CalArts Alumni Magazine

Haruko Tanaka ’03 (1974–2019)

          Haruko Tanaka (Art 03) passed away in October 2019. She was an artist photographer, graphic designer, and filmmaker who was also engaged in social practice. U.S.-born, Tanaka was raised in England and Japan, and earned a B.A. degree in Fine Art from the University of Southern California in 1997. Her CalArts MFA was in Photography and Media Art.

          Tanaka’s visual work was exhibited widely, at venues including The Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Japanese American National Museum, Museum of Modern Art, CUE Art Foundation, Torrance Art Museum, and Armory Center for the Arts. In addition, her work screened internationally at festivals including The Rotterdam International Film Festival and Asian American International Film Festival. In 2014 the Echo Park Film Center awarded Tanaka an L.A. Artist Residency.

          For the past 12 years she partnered with Asher Hartman under the name Krystal Krunch. Their collaborative work, often associated with Machine Project, was exhibited the Walker Art Center, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre in London, and Extrapool in the Netherlands. Krystal Krunch also led a range of workshops, encouraging participants to engage with and develop their latent intuition toward a deeper experience of “seeing.” Tanaka was a core member of The Readers Chorus, an experimental performative readers group that met weekly in workshop settings, organized by former CalArts faculty Sara Roberts and L.A.-based artist Jordan Biren. The group performed at Machine Project, The Wulf, The Velasvelasay Panorama and Automata. Tanaka was also an active member of the Artist Pension Trust (APT) Los Angeles.