 2011
Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY: “Pop and Op,” 2008
Freedom to Experiment: American Abstraction, 1945-1975,” D. Wigmore, Fine Art Gallery, New York City, 2007
“Resounding Spirit: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s,” traveling exhibition from Gibson Gallery at State University of New York at Potsdam, 2007, Ottawa Citizen Review
Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY: “Pop and Op,” 2008
Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio: “Optic Nerve: Perceptual Art of the 1960s,” 2007
Albany State Museum, Albany, NY: “Op Art Revisited” 2006
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY: “Extreme Abstraction,” 2005
Blanton Art Museum, Austin, TX: “Twister: Moving through Color,” 2004
University Art Museum (now Blanton Art Museum), University of Texas at Austin: “The James A. Michener Collection: Twentieth Century American Paintings,” 1977
Princeton University Art Museum, NJ: “William C. Seitz Memorial Collection,” 1977
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana: “Recent Accessions, 1966-72,” 1972
National Museum of Art, Buenos Aires: “Paintings from the Albright-Knox Gallery Collection” 1969
Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, MO: “Homage to Albers,” 1968
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY: “The Harry N. Abrams Family Collection,” 1967
Asahi Shinbun “17th Annual Susakuten,” Tokyo, 1967
Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA: “Creative Arts Awards, 1957-1966,” 1966
“The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture,” traveling exhibition organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1966
Museum of Modern Art, New York: “Kinetics and Optics,” traveling exhibition 1965-66
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia: “Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture,” 1966
Museum of Modern Art, New York: “The Responsive Eye,” 1965
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY: “Kinetic and Optic Art Today,” 1965
The Larry Aldrich Museum, “Highlights of the 1964-65 Art Season,” Ridgefield, CT, 1965
Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL: “Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture,” 1965
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo: “Japanese Artists Abroad,” 1965
“Pop and Op,” traveling exhibition organized by Castelli Gallery, New York, NY, 1965
Selected public collections (based on original acquisitions and other information as available)
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio
Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka, Japan
Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City Missouri
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, New York City
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Florida
Museo de Arte Contemparaneo de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Museum of Contemporary Art, Nagaoka, Japan
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan
Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Arizona
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey
Roland Gibson Gallery, State University of New York at Potsdam
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Takamatsu City Museum, Kagawa, Japan
University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
For more about Tadaky’s life and work:
Joe Houston, “Beyond Perception“, in Tadasky: Control and Invention, 1964-2008, D. Wigmore Fine Art, NYC, 2015 (???)
Julie Karabenick’s Interview with Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama), Geoform, 2013
Donald Kuspit, “Sacred Circles and Sensate Colors: Tadasky’s Paintings,” in Tadasky: The Circle Re-Reviewed, 1964 to 2012, David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, 2012
Arnason, H.H., History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, 1968
Barr, Alfred, Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art, 1929-1967, 1977
Barrett, Cyril, Op Art, 1970
Barrett, Cyril, An Introduction to Optical Art, 1971
Houston, Joe, Optic Nerve, Perceptual Art of the 1960s, 2007
Kulterman, Udo, The New Painting, 1969
Lampe, Angela, Robert Delaunay, Rythmes Sans Fin, Centre Pompidou exhibition catalog, 2014
Pellegrini, Aldo, New Tendencies in Art, 1966
Popper, Frank, Origins and Development of Kinetic Art, 1968
Rickey, George, Constructivism: Origins and Evolution, 1967/1995
Rosenthal, Erwin, Contemporary Art in the Light of History, 1971/2013
Tiampo, Ming, Gutai: Decentering Modernism, 2011
Weller, Allen S., The Joys and Sorrows of Recent American Art, 1968