Zen in the Fifties

Interaction in Art between East and West

Helen Westgeest

Zen in the Fifties
Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

Helen Westgeest

Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9789040098925 Published March 1998 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Throughout Western history, interest in the Far East has moved in waves, in ever-changing patterns. Zen in the Fifties looks at the influence of the East, and of Zen Buddhism in particular, on a number of recent Western artists.

Interest in Zen grew in the 1950s as new artistic, philosophical and psychological theories opened up the way for Western artists to explore both interior and exterior landscapes. Helen Westgeest brings into her analysis the work of John Cage, Ad Reinhardt and Mark Tobey in America, and Yves Klein and Pierre Alechinsky in France, and shows how the ideas, methods and works of these and certain other artists display affinities with those of the Zen masters. The influence of modern Western art on Japanese artists is also discussed, providing a little–noticed perspective on the West.

Zen in the Fifties looks at some of the most important centers of modern art in France, Germany, the United States and Japan and offers a fascinating insight into Zen, and the characteristics of Zen art.
Zen and the Zen arts
—What is Zen?
—The Zen arts: Sumi-e and Sho
—Aspects of Zen and the Zen arts
West looks East. A short history
—Kandinsky: a new perception of Japanese art
The unity between West and East. American artists and Zen
—Mark Tobey, John Cage and Ad Reinhardt
—Insight into Zen
The Zen arts in France
—Jean Degottex, Pierre Alechinsky and Yves Klein
—Zen in practice
Release through Zen and German art
—Rupprecht Geiger, Karl Otto Götz and Günther Uecker
—Zen as support
The inherent Zen in Japan
—Saburo Murakami, Atsuko Tanaka, Akira Kanayama and Kazuo Shiraga
—Shiryu Morita
—The self-evidence of Zen
Author’s interviews
List of illustrations
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