The Year 1995 marked the 50th Anniversary, on August 6th, of the dropping of "Little Big Boy" on the city of Hiroshima, an event that ushered in the Atomic Age and changed life as we knew it, and our global sense of security as never before.
My friend Zero Higashida is a fine sculptor whom I was lucky to meet in 1989, and to whom I was able to give his first solo gallery show in New York in 1991. He lives and grew up in Hiroshima, and his mother was witness to the bombing; fourteen years old at the time, she remembered seeing the Enola Gay circle low and wide over the city that early morning, an unusual sight. She woke up in a tree.
As the Anniversary approached, it also developed that Zero was to have a solo show at the Atogayama Gallery in Tokyo that summer, and we discussed ways to take advantage of the coincidence. We thought that commemorating the Anniversary was important and, half joking, I suggested we invite every artist in the world to send a message to Hiroshima — not unlike the tōrō nagashi, the paper lanterns that are floated down the Motoyasu River each year to remember those perished in the bombings.
A proposal was written, mass mailings sent out, and Art in America's Cathy Lebowitz surprised us by printing a small notice about the project. The summer of '95 was hot and intense, as was the exhibition but, in the end, it was the only show in Hiroshima that included not one mushroom cloud.