Tetsuo Ochikubo: The Graphic Works of Tetsuo Ochikubo, 1956 - 1970

Tetsuo Ochikubo, Yellow Blue, 1958, 13 x 19.75”, 7/10, Courtesy Jon Ochikubo


The Graphic Works of Tetsuo Ochikubo, 1956 - 1970

September 28 - December 7, 2022

John Young Museum of Art, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

This is the first solo exhibition to examine the work of Hawaiian-born artist Tetsuo Ochikubo (1923–1975) in almost 50 years, and the only one to focus exclusively on his printmaking. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship to work in lithography (1959) and an early Tamarind Institute artist fellow (1961), Ochikubo was among a select group of painters and sculptors who pioneered the art of lithography in American Post-War abstraction. Through over two dozen prints and previously unexhibited documents, this exhibition looks at printmaking as a central site of Ochikubo’s extensive artistic experimentation.

Ochikubo’s earliest prints were made when he worked as a designer for silk-screened Hawaiian textiles at Alfred Shaheen’s Surf ’n Sand Hand Prints. His role as the supervisor of the Graphics Workshop at the Art Students League of New York from 1960–61, and his use of lithography as a means of promoting his exhibitions at New York’s Krasner Gallery between 1958–1967, show him investigating lithography in the fine art context. Later in his life lithography was a key component of Ochikubo’s pedagogy as a professor of Fine Art at Syracuse University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Although he was better known as a painter and sculptor, Ochikubo was never far from a printing press until his untimely death in 1975.

Tetsuo Ochikubo (b. 1923, Waipahu, HI; d. 1975, Kawaihae, HI) was a Japanese-American artist who worked in painting, sculpture and printmaking. After serving in France and Germany in the 442nd Infantry in World War II, Ochikubo studied art under the G.I. Bill at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1947–48), the Art Students League of New York (1951–52; 1956–60), and Pratt Institute (1960). He was a founding member of Honolulu’s “Metcalf Chateau,” pioneers of modern art in Hawaii. He took part in the Whitney Annual (1959), and was a Tamarind Institute Artist’s Fellow in 1961. He received an MFA in printmaking from Syracuse University in 1968, where he also taught as an assistant professor of fine art. Ochikubo’s prints can be found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC;  the SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI; and the archives of the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM.


This exhibition was curated by Dr. Maika Pollack, Director and Chief Curator, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries with the collaboration of Craig and Jon Ochikubo and the Tetsuo Ochikubo estate. Thanks to Jeanie Ochikubo. Thanks also to Sheika Alghezawi, Associate Director, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries, Suzanne Barnes, Chelsea Birenberg, Charles Cohan, Professor and Graduate Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Kate Lingley, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art History, Shaelyn Moody, and Olivia Ambo and Hala Megahy, Graduate Assistants, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries. Special thanks to students of the ART 360 class.


This exhibition is made possible by The John Young Foundation, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts, Languages & Letters; supported by the Cooke Foundation and the Michael J. Marks Foundation; and anonymous donors.

The JOHN YOUNG MUSEUM OF ART is located in Krauss Hall at 2500 Dole Street Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822 (Directions).

Museum hours & admission
Wednesday - Sunday 12 – 4 p.m.

Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, winter break, and state holidays.

Free admission. Donations are appreciated.

Parking fees may apply during weekdays. Parking is free on Sundays

For more information please contact 808.956.8364 and gallery@hawaii.edu