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George Tsutakawa's fountain sculptures of the 1960s: fluidity and balance in postwar public art.

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dc.contributor.author Cuthbert, Nancy Marie
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-20T22:57:51Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-20T22:57:51Z
dc.date.copyright 2012 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-08-20
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/4142
dc.description.abstract Between 1960 and 1992, American artist George Tsutakawa (1910 – 1997) created more than sixty fountain sculptures for publicly accessible sites in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. The vast majority were made by shaping sheet bronze into geometric and organically inspired abstract forms, often arranged around a vertical axis. Though postwar modernist artistic production and the issues it raises have been widely interrogated since the 1970s, and public art has been a major area of study since about 1980, Tsutakawa's fountains present a major intervention in North America's urban fabric that is not well-documented and remains almost completely untheorized. In addition to playing a key role in Seattle's development as an internationally recognized leader in public art, my dissertation argues that these works provide early evidence of a linked concern with nature and spirituality that has come to be understood as characteristic of the Pacific Northwest. Tsutakawa was born in Seattle, but raised and educated primarily in Japan prior to training as an artist at the University of Washington, then teaching in UW's Schools of Art and Architecture. His complicated personal history, which in World War II included being drafted into the U.S. army, while family members were interned and their property confiscated, led art historian Gervais Reed to declare that Tsutakawa was aligned with neither Japan nor America – that he and his art existed somewhere in-between. There is much truth in Reed's statement; however, artistically, such dualistic assessments deny the rich interplay of cultural allusions in Tsutakawa's fountains. Major inspirations included the Cubist sculpture of Alexander Archipenko, Himalayan stone cairns, Japanese heraldic emblems, First Nations carvings, and Bauhaus theory. Focusing on the early commissions, completed during the 1960s, my study examines the artist's debts to intercultural networks of artistic exchange – between North America, Asia, and Europe – operative in the early and mid-twentieth century, and in some cases before. I argue that, with his fountain sculptures, this Japanese American artist sought to integrate and balance such binaries as nature/culture, intuition/reason, and spiritual/material, which have long served to support the construction of East and West as opposed conceptual categories. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject George Tsutakawa en_US
dc.subject American modernism en_US
dc.subject modern design en_US
dc.subject silicon bronze sculpture en_US
dc.subject welded sheet metal sculpture en_US
dc.subject West Coast modernism en_US
dc.subject Pacific Northwest en_US
dc.subject Seattle public art en_US
dc.subject Century 21 en_US
dc.subject Fulton Mall en_US
dc.subject postwar shopping center design en_US
dc.subject Asian American art en_US
dc.subject World War II Japanese internment en_US
dc.subject Nisei en_US
dc.subject Kibei en_US
dc.subject machine aesthetic en_US
dc.subject abstract art en_US
dc.subject spirituality in art en_US
dc.subject Lawrence Halprin en_US
dc.subject environmentalism in art en_US
dc.subject International Style architecture en_US
dc.subject postwar urban planning en_US
dc.subject Ala Moana Center en_US
dc.subject Northgate Shopping Center en_US
dc.subject University of Washington School of Architecture en_US
dc.subject Zen in America en_US
dc.subject Bauhaus in America en_US
dc.subject Walter Gropius en_US
dc.subject Victor Gruen en_US
dc.subject Mark Tobey en_US
dc.subject Japanese American en_US
dc.subject Henry Moore en_US
dc.subject Sigfried Giedion en_US
dc.subject Lewis Mumford en_US
dc.subject Alexander Archipenko en_US
dc.subject Paul Horiuchi en_US
dc.subject Johsel Namkung en_US
dc.subject Dudley Carter en_US
dc.subject Freeway Park, Seattle en_US
dc.subject Bentall Centre, Vancouver en_US
dc.subject Seattle Public Library en_US
dc.subject secondary Orientalism en_US
dc.subject organicism in art en_US
dc.subject modernist architecture en_US
dc.title George Tsutakawa's fountain sculptures of the 1960s: fluidity and balance in postwar public art. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Thomas, Christopher A.
dc.degree.department Dept. of History in Art en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.temp Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US


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