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Blum & Poe opens development and production office in Tokyo headed by Ashley Rawlings
Lee Ufan, From Line, 1974. Oil on canvas, 71 1/2 x 89 3/8 inches (181.6 x 227 centimeters). Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Blum & Poe announced the establishment of an overseas office in Asia. Tokyo was selected as the base of operations given their long-standing relationship with Japan and Japanese artists and the fact that the city continues to be a hub for Asian art in general. The office will manage development and production with their Asia-based artists, as well as promote their entire gallery program in the region.

Ashley Rawlings, a specialist in post-war and contemporary Japanese art and former managing editor of ArtAsiaPacific, has been appointed director. Rawlings graduated from the Japanese Studies department at the University of Cambridge. He conducted research on Mono-ha artists and the post-war Japanese avant-garde at Sophia University in Tokyo. Rawlings is the editor of Art Space Tokyo (Pre/Post Books, 2008), a collection of interviews and essays on the Tokyo art world, and the co-editor of the exhibition catalogue What Is Mono-ha? (Beijing: Tokyo Art Projects, 2007).

The gallery first made its mark with post-war Japanese art through its representation of Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, and the Superflat phenomenon of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Both Murakami and Nara have become two of the most important living Japanese artists, achieving extensive international acclaim for their numerous solo exhibitions. The gallery also represents Superflat artist Chiho Aoshima, whose analog drawing and computer-generated imagery combine irrational figures within a pictorial formalism.

In 2000, the gallery began representing the work of seminal Korean born, Japan-based artist Lee Ufan and organized a survey the following year that included historical work to the present. Following our exhibition, Lee was honored with a large-scale retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenhiem Museum, which exquisitely filled the rotunda in what Ken Johnson of the New York Times referred to as an "oasis of cool serenity."

Blum & Poe has since broadened its roster to include Chinese artists. Last year we presented a major exhibition of new sculpture by Zhang Huan and published an accompanying catalogue, which handsomely documented the Buddhist inspired work. More recently, the gallery mounted the first North American survey exhibition of the work of Beijing-based artist Zhu Jinshi, recognized for his aggressive abstract paintings using massive amounts of oil paint. The gallery will additionally present a solo exhibition of Zhu's work at ADAA in March 2013.

In the winter of 2012, Blum & Poe organized an ambitious, museum-level survey of Mono-ha, a group of artists who radically redefined Japanese art during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha, curated by Mika Yoshitake, assistant curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, subsequently traveled to Gladstone Gallery in New York and received extensive positive reviews for both venues. In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery published a 244-page catalog, which includes an essay by Yoshitake, translations of key texts by many of the artists, and extensive photographic documentation. Following this incredibly successful exhibition, Blum & Poe is proud to represent three Mono-ha artists: Susumu Koshimizu, Nobuo Sekine, and Kishio Suga. The gallery is planning one-person shows for all three of these artists in the coming year, as well as a selection of work by Mono-ha artists for the upcoming Frieze Masters fair.

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