42nd Street
Keiichi Tanaami, 42nd street - Tiny Tim, 1970
Courtesy of Nanzuka; Copyright by Keiichi Tanaami

Keiichi Tanaami’s solo show
at Fondation Speerstra, Apples

August 26 2013
6:26 PM

Recently, the buzz about Japanese pop art legend Keiichi Tanaami seems to have intensified. After recent exhibitions at Studiolo, Zurich; Schinkel Pavillion, Berlin; Nanzuka gallery, Tokyo and Kaleidoscope’s project space in Milan, the multi-genre artist has an exhibition at the Fondation Speerstra, Switzerland through September. Located in a small village in the countryside between Geneva and Lausanne, the Fondation Speerstra aims to bridge the gap between graffiti, neo-graffiti and contemporary art. Indeed, even though these genres have neighbored one another for approximately half a century, graffiti art has always stayed on the fringes of the general art debate with only a few exceptions, namely the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat or Keith Haring. With his background as a graphic designer, illustrator, video artist and artistic director of Playboy, Keiichi Tanaami is a forebear of Pop Art and psychedelic culture in Japan whose work precedes many renowned artists from the land of cherry blossoms, such as Takashi Murakami and Tabaimo. The solo exhibition at Speerstra features a display of Tanaami’s drawings, collages, paintings and animations from the ’60s and early ’70s that were recently discovered in the artist’s studio. This is the first public showing of these original works in Europe. The title for the exhibition, “Killer Joe’s,” comes from the name of the legendary discotheque for which Tanaami worked on art direction. (Natalie Esteve)

Keiichi Tanaami’s solo show at Fondation Speerstra, Apples, will run through September 22.