Photo of Ming Tiampo

Ming Tiampo

Associate Professor, SSAC, and Director: ICSLAC

Degrees:B.A. (Princeton University) M.A. and Ph.D. (Northwestern University)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 5039
Office:201B St. Patrick’s Building

Ming Tiampo specializes in post-1945 Japanese art, and examines the cultural consequences of globalization through her interest in transnational modernism. She obtained her Ph.D. in Art History from Northwestern University in 2003 with a dissertation on Gutai and Informel.

Tiampo’s book Gutai: Decentering Modernism (University of Chicago Press, 2011) is the first book in English to examine Japan’s best-known modern art movement. Working with previously unpublished photographs and archival resources that she obtained while in residence at Ashiya City Museum of Art from 2000-2002, Tiampo considers Gutai’s pioneering transnational practice, which was spurred on by mid-century developments in mass media and travel that made the movement’s field of reception and influence global in scope. Using these lines of transmission to claim a place for Gutai among modernist art practices while tracing the impact of Japan on art in Europe and America, Tiampo demonstrates the fundamental transnationality of modernism. Ultimately, Tiampo offers a new conceptual model for writing a global history of art. The book is being translated into Japanese and was excerpted in Swedish and Chinese. It received an honourable mention for the Robert Motherwell Book Award in 2012.

Tiampo is also an active curator. In 2013, she co-curated the critically acclaimed exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York with Alexandra Munroe. The exhibition won multiple awards, including the AICA award for Best Monographic Exhibition in New York. Tiampo’s previous Gutai-related curatorial projects include the AICA award-winning exhibition, Electrifying Art: Atsuko Tanaka 1954-1968 (2004-5; Grey Art Gallery, New York, and Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver), Resounding Spirit: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s (Roland Gibson Gallery, 2004), and Under Each Other’s Spell: Gutai and New York  (2009; Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center).

In addition to her work on Gutai, Tiampo has published and curated exhibitions on Japanese modernism, war art in Japan, globalization and art, multiculturalism in Canada, and the connections between Inuit and Japanese prints. She co-edited Art and War in Japan and its Empire: 1931-1960  with Asato Ikeda (Carleton MA ’08) and Aya Louisa McDonald. Tiampo serves on the board of the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin, and is a founding member of the Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Carleton University.

Tiampo’s teaching is concentrated in three areas: Postwar Japanese Art, Transnational Modernisms, and Curatorial Studies. In her teaching, she seeks to provide real-world experiences for her students, be it through exhibitions, visiting lecturers, or hands-on experiences.

Profile photo: David Heald

 Recent publications


Gutai: Decentering Modernism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011
*Honourable Mention, Robert Motherwell Book Award

Books edited

Co-edited with Alexandra Munroe, Gutai: Splendid Playground. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, forthcoming 2013.

Co-edited with Asato Ikeda and Aya Louisa McDonald, Art and War in Japan and its Empire: 1931-1960. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012

“Under Each Other’s Spell: Gutai and New York. Easthampton: Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, 2009

Electrifying Art: Atsuko Tanaka 1954-1968. Vancouver: The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 2004.

Chapters in edited books

“Gutai from 1954.” In Explosion: Painting as Action. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, forthcoming 2012.

“Cultural Mercantilism: Modernism’s Means of Production.” In Globalization and Contemporary Art, edited by Jonathan Harris. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2011.

“Gutai Art on the World Stage,” “Biographies,” “Bibliography” and “Guide to Primary Resources,” In Gutai. Lugano: Museum of Modern Art, 2010.

“The Contents of ‘Emptiness’: Yamazaki Tsuruko’s Gutai Years. In Yamazaki Tsuruko. Paris: Galerie Almine Rech, 2010.

“The Work of Art in the Age of Transnational Dissemination.” In Ouvrir le Document: Usages et statuts de la documentation dans les arts visuels contemporains, edited by Anne Benichou. Dijon: Presses du reel, 2010.

“Originality, Universality, and other Modernist Myths: A Response to the 2007 Stone Summer Theory Institute Seminars.” In Globalization and Art, edited by James Elkins, Alice S. Kim and Zhivka Valiavicharska. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

“Distance and Mobility: Towards a New Understanding of Modernism.” In Distance and Proximity: Can There be Life without the Other? Lisbon: Gulbenkian Foundation, 2009.

“Remplir le vide : l’avant-garde japonaise après Hiroshima.” In Vides: Une Rétrospective, exh. cat., 423-426. Paris: Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2009.


  • Gutai: Splendid Playground. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (February-May 2013), co-curator.
  • Traveling Prints: James Houston, Hiratsuka Un’ichi and the Inuit Print Tradition, Prince Takamado Gallery, Embassy of Canada in Tokyo (February-April 2011), co-curator.
  • “Under Each Other’s Spell: Gutai and New York. Easthampton: Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, 2009, New Jersey City University Art Gallery, and David Anderson Gallery, SUNY Buffalo (August-October 2009), curator.
  • ImagiNation: New Cultural Topographies, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (8 September-2 November 2008), and University of Toronto, Scarborough campus, co-curator.
  • Electrifying Art: Atsuko Tanaka 1945-1968 Grey Art Gallery, New York University, NYC, USA (September 14-December 11, 2004) and The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (January 21-March 20, 2005), co-curator.
  • Resounding Spirit: Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s, The Roland Gibson Art Gallery, State University of New York, Potsdam, NY (February-April 2004), and Carleton University Art Gallery (February-April 2007), curatorial consultant and leader of curatorial seminar.

Selected Book Covers

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