AICA JAPAN Background

AICA JAPAN was formed in 1954. It was preceded by a number of organizations, beginning with Bijutsu Mondai Kenkyukai (Arts Research Council) founded in 1940 in response to the new structure during World War II. Following the war, this council was reorganized and started anew as Bijutsu Hyoronka Kumiai (Association of Art Critics) in 1950, which was renamed Bijutsu Hyoronka Kurabu (Art Critics Club) in the following year. In 1954, it dissolved to form the new AICA JAPAN.

AICA JAPAN was founded as the Japanese section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA = Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art), which has the following background. In 1948 and 1949, two international congresses were held at UNESCO Headquarters where art critics, art historians, art educators, curators from museums of modern art and others were gathered. They included the likes of André Chastel, Pierre Courthion, and Lionello Venturi. They discussed their point of views concerning the vocation of art criticism, their responsibility in regard to artists and the public, and the particular nature of their contributions in relation to developments in the fields of art history. Following these international congresses, AICA was founded in 1950 to contribute to the further deepening of international cooperation in the fields of artistic and cultural development. In 1951, AICA was admitted to the rank of NGO.

In 1952, during his trip to Europe, Soichi Tominaga was invited to attend the 4th General Assembly of AICA being held in Switzerland. Asked whether he would be interested in forming a Japanese section of AICA, Tominaga expressed Japan’s intention to join AICA. This expression of intent subsequently led to the formation of AICA JAPAN, which had over 60 founding members.

A key element underpinning the foundation of AICA JAPAN in the 1950s was the opening of two museums of modern art in Kamakura (1951) and Kyobashi (1952), setting the stage for the long-awaited emergence of a new type of art critics.