SEPTEMBER 26 - 29, 2019

Tadanori Yokoo

The 2019 Festival artwork adapts the psychedelic designs of legendary Japanese graphic designer and illustrator Tadanori Yokoo.

Yokoo has graciously given the Festival permission to adapt details of his graphic work to represent each show. The show artwork for The Night of the Iguana and The Lighthouse, adapted by Festival designer Melinda Ancillo, were revealed at the Birthday Bash on March 24, with more to be debuted at the Performance Gala on June 1.

Born in 1936, Yokoo is one of Japan’s most successful artists of the past century with a long, honored, and varied career in printmaking, painting, illustration, and design.

His professional life began in the theater. In the 1960s, he designed stage sets for avant garde theater productions in Tokyo. By the end of the ’60s, Yokoo had become internationally recognized for his artwork.

Although much of his brightly-colored artwork captures the bold appeal of the Pop Art movement, Yokoo’s art also carries political, symbolic, and autobiographical overtones. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York included Yokoo’s graphic work in the 1968 exhibition “Word & Image,” and featured Yokoo again in a solo exhibition in 1972.

Yokoo counts Yukio Mishima among his most central influences, alongside filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. In 1968, Mishima said of his friend:

“Tadanori Yokoo’s works reveal all the unbearable things which we Japanese have inside ourselves and they make people angry and frightened. He makes explosions with the frightening resemblance which lies between the vulgarity of billboards advertising variety shows during festivals at the shrine devoted to the war dead and the red containers of Coca Cola in American Pop Art, things which are in us but which we do not want to see.”

Yokoo has exhibited extensively around the world and has designed posters and album covers for musical acts including The Beatles, Carlos Santana, and Cat Stevens.

His art is featured in collections at MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art in Kobe. He lives and works in Tokyo.


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