NEWS: Japanese Conceptual Artist On Kawara Dies at 81

Jul 16, 2014 2:01AM

On July 10, the passing of On Kawara, a Japanese-born painter and conceptual artist, was confirmed by David Zwirner, the gallery which represented the artist since 1999, with an announcement posted on its website. He was 81 years old. 

Kawara was born in 1933, in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan. Having lived through the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a teenager in Tokyo, Kawara started his career with works reflecting the shocking and distorted imagery of that time. He first exhibited in Japan at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in the early 1950s. Later, he began to travel the world and eventually settled in New York in 1965. Over that period, Kawara gradually moved from grotesque drawings of amputees and body parts, most of which he destroyed, to conceptual works that explore human mortality.