We here at Gallery 98 are sad to share the news of the unexpected death, on Thanksgiving Day, of photographer and artist Toyo Tsuchiya. We have had the pleasure of working with Toyo over the last four months, organizing Gallery 98’s most recent online exhibition, Linus Coraggio, Toyo Tsuchiya, and the Rivington School, 1983–95.
Toyo was an inveterate artist, a large presence in the Lower East Side art community, who continued to make new work right up to his last days. He is perhaps best known for his engagement with the Rivington School, the group of artists who clustered around the social club and performance venue No Se No (1983–87) and the junkyard Sculpture Garden at the corner of Rivington and Forsyth (1985–87). The Rivington School was, for Toyo, the “underground art” milieu he had sought when he left Japan, in 1980. His photographs and posters make up today’s best record of the School’s activity.
Over the last couple of years, Toyo received well-deserved recognition. He was the main contributor to the book Rivington School: ’80s New York Underground (Black Dog, 2016). That same year, a retrospective at the East Village art space Howl! Happening included his photographs, paintings, and sculpture, and was accompanied by a catalog of his performance photographs. Gallery 98’s exhibition spotlights his involvement with the Sculpture Garden, and his curatorial work for No Se No.
Toyo will be missed.