A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Kurahara, Ted


"Ted Kurahara was born and raised in 1925 in the international section of Seattle, Washington. He was in an Internment Camp before serving in the highly decorated 442nd, a Japanese American Battalion whose famous slogan was "Go for Broke". In 1947 he received his art training in St. Louis and did graduate work in Peoria, Ill. before going to the State University of Iowa to teach. As one of the few Asian artists in the area, he could exhibit throughout the Mid West his black and white energetic abstractions which were appreciated for their oriental associations. He came to New York in 1959, to live on East Broadway in Chinatown on the Lower East Side along with many other artists like Alfred Leslie, Al Copely and Al Held. The atmosphere was energized, and he met many well known artists who were very supportive of each other. For several years he exhibited with other Asian artists at the Mi Chou Gallery, perhaps the first Asian American venue on the East Coast. In 1965 he participated in an exhibit by Mi Chou which became a touring exhibit of the American Federation of the Arts. After a series of white paintings in 1981, he developed the meticulously simple, silent, enigmatic squares of monochrome color, whose innumerable layers negate all notion of depth and subject. His attraction to Europe, ideas of the Golden Section and its orderliness, and Haiku poetry all propelled him. '...an artist outside any fashion, draws the figure of reconciliation, the desperate search for the unique, the fundamental, the inaccessible.'"

Robert Lee, Asian American Arts Centre

Gallery of Selected Works