New Geographies of Feminist Art: China, Asia, and the World

Tanaka Atsuko

Atsuko Tanaka, Electric Dress, 1957, photo from Wikipedia, courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Tanaka Atsuko (1932-2005) was a performance artist and painter from Osaka, Japan. She joined the avant-garde group Zero-kai in 1954 along with Kanayama Akira, Shiraga Kazuo, and Murakami Saburo. In 1955 these members of Zero-kai joined the Gutai Art Association, an avant garde group led by Yoshihara Jiro. Tanaka has become most famous for her performance art piece, Electric Dress (1956), which is included in the Elles exhibition. She produced other performance works, such as Stage Clothes, and a sound installation called Bell (1955), but after the 1950s focused on painting her signature bright circles and lines. Her conceptual-style works drew the attention of critics and she won the Guggenheim International Award in 1964. Tanaka left the Gutai Art Association in 1965 and continued to flourish as a solo artist. Her first solo exhibition in North America was Electrifying Art held at the Grey Gallery in 2004 and the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery in 2005. Tanaka past away that same year.

Atsuko’s work is being discussed in Namiko Kunimoto’s presentation Tactics versus Strategies: Asian Women Artists and the Production of Urban Space.


Shiner, E. C. 2006. “Atsuko Tanaka, 1932-2005.” Art Asiapacific, 48, 28.

Tanaka, A, J. Watkins, M. Katō, L. Barboni, Ikon Gallery. 2011. Atsuko Tanaka: The Art of Connecting. Birmingham, UK: Ikon Gallery.

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