Shinohara Ushio (born 1932, Tokyo) was a founding and lead member of the group Neo Dada (active 1960) in Japan. Par of the Anti-Art generation in Japan, Shinohara exhibited in the Yomiuri Independent Exhibition, sponsored by the Yomiuri newspapers, from 1955 to 1963, except for 1956. The independent exhibition offered emerging avant-garde artists the chance to exhibit their works in a museum setting, and provided a forum for encounter, thus acting as a breeding ground for further artistic production and experimentation.
In 1957, Shinohara witnessed a public painting demonstration in Tokyo by the French Informel painter Georges Mathieu, and later developed this inspiration into his own action-based Boxing Painting (1960). The French critic Michel Tapié also praised his junk-based sculpture as “action sculpture” in 1958. Finding American Neo-Dada and Pop Art in art journals led Shinohara to take a drastic American turn in 1963. He started making Imitation Art series in that year, producing artworks such as Drink More (1963) and Coca Cola Plan (1964), which were at once celebration and critical parody of works by American artists like Robert Rauschenberg. He developed his own Pop style paintings with the next Oiran series, combining the motifs of premodern woodblock prints with modern mechanical mode of production.
In 1969, Shinohara received a grant from The JDR 3rd Fund and moved to New York, where he still lives and works today. In New York, Shinohara was inspired by the dynamism of a bustling metropolis and developed his signature Motorcycle Sculpture series made of abandoned cardboard boxes and tubes he found in the Canal Street area. Shinohara has kept devising new modes of expression to this day, and his life with his wife Noriko was portrayed in an Oscar-nominated documentary film Cutie and Boxer in 2013. Shinohara’s works have been exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, and found in the permanent collections of institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon; and the National Gallery, Prague.