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Broadly speaking, two types of art have emerged in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing tsunami and nuclear crisis. On the one hand there is art that has been made for the crisis — that is to say, for the benefit of those who were or are suffering from its manifold effects. On the other hand there is art that has been made about the crisis.

Art Tower Mito’s “Artists and the Disaster: Documentation in Progress,” which is one of the first large-scale shows to attempt a survey of disaster-inspired art, includes both types, though without quite acknowledging the distinction in those terms. This makes it an ambitious but somewhat problematic affair.

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