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Fiery send-off for Rivington’s Toyo

OBIT BY SARAH FERGUSON

Published in: The Villager, New York, on December 7, 2017
Source: http://thevillager.com/2017/12/07/fiery-send-off-for-rivingtons-toyo/
cantsin in honor to tsuchiya
Monty Cantsin put down some rubber cement to ignite in honor of his late Rivington School comrade Toyo Tsuchiya. Photos by Sarah Ferguson

Monty Cantsin made a fiery ritual for fellow Rivington School artist Toyo Tsuchiya on the corner of Rivington and Forsyth Sts., where the Rivington School Sculpture Garden once stood.

Tsuchiya — or Toyo, as everyone called him — passed away unexpectedly from heart failure onThanksgiving morning at the age of 69.

Arriving on the Lower East Side from Japan in the late 1970s, he devoted much of his art to documenting the Downtown performance spaces No Se No and Nada, as well as the anarchic happenings of the Rivington School — an art collective that created a mammoth sculpture out of abandoned cars and scrap metal on what was then a vacant city lot.

Tsuchiya and Cantsin published a book about the project last year, and a documentary is in the works. So it was only fitting that his friends and family chose to gather on this corner last Friday to pay tribute.

“I feel that Toyo’s spirit is here with us,” Cantsin declared.

Michael Carter walking in the fire at Toyo Tsuchiya’s memorial
Poet Michael Carter walking in the fire at Toyo Tsuchiya’s memorial.

Using rubber cement, he drew the Rivington’s trademark six o’clock symbol on the sidewalk, then lit it on fire.

“Art from nothing, art from trash, we ride the wave, we don’t come back,” Cantsin intoned as the flames left a black crust on the sidewalk. “Toyo is now in the eternal zone of the six o’clock!” he shouted.

Cantsin and others then spray-painted the symbol red and threw up some other Rivington tags on the wall: “Make Shit Happen!” and “R-U-O-K”

Poet Michael Carter showed up drunk and read a poem, then tried walking in fire. Surprisingly, no cops came.

Tsuchiya’s family is planning a more formal memorial later this month.
 

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