What's Happening in Asian Art...

Francesca Galloway Presents a Rare 17th Century
Wrestler's Weight

June 13, 2022

Wrestler’s Weight, Deccan, Golconda or Hyderabad, 17th century, carved basalt, Dia. 19 cm and
Dia. 27 cm

On their website, Francesca Galloway is now featuring a rare Wrestler's Weight. Carved from a single piece of black basalt, this 17th century stone dumbbell or nal from the Deccan makes a sculptural statement. With its open center and horizontal grip, this rare object speaks of the wrestler’s hands that would have lifted it.

For the warrior class and nobility of the Indian courts, gymnastics and martial arts were an important part of their position. These ‘dumbbells’ or nal would have been part of their physical training, and came in progressive weights for the development of biceps, triceps, and leg muscles. We can see similar weights and training objects depicted in dynamic use by bare-chested acrobats and wrestlers in Ragamala paintings representing Desakh Ragini.

Image from The Encyclopaedia of Indian Physical Culture

Read more, click here.

This Week Offers a Wealth of Japanese Art in New York

June 10, 2022

L-R: Tokuda Yasokichi IV (born 1961), Bowl Suicho (Crystalline Green), 2017, porcelain with vivid colored glaze (yôsai), Onishi Gallery; Meisen kimono with water droplets, Shōwa period (1926–89), ca. 1930–40, plain-weave reeled-silk warps with machine-spun silk wefts in double ikat (heiyō-gasuri), Promised Gift of John C. Weber. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by Paul Lachenauer; Isezaki Mitsuru (1934-2011), Bizen Large Plate, with signed wood box, stoneware, Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

New Japanese Tea Bowls and Flower Vases From Ōhi Chōzaemon Toyasai X

Currently on view
Ōhi Chōzaemon Toyasai X's (Tenth Generation) new collection at Onishi Gallery speaks to the years of history and technique; showcasing select pieces with his son, Ōhi Toshio Chōzaemon XI (Eleventh Generation).
Female Feature Month
June 1-24
This exhibition includes work by the metalsmiths Osumi Yukie (Living National Treasure, born 1945), Oshiyama Motoko (born 1958), Otsuki Matsuko (born 1943), and Hagino Noriko (born 1949), as well as ceramicist Tokuda Yasokichi IV (born 1961).

Read more, click here

Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection

June 7-February 20, 2023
This exhibition traces the transformation of the kimono from the late Edo period (1615–1868) through the early 20th century, as the T-shaped garment was adapted to suit the lifestyle of modern Japanese women. It features a remarkable selection of works from the renowned John C. Weber Collection of Japanese art that explore the mutual artistic exchanges between the kimono and Western fashion, as well as highlights from The Costume Institute’s collection.

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Rokkoyō: The Six Ancient Kilns of Japan

June 2-30
Dai Ichi Arts presents a summer exhibition showcasing Modern & Contemporary Japanese ceramics from the Nihon Rokkoyō (Japan's Six Ancient Kilns). The Rokkoyō category describes six representative ceramic production sites that has continued from Medieval Japan to the contemporary day: Echizen, Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba and Bizen. Journey through these kiln sites with us through our summer exhibition, which will showcase Modern interpretations from these kiln sites by exceptional contemporary potters & artists.

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Ippodo Gallery Hosts Tea Ceremonies

June 10, 2022

Ippodo's Tea Room designed by artist Shigeru Uchida

Tea Ceremonies, Ippodo Gallery
June 11, 18, and 25, at 11:30am and 2pm

In conjunction with the current exhibition Magic of the Tea Bowl, Volume 2, Ippodo Gallery will host tea ceremonies. Several tea practitioners from Urasenke Chanoyu Tea Center will perform the ceremony in Ippodo's tea room 受庵, designed by artist Shigeru Uchida.

For more information, please contact the gallery. Details available, click here

Midori Oka Lectures at PEM

June 9, 2022

Hara Nanreisai, Design for embroidery on Nagasaki Kunchi festival float (detail), 1826, ink and color on paper, museum purchase in honor of Keiko Thayer, made possible by an anonymous donor, 2005

Exploring a Collection Treasure: PEM’s 19th-Century Japanese Fish Scroll, Peabody Essex Museum
In-person lecture June 12, 3-4pm
Midori Oka

Japanese art historian Midori Oka presents a fascinating lecture on one of PEM's treasures — a 20-foot-long Japanese handscroll decorated with fish and sea creatures. This scroll was the original sketch for the embroidered designs on a 19th-century parade float cover still used during the annual Nagasaki Kunchi Festival — a celebration of the city's history and its special connection to international trade.

Midori Oka is the Associate Director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art, Columbia University. She previously served as Research Associate for Japanese Art at the Metropolitan Museum, Associate Curator of Japanese Art at PEM, and curated exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Rhode Island School of Design.

This program is dedicated to the memory of Robert Jay Hamburger (1941–2021) and his deep and lifelong commitment to Japanese art and culture.

Read more, click here

Cloud Wanderings of Wang Mansheng at the
Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden

June 8, 2022

Wang Mansheng (born 1962), Deep in the Mountains, Searching for Ancient Trees 11, 2014, ink on paper

Cloud Wanderings of Wang Mansheng, Hammond Museum and
Japanese Stroll Garden

Now on view through August 13
Opening reception and Artist's Talk, Saturday, June 9, 1-4pm
Chinese Calligraphy Demonstration with Wang Mansheng, Saturday, July 9, 2pm
Yunyou Writing Workshop, Saturday, August 6, 2-3:30pm, limit 10 people

This exhibition presents paintings and calligraphy in the Chinese tradition by Wang Mansheng that explore the spirit of the natural world and venture into contemporary meaning. Divided into three parts, the show includes landscape paintings and calligraphy in Guild Hall, colorful paintings of lotus in the Hays Gallery, and a selection of album paintings and artist’s tools in the central Goelet Gallery.

This exhibition juxtaposes the traditional and contemporary in multiple ways. In pre-modern times, the concept of “cloud travel” (yunyou in Mandarin Chinese) was largely associated with the wanderings of sages and immortals. In this way, yunyou paintings embodied notions of spirituality and aimlessness and were connected with Daoism, Buddhism, and folk beliefs. Drawing on the contemporary use of the word “cloud” for online data storage, the term yunyou has now taken on a new connotation of travel through the internet. In this exhibition, Wang Mansheng explores both meanings of yunyou and thereby, creates a dynamic and timely bridge between China’s past and our own day.

The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, in North Salem, New York, was founded in 1957 by Natalie Hays Hammond (1904-1985) as a place where Eastern and Western cultures could be appreciated and visitors could enjoy the beauty of nature. The highlight of the Hammond is the Japanese Stroll Garden, which occupies 3 ½ acres, is centered around its pond, and includes numerous rare Japanese plants and trees, as well as species native to Westchester.

Read more, click here

Don't Miss DAG New York's A Place in the Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India

June 8, 2022

Madhvi Parekh (born 1942), Durga II, 2006, acrylic on acrylic sheet (reverse painting), 48 x 35.5 in.
(121.9 x 90.2 cm.)

A Place in the Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India, DAG New York
Concludes Friday, June 10

DAG presents A Place in The Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India, an exhibition exploring the remarkable contribution of women artists in the context of Indian modernism, representing a selection of trailblazers, each of whom crafted a unique identity and practice. This exhibition surveys their artistic journeys while fighting prejudice and patriarchy at a time when women were discouraged from pursuing art, and uncovers the wide breadth of their interests, including early abstract painting, the arduous regimen of making sculptures, and printmaking. The exhibition was curated by Kishore Singh, Senior VP-Exhibitions and Publications at DAG.

Read the special Member Monday feature about gallery projects related to this show, click here

New Acquisitions at The Art of Japan

June 7, 2022

Hokusai (1760-1849), "Little Crow", Sword of Minamoto (Minamoto: Kokarasumaru no Hitokishi),
circa 1822, woodblock print, 8.25 x 7.25 in. (20.96 x 18.42 cm), Ex. Collection Louis Gonce

The Art of Japan announced that they have just added over 50 newly acquired prints including Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Shin Hanga prints, Meiji prints, and some fine and rare surimono.

Hokusai (1760-1849), Winnowing Rice at an Ancient or Old Style Market on the Bank of a River,
recto and verso, circa 1800, 7.75 x 21.25 in. (19.68 x 53.98 cm), Ex. Collection O. Mascha

This rare woodblock print by Hokusai depicts an invitation to a musical dance drama organized by the Tokizawa Moji Kiyo, an actor and dance troupe. Performers are Tokizawa Mojidayu, Tokizawa Izurudayu, Tokizawa Hotayu and Kichizawa Ichigoro III. Mounted 19th century French style, where the text is glued to the back of the surimono.

To view more wonderful items, click here

Korea Society Opens Heeseop Yoon | Agglomeration

June 7, 2022

Heeseop Yoon, Still Life with Eiffel Tower, 2022, pen drawing collage on paper, 18 x 24 in.,
image courtesy of the artist

Heeseop Yoon | Agglomeration, Korea Society
June 9-August 25
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 9, 5-7pm EDT
Artist Talk [video release]: Tuesday, July 12, 5pm EDT

Although her intricate installations are often so large that they spread over walls onto ceilings and floors, Heeseop Yoon thinks of her work as freehand drawings. All of Yoon’s works are based on real spaces with vast messes, such as basements, workshops, storage spaces, or “places where everything is jumbled and time becomes ambiguous without the presence of people.” Based on photographs, Yoon draws freehand without erasing; based on her own drawings, she creates her enlarged wall drawings using black tapes. In the final installation, her miscalculations and corrections are visible, as Yoon is interested in how memory and perception constantly adjust both for herself and for her viewer, and the paradox that the more she corrects her work, the less legible the drawing becomes. In her solo exhibition at The Korea Society, Yoon will show both her large-scaled line drawing installation and intricate black and white drawings.

Visits to Korea Society are by appointment only, made at least 24 hours in advance. Read more, click here

Member Monday - TAI Modern

June 6, 2022

Oki Toshie (born 1976), Rapids, 2017, madake bamboo, rattan, 3.5 x 21 x 13 in.

As is the case with ink, clay, lacquer, and silk, bamboo is a material found naturally in Japan but many of the ways of working with it came from abroad. Yet, over the centuries, Japanese artists and artisans developed these materials into forms of art that are not only distinctively Japanese but are among the finest of their kind in the world. Margo Thoma, Director of TAI Modern and one of the foremost dealers in this field, is devoted to introducing and attracting as many people as possible to the wonderful world of Japanese bamboo art.

Thoma has a long-established interest in East Asian art and received a BA in art history from Stanford University, where she not only focused on East Asian cinema but took Japanese art history classes. When she moved to Santa Fe in 2006, she founded the contemporary art gallery Eight Modern. In 2014, these interests came together when she purchased TAI Gallery, founded by Robert Coffland, a highly regarded expert in Japanese bamboo art, and merged the two establishments into TAI Modern. Since then, Thoma and her staff have continued to present several exhibitions of Japanese bamboo art annually, including one in New York during March Asia Week, as well as offering shows of Western contemporary art.

L-R: Margo Thoma delivering a speech at the awards ceremony of the national Wood and Bamboo Association, Tokyo, May 7, 2019; Fujitsuka Shosei giving a demonstration at TAI Modern, July 27, 2014; TAI Modern gallery installation of Torii Ippo exhibition, June 25, 2021

To organize and present their exhibitions, Thoma and TAI Modern’s Director of Japanese Art Koichiro Okada typically make two or three trips to Japan each year to meet with bamboo artists. Thoma commented that because the compositions can take many months to complete, an exhibition often requires years of advance planning. Another important part of TAI Modern and Thoma’s activities are producing and participating in a variety of educational endeavors to introduce bamboo art to more people and then deepen their understanding. Among the gallery’s most popular programs are artist’s demonstrations, short and informative focused presentations on You Tube, and lectures/panel discussions. A particularly informative program was the recent webinar held on April 12th and organized by the Portland Japanese Garden with their Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education Aki Nakanishi, collector Peter Shinbach, and Thoma. This program, entitled Art of Vitality: Peter Shinbach Bamboo Art Collection and now available on YouTube, included Thoma’s very informative survey of the use of bamboo in Japanese culture, description of the different regional types of bamboo, and a summary of Japanese contemporary bamboo art (to watch the video, click here).

TAI Modern sells the work of numerous Japanese bamboo artists, including historical individuals, the two current Living National Treasures who work in bamboo Katushiro Soho and Fujimura Noboru, and several women artists. Thoma pointed out that while some artists continue to produce traditional vessels, especially vases and offering trays, and may expect their creations to be used in a functional capacity, others fashion art sculptures. While, overall, there are more active collectors of Japanese bamboo art outside Japan than in the art’s home country, this is particularly true for bamboo sculptures. A large and impressive example is Meoto Iwa (The Wedded Rocks), exhibited by TAI Modern in both their New York and Santa Fe exhibitions of Yufu Shohaku’s art, which was also the artist’s first solo show in the U.S. Here the artist recreated in bamboo two actual sacred rocks in Japan, which are tied together with a rope to represent the union between Izanagi and Izanami, the two central deities in Japan’s creation myth. The artist spent much of 2020 working on this sculptural homage to connection and new beginnings.

Yufu Shohaku (born 1941), Meoto Iwa (The Wedded Rocks), 2020, madake bamboo, bamboo branches, shuro rope, 24 x 61 x 59 in.

TAI Modern’s next exhibition, which opens on June 24th, is similarly innovative in that it will be the first solo exhibition in the U.S. for Oki Toshie, one of the few Japanese women artists working in bamboo. As they do with other exhibitions, TAI Modern’s gallery and website (click here) will offer viewers abundant text, images, and programs to enhance their experience. It is fortunate that TAI Modern makes it possible for many people to enjoy the innovative work of artists such as Oki Toshie, who is “… proud to say that I put my heart and soul into each piece I create.”

Peabody Essex Museum Announces Exciting New Developments

June 3, 2022

L-R: Stephanie Hueon Tung and Andō Jūbei Company, Vase with Radiating Black-and-White Stripes, Shōwa period, 1930s, wireless enamel on metal with silver rims, Promised Gift of Fredric T. Schneider and Lynn Whisnant Reiser. Photography © 2022 John Bigelow Taylor.

In recent weeks the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts  reported important collections and curatorial advances. Stephanie Hueon Tung has been appointed the new Byrne Family Curator of Photography, a role which oversees one of the nation’s oldest and largest photography collections, which includes approximately 2,500 works of 19th-century photography of China. Formerly serving as PEM’s Assistant Curator and then Associate Curator with a focus on photography, Tung was instrumental in shepherding the 2020 acquisition of approximately 1,600 photographs by artists with ties to East Asia. Tung served as the Assistant Curator on PEM’s 2019–20 exhibition, A Lasting Memento: John Thomson’s Photographs Along the River Min, and is currently co-curating PEM’s highly-anticipated, upcoming exhibition, Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China which opens in September 2022.

Prior to joining PEM in 2018, Tung worked at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, China, as a curator and director of international affairs. Tung has published widely on photography and contemporary art from China. Her most recent book, Ai Weiwei: Beijing 1993-2003 (MIT Press, 2019), was co-authored with Ai Weiwei and John Tancock. Tung holds a BA in Literature and History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, and a MA in Art & Archeology from Princeton University. This year, she is completing her Ph.D. in Princeton’s Art & Archeology program.

The Peabody Essex Museum also announced that it will receive a generous and inspiring gift of Japanese cloisonné enamels from renowned scholar and collector, Fredric T. Schneider. The collection, which Schneider began assembling in 1993, features approximately 900 works tracing four centuries of cloisonné enamel production. Works include commissions for the Japanese imperial family, pieces for export — among them masterworks exhibited at many International fairs — as well as a group of important cloisonné enamel pieces by contemporary master practitioners.

In 2010, Schneider authored the most comprehensive book to date on the subject–The Art of Japanese Cloisonné Enamel: History, Techniques and Artists, 1600 to the Present. Works in the Schneider Collection demonstrate the full range of techniques employed in cloisonné enamel on diverse forms. The collection also represents many of today’s leading practitioners.

Selections from the collection will be on display in PEM’s galleries and forthcoming exhibitions and the entire collection will be accessible to researchers. An extensive, illustrated interview-essay with Fredric T. Schneider will appear in Impressions 43, Part Two (2022), the Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America (JASA).

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