Conception and origins
In the days, weeks and years following the atomic bombing of Japan, trained and untrained artists who survived the bombings began documenting their experiences in artworks. The U.S. occupation authorities controlled the release of photographs and film footage of these events, while photographers and artists on the ground continued to produce visual representations of the effects of nuclear warfare. Photographer Yōsuke Yamahata began taking photographs of Nagasaki on August 10, 1945 (the day after the bombing), however his photographs were not released to the public until 1952 when the magazine Asahi Gurafu published them.
Historical nuclear art in Italy
It was a movement of poetry and painting, founded by the Italian artist Voltolino Fontani, aiming to balance the role of men in a society upset by the danger of nuclear radiation. The artistic group was strengthened by the poet Marcello Landi and by the literary critic Guido Favati. In 1948 Voltolino Fontani depicted the disintegration and fragmentation of an atom on canvas, by creating the artwork: Dinamica di assestamento e mancata stasi.
In 1951 the painters Enrico Baj and Sergio Dangelo created the Arte nucleare movement, criticizing and putting the repetitiveness of painting (as an artistic and commercial phenomenon) in discussion. Plenty of Italian artists, in Milan and Naples, and foreigners like Yves Klein, Asger Jorn, Arman, Antonio Saura joined the movement. The main representative of the arte nucleare movement was Piero Manzoni, who in this context, for the first time in his life, put his talent in evidence.
Historical nuclear art in Spain
In the meantime, Spanish painter Salvador Dalì published the Mystical manifesto (1951), putting catholic mysticism and nuclear themes together. In this period Dalì created artworks like Idillio atomico (1945) and Leda Atomica (1949).
Historical nuclear art in France
In 1949 the French artist Bernard Lorjou started to paint his monumental artwork “l’age atomique” (The atomic age). The painting was concluded after one year and is now located in the Centre Pompidou.
Historical nuclear art in the United States
The British sculptor, Henry Moore, created a bronze public sculpture, entitled, Nuclear Energy (sculpture) (1967) that depicted both the fatality of nuclear weapons as well as celebrated the invention of nuclear energy for use as electrical power. The sculpture is located on the grounds of the University of Chicago, where the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction was produced at the Chicago Pile-1, under the oversight of the Manhattan Project and Enrico Fermi. The sculpture is in the form of a hybrid mushroom cloud and human skull.
Contemporary approaches to nuclear art
After the March 2011 accident that caused three nuclear reactors to melt down at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, there have been numerous responses by contemporary Japanese artists, including Shigenobu Yoshida, Tatsuo Miyajima, Shimpei Takeda, Fuyuki Yamakawa, Iri and Toshi Maruki, and Hiroshima bomb survivor, Tadasi Tonoshiki. In 2015 an exhibition was organized in the Fukushima exclusion zone, "Don't Follow the Wind" by curator, Kenji Kubota, that includes the work of 12 international artists.
The cultural critic, Akira Mizuta Lippit, has written that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the most significant photographic and cinematic event of the 20th Century. There have been numerous exhibitions of photographic works, including the 2015 show, Camera Atomica, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, exhibiting two hundred works. 
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- * Luciano Caramel, Arte in Italia, 1945-1960, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 1994
- link read in April 2011
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- link read in 2016
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- Lippit, Akira Mizuta (2005). Atomic Light (Shadow Optics). Milwaukee, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816646111.
- Art Gallery of Ontario. "Camera Atomica". AGO. Art Gallery of Ontario Musée des beaux-arts de l"Ontario. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- O'Brian, John; Bryan-Wilson, Julia (2015). Camera Atomica: Photographing the Nuclear World. Canada: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1908966483.
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