Ming Tiampo is a Full Professor in Art History and Director of the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, as well as a curator, best known for Gutai: Splendid Playground, a 2013 exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Tiampo joined the Carleton University faculty in 2003, shortly before completing her PhD and MA in Art History at Northwestern University in Chicago. Her undergraduate degree is from Princeton University. Tiampo is a specialist in transnational modernisms, with a focus on Japan after 1945, conducting research that seeks to both add to the body of knowledge on modernism beyond the Euro-American canon and re-theorize the Eurocentric terms with which Art Historians write that history.

Tiampo’s foundational study of Japan’s most significant postwar movement, Gutai: Decentering Modernism (honorable mention, 2012 Robert Motherwell Book Award), sheds light upon this important yet forgotten group, but also establishes a critical methodology for situating and theorizing non-Western modernisms transnationally. In 2013, Tiampo co-curated Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, an exhibition that received six awards, including the prestigious Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art award for Best Thematic Museum Exhibition in New York that year.

In addition to her work on Gutai, Tiampo has published on Japanese modernism, war art in Japan, globalization and art, multiculturalism in Canada, and the connections between Inuit and Japanese prints. All of these projects cohere through her deep commitment to critically engaging with the cultural consequences of globalization, advocating for new modalities of cultural pluralism, and decolonizing art historical discourses in the academy and the museum.

Selected Publications

Books / Edited Volumes

  • Gutai: Decentering Modernism(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • Gutai: Splendid Playground, co-ed. with Alexandra Munroe (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2013)
  • Art and War in Japan and its Empire: 1931-1960, co-ed. with Asato Ikeda and Aya Louisa McDonald (Leiden: Brill, 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)


  • ‘”Not Just Beauty, but Something Horrible”. Kazuo Shiraga and Matsuri Festivals’, in Shiraga Kazuo (New York: Dominique Lévy, 2015)
  • ‘To Recapture the Light of a Star: Exhibiting Gutai at the Guggenheim’, in Documenter/Recréer, ed. by Anne Bénichou (Dijon: Presses du réel, 2014)
  • ‘Gutai Chain: The Collective Spirit of Individualism’, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 21.2 (2013), pp. 383-415
  • ‘Cultural Mercantilism: Modernism’s Means of Production’, in Globalization and Contemporary Art, ed. by Jonathan Harris (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011)

Other Projects

  • Gutai: Splendid Playground, co-curated with Alexandra Munroe, Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum, from 15 February to 8 May 2013