What's Happening in Asian Art...

Summer Museum Exhibitions, Part 1: Asian Art in California and Florida

July 27, 2017

Saito Kiyoshi, Daitoku-ji Temple, Kyoto, 1959. Woodblock. On view as part of the San Diego Museum of Art's Modern Japan exhibition.

We asked our participants to share the museum exhibitions they are most looking forward to this summer—here are their recommendations. For Part 1 of this three-part series, we are featuring three exhibitions to see in California and Florida:

From left to right: Chinese, Vase, Qianlong Period, 1736-1795. 3 1/2 x 1 7/8 in.
Japanese, Nehanzu: Death of the Buddha (detail), 17th Century, 4 x 2 1/2 in.
Indian (Kerala), Venugopala with Attendants and Gopis, 16th century, Bronze, 3 1/8 x 3 5/8 x 1 5/8 in.

1. Show Me the Mini at the Harn Museum of Art
"The art of miniatures takes many forms and exists across time and cultures. Issues of size, scale, modeling, ownership, production, and historical and contemporary functions of miniatures will be examined," reads the exhibition description. Lark Mason of iGavel Auctions shares with us that "it is a fresh, interesting perspective on a variety of Asian works across several cultures, united by scale. Probably one of the few times one could see in the same exhibit Himalayan gilt bronze figures alongside Japanese woodblock prints, and it works well." Learn more on the Harn Museum's website. On view through November 25, 2018.

Hashiguchi Goyo, Woman in Loose Summer Yukata, 1920. Woodblock print.

2. Modern Japan: Prints from the Taisho Era (1912-1926) and Beyond at the San Diego Museum of Art
"Combining modernity, scenic tranquility, and Japanese romantic fantasy, Modern Japan: Prints from the Taisho Era (1912–1926) and Beyond showcases several important and well-known Japanese artists and their works from the Museum’s collection of East Asian Art, many for the first time. This exhibition focuses on two major movements, Shin Hanga (New Prints) and Sosaku Hanga (Creative Prints), which arose in the 1910s in Japan, after the end of the Ukiyo-e prints from the Edo Era (1615–1868). The notion of Sosaku Hanga continues to the modern day, so some of these contemporary printmakers, practicing Western printing techniques, are also included in the exhibition," reads the exhibition description. Learn more and view additional exhibition images on the museum's website. On view through August 13, 2017. 

Namikawa Yasuyuki, Incense Burner (kōro) with Design of Cranes and Pine, c. 1905–15, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift from the Japanese Cloisonné Enamels Collection of Donald K. Gerber and Sueann E. Sherry, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA

3. Polished to Perfection: Japanese Cloisonné from the Collection of Donald K. Gerber and Sueann E. Sherry at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
"Polished to Perfection presents approximately 150 works from the collection of Donald K. Gerber and Sueann E. Sherry. Built over the course of more than four decades, the collection contains works crafted by the most accomplished Japanese cloisonné masters of the time including Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845–1927), Namikawa Sōsuke (1847–1919), Hayashi Kodenji (1831–1915), and Kawade Shibatarō (1856–1921). The artists represented in this exhibition raised the art of cloisonné enamel to a level of unparalleled technical and artistic perfection," reads the exhibition description. Learn more on the museum's website. On view through February 4, 2018.

Japanese Prints at the Library of Congress

June 27, 2017

Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858, showing a view of Mount Fuji from Satta Point in the Suruga Bay, with breaking waves in the foreground.

High resolution images of more than 2,500 Japanese prints and drawings, spanning the 17th through early 20th centuries, can be viewed and downloaded on the Library of Congress website. The collection includes scenes depicting actors, women, Western foreigners, landscapes, and daily life by Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Sadahide, Yoshiiku and others.

"The Library acquired its Japanese woodblock print holdings from a host of different donors and collectors including Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, President William Howard Taft, Crosby Stuart Noyes, and Emily Crane Chadbourne," writes the Library on its website. "Many schools, traditions, and genres are represented, notably surimono, privately distributed prints combining pictures and poetry, and prints from the Russo-Japanese and Sino-Japanese wars. However, the primary strengths of the collection are the Japanese art forms known as Ukiyo-e and Yokohama-e."

With summer—and summertime tourism—in full swing, we've selected several scenes depicting travel for your viewing pleasure, below.

Woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, 1760-1849: Dawn at Isawa in Kai Province, showing porters carrying bundles and sedan chairs, and travelers departing at dawn, with view of Mount Fuji in the distance.

Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858. Print shows five travelers fording a stream, each carrying either a person or a bundle on their back, low buildings in the background, at the Fujieda station on the Tōkaidō Road.

Utagawa Hiroshige, 1826?-1869. Enshū akiba enkei fukuroi no tako (distant view of Akiba of Enshu: kites of Fukuroi), showing people flying kites with open fields and mountains in the distance.

Ikeda Eisen, 1790-1848. Print shows farmers at a mill getting their grain ground on a millstone in front of the miller's establishment; a traveler and a porter pass by, looking back at the operation.

Woodcut by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1798-1861, showing the stream of Asazawa with view of Mount Fuji from the hot springs at Hakone.

Woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, 1797-1858, showing travelers resting at a teahouse or inn at the Mariko station on the Tōkaidō Road.

To view more scenes of travelers from the collection, go here. To view all prints in the collection, click here.


Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Onishi Gallery

April 21, 2017

Shun Sudo (b. 1977)
Acrylic on canvas
31 1/2 x 39 in. (80 x 100 cm)

Shun Sudo (b. 1977) is a cutting-edge artist based in Tokyo. Deeply influenced by American pop culture from a young age, Sudo spent his 20s travelling around the United States. When he returned home to Japan in his early 30s, he began working on paintings that reference his creative roots both in Japanese culture and the contemporary street culture of Western life. As a result, Sudo developed two artistic styles that reflect the two different aspects of his personality. His primary aim is to capture his subject matter in a few stylized brushstrokes—otherwise known as Japanese sumi-e brush stroke painting. He then paints over that image with graffiti pop art which makes for a graphically-animated impression that awakens the eyes, mind, and spirit.

In his current series “Paint Over,” which contains allusions to iconic brands such as Chanel and Nike alongside pop art imagery, Sudo gestures to decades of commercial and counterculture forces. He presents portrait images that feature famous icons in Western culture such as Andy Warhol and John Lennon, but reinterprets the familiar through an original colorful lens. By painting over globally-recognized icons with his own favorite images, such as flowers and hearts, Sudo incorporates his individual worldview into a greater tradition, making viewers re-conceptualize what they already know.

Below are more selections from Onishi Gallery's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, Playful Perfection: The Artist’s Imaginary Universe, on view at 521 West 26th Street, from May 2 to 10:

Tomoko Konno (b. 1967)
Stoneware with nerikomi
h. 21 5/8 x w. 20 1/2 x d. 10 5/8 in. (55 x 52 27 cm)

ITO Sekisui V (b. 1941), Living National Treasure
Sado Island Square Jar
h. 8 5/8 x w. 12 5/8 x d. 9 1/2 in. (22 x 32 x 24 cm)

NAOYA (b. 1958)
PEPO #1.2.1.
h. 33 x w. 17 1/2 x d. 16 3/4 in. (83.6 x 44.2 x 42 cm)

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Joan B Mirviss LTD

April 20, 2017

Takegoshi Jun (b.1948)
Porcelain square vessel decorated with animated blue crested ibises amongst lotus in kutani-style enamel glazing
10 1/4 x 9 1/8 x 8 7/8 in.

This elegant and powerfully painted vessel was recently created by the master of kutani porcelain, Takegoshi Jun (b.1948). On this square vessel with an upraised neck are depictions of animated blue crested ibises amongst lotus, all created with abroad array of artfully applied, colorful glazes based on the ancient kutani five-color tradition. Created specifically for this exhibition, it is one of more than twenty porcelain works by this highly-sought-after ceramist, whose list of international collectors include the Emperor of Japan as well as The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Below are more selections from Joan B Mirviss LTD's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, Beyond Kutani: Innovations in Form and Color, on view at 39 East 78th Street, Suite 401, from May 2 to 10:

Nakamura Takuo (b. 1945)
Softly pleated stoneware vessel with summer and fall floral design and separate ladle-rest in polychrome under and overglaze
a. 7 7/8 x 11 x 11 in. b. 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.

Takegoshi Jun (b. 1948)
Porcelain box with kutani-style enamel glazing depicting a flock of blue kingfishers
4 1/8 x 10 5/8 x 6 1/8 in.

Nakamura Takuo (b. 1945)
Stoneware Box that is not a Box with ivy design in polychrome under and overglaze 
19 x 21 x 13 in.

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Navin Kumar Gallery

April 19, 2017

S. H. Raza
Village dans la Nuit
Oil on Canvas
39.5 × 32 in.

S. H. Raza is amongst India's leading modernists. After being a founding member of the Progressive Artists' Group in 1948, Raza soon moved to France in 1950. During these early, formative years in France, he started experimenting with his oil paintings and was influenced by the landscape and architecture of the countryside.

In this night-time landscape, the houses adorning the undulating surfaces of the French countryside are revealed by reflections of moonlight off of their light colored walls. The gentle movement leads the gaze slowly away from the village, towards the unilluminated nature nearby, leaving the viewer to imagine the realm of experience that awaits there.

This work displays Raza's landscape style at its evolved heights. Compared to the early 1950's, Raza has moved away from sharp delineation of shape, tending instead to prefer the coalescence of form through movement in amorphous polychormatic strokes. The affinity for abstraction shown here foreshadows the progression of his artistic career, first towards highly deconstructed landscapes, and eventually a complete change in subject to the geometric and symbolic.

Below are more selections from Navin Kumar Gallery's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, Selections: Modern Indian Masters, on view at 24 East 73rd Street, Suite 4F, from May 2 to 10:

F. N. Souza
Untitled (Landscape)
Oil on Canvas
40.5 × 37.5 inches

M. F. Husain
Blue Woman with Monkey
Oil on Canvas
54.5 × 20.75 inches

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Kang Contemporary Korean Art

April 18, 2017

Seungmo Park (b. 1969)
b-3, Maya7616
Stainless steel mesh
64.6 x 3.9 x 64.6 in (164 x 10 x 164 cm)

Park creates giant ephemeral portraits by cutting layer after layer of wire mesh. Each work begins with a photograph, which is superimposed over layers of wire with a projector, then using a subtractive technique Park slowly snips away areas of mesh. Each piece is several inches thick as each plane that forms the final image is spaced a few finger widths apart, giving the portraits a certain depth and dimensionality that’s hard to convey in a photograph. The Maya series is in line with the artist’s idea of constructing a space or scene that transcends its existence. Prompting viewers to interact with the portrait and their own immediate surroundings, the artist enacts a way of seeing beyond what is real and visible. 

Below are more selections from Kang Contemporary Korean Art's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, Korean Art: Now and Then, on view at 9 East 82nd Street, 3rd Floor, from May 2 to 10:

Ik-Joong Kang (b. 1960)
Happy World - Blue Jumbo Airplane
Mixed media on wood
47 x 47 in (119.5 x 119.5 cm)

Minjung Kim (b.1962)
Pieno di vuoto
Mixed media on rice paper
59 1/8 x 82 5/8 in (150 x 210 cm)

Jongsook Kim
Mixed Media on canvas, made with Swarovski’s cut crystals
27 1/2 x 27 1/2 in (70 x 70 cm)

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Kaikodo LLC

April 17, 2017

Wang Mansheng (b. 1962)
Red Lotus
Hanging scroll
Ink, walnut ink and color on paper
179.0 x 97.0 cm. (70 x 38 in.)

Mansheng is noted for the creation of bold paintings of lotus ponds, dense with giant leaves in seductive brown and black, cradling lotus blossoms in bright red. The present vertical scroll is a departure from the horizontal formats he normally uses for this subject, such as those now gracing the Baltimore Museum of Art and private collections as well.  The image here successfully and strikingly conveys both the organic nature of the subject and the compelling abstract qualities of color and form.  

Below are more selections from Kaikodo LLC's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition Twenty Years of Ink Art, on view at 74 East 79th Street, Suite 14B, from May 2 to 10:

Wucius Wong (b. 1936)
Casual Ideation
Ink and color on board
Group of 8
24.9 x 22.2 cm. (9 ¾ x 8 ¾ in.)

Qiu Mai (Michael Cherney) (b. 1969)
Map of Mountains and Seas #18
Photography, ink on mitsumata paper
Mounted as a hanging scroll
128.7 x 56.6 cm. (50 ½ x 22 ¼ in.)

Wu Qiang (b. 1977)
Spirited Away
Ink and color on silk, framed
28.5 X 7.0 cm. (2 3/4 X 11 1/4 in.)

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Scholten Japanese Art

April 14, 2017

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
ca. 1993-94
Watercolor on paper
10 5/8 by 15 1/8 in. (27 by 38.5 cm)

A reclining male nude lies horizontally against a deep teal background, bearing a blue koi tattoo down the sides of his chest, while hiding his face with his left arm. The dappled light dances on the subject's body in much the same way that light would hit the surface of water, enlivening the tattoo of stylized waves and carp swimming upstream.

Paul Binnie, a Scotsman living in London, has over the past 25 years become one the most important artists working in the Japanese tradition of woodblock printmaking. He has taken up the mantel of the shin-hanga ('new print') artists of the early to mid-20th century, producing works that can only be described as innately Japanese. This painting is one of an array of early Binnie paintings, sketches and prints of nude and tattoo (and nudes with tattoos) subjects being shown alongside his beloved woodblock print series A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo (Edo Zumi hyaku shoku), which playfully references timeless imagery from classic ukiyo-e and inventively placed them on modern nude subjects. 

Below are more selections from Scholten Japanese Art's Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition, on view at 145 West 58th Street, suite 6D, from May 2 to 10:

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Yoshitoshi’s Ghosts
Woodblock print
17 by 11 3/4 in., 42.5 by 29 cm

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Utamaro’s Erotica
Woodblock print
16 3/4 by 11 3/8 in., 43 by 30 cm

Paul Binnie (b. 1967)
A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Sharaku’s Caricatures
Woodblock print
16 7/8 by 12 1/4 in., 43 by 31 cm

Asia Week New York Contemporary: Selections from Michael Goedhuis

April 13, 2017

Wei Ligang
The Mountain Residency Seizing The Origin of The River
Ink and acrylic on paper
37 3⁄4 x 35 1⁄2 in (96 x 90 cm) 

This abstract calligraphic painting, with gold acrylic and ink on a black background, recreates, in a modern idiom, the characters for 'mountain' and 'river'.

Born in Datong, Shanxi, in 1964, Wei Ligang has been at the forefront of contemporary ink painting’s development from its beginning, and he was one of the organizers of the June 1999 “Bashu Parade” exhibition. Wei studied mathematics at the Nankai University in Tianjin and he became the president of the calligraphy society at the university. His training in mathematics has contributed to his abstract form of calligraphy. He constantly deconstructs and re-forms the characters in his paintings while hinting at traditional script-forms (such as formal, running, or “grass” script), thus declaring his deep roots in Chinese culture. 

Below are more selections from Michael Goedhuis' Asia Week New York Contemporary exhibition Changing China: Contemporary Ink Painting, on view at Traum Safe, 1078 Madison Avenue, from May 4 to 10. An opening will be held on the evening of May 4 from 6–9pm.

Yao Jui-chung
Dust in the Wind: Mountain Road
Ink and gold leaf on hand made paper
79 x 33 in (200 x 84 cm)
Framed: 83 1/2 x 38 in (212.2 x 97 cm)

Lo Ch'ing
Hole in One (A Feminist's View)
Ink and color on paper
54 x 27 1/4 inches (137 x 69 cm)
Framed: 64 x 36 3/4 in (161 x 93 cm)

Wei Ligang
The Lush Pavilion Blurred in the Autumn Rain, Carrying the Chinese Zither Toward the Blue Creek
Ink and acrylic on paper
Each panel: 70 3/4 x 37 3/4 in (180 x 96 cm)
Framed: 73 x 39 3/4 in (185.6 x 101 cm)

Asia Week New York CONTEMPORARY: May 2–10

April 9, 2017

The first-ever edition of Asia Week New York Contemporary will debut May 2 to 10, 2017, and feature dealer participants Michael Goedhuis, Kaikodo LLC, Kang Contemporary Korean Art, Navin Kumar Gallery, Joan B Mirviss LTD, Onishi Gallery and Scholten Japanese Art.

Following on the heels of Asia Week New York’s successful 10-day round of exhibitions and auction sales, which generated an outstanding $423 million, these seven esteemed galleries are mounting contemporary art exhibitions to tap into the buzz and energy from other modern and contemporary art fairs going on in Manhattan at the same time.

To celebrate this new edition, each gallery will present the works of renowned Asian artists and will hold open houses on Friday evening, May 5, from 6–8pm.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to open our galleries to the contemporary collectors who are in town for TEFAF New York Spring and Frieze,” comments Joan B. Mirviss. 

Representing artists from China, Japan, Korea, and India, the must-see highlights include:

Qin Feng. Black Magic. Ink on paper, 3 x 3 ft.

Michael Goedhuis, here from London, presents Changing China: Contemporary Ink Painting, featuring 15 new works, by Chinese artists who are responding to the changing political, social and psychological landscape of China in reaction to the emergence of Trump and America’s new stance in the world. One of the exhibition’s highlights is a major work by Qin Feng, which was created to be part of his major exhibition and performance, Waiting for Qin Feng, at the Venice Biennale, in the San Giorgio Maggiore Monastery. “This work is one of the works that symbolizes his passionate desire for freedom,” notes the dealer. (At Traum Safe, 1078 Madison Avenue—please note this exhibition only opens May 4)

Luo Jianwu. Clear, Wondrous, Ancient, Strange. Hanging scroll, ink on paper, 621 x 74.3 cm (244 ½ x 29 ¼ in).

Kaikodo LLC, Twenty Years of Ink Art, presents new works by Luo Jianwu, Xu Jianguo, Mansheng Wang, Lin Yan and Qiu Mai (Michael Cherney), as well as paintings by Lin Guocheng, Wai Pongyu, Tseng Yuho (Betty Ecke), Zhu Daoping, Wucius Wong, Wu Qiang, Li Xubai, Zhang Hong (Arnold Chang), and Huang Zhongfang (Harold Wong). Taking center stage is the monumental masterpiece titled Clear, Wondrous, Ancient, Strange, by Luo Jianwu, which he took 8 years to complete, transforming the traditional hanging scroll format into a contemporary work of installation art. “Today the contemporary world in Chinese art is very rich and diverse and there are far more people trained and interested in the field. We trust this exhibition will appeal to them as well as to collectors of contemporary Western art,” shares Carol Conover, managing director of Kaikodo. (74 East 79th Street, Suite 14B).

Ik-Joong Kang. Happy World - Blue Jumbo Airplane. 1992-2015. Mixed media on wood, 47 x 47 inches.

Korean Art: Now and Then at Kang Contemporary Korean Art, will feature the works of contemporary artists Ik-Joong Kang, Minjung Kim, and Seungmo Park, each of whom will explore in their own idiom the philosophical and spiritual experiences emanating from Korea’s rich cultural traditions, juxtaposed against a contemporary narrative delving into the human costs of a nation in the throes of rapid modernization. Other featured artists include Jongsook Kim, Lee Woorim, Seongmin Ahn, Suyeon Na and Dave Kim. “The works by the artists are organized to reveal the connections between the history of various recognizable Korean art forms and the more global view reflected in the imagery and techniques of the artists on display,” notes Peter Kang. (9 East 82nd Street, 3rd Floor).

F. N. Souza. Head. 1956. Oil on board, 42 x 32 inches.

Selections: Modern Indian Masters at Navin Kumar Gallery features paintings by 15 preeminent modern Indian painters including F. N. Souza, M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee, K. H. Ara, and B. Prabha. Their art ranges from abstract, figurative, surreal, to landscape, and the collection of works by these artists shows how they pushed the boundaries and plumbed the depths of what art could be, both from Indian and global perspectives. One of the exhibition’s highlights is Head, painted by Francis Newton Souza, one of the pioneers of modern Indian art. Thick black brushstrokes over layered oil paint delineate the disfiguration of form – arrows through the neck, and eyes towards the top of the forehead force the viewer to contend with an unapologetically honest message about the nature of self, but one that nonetheless charges the spirit with vitality. (24 East 73rd Street, Suite 4F).

Nakamura Takuo. Standing Sculpture with Clouds and Dragon Design. 2015. 57 3/8 x 19 5/8 inches.

Beyond Kutani: Innovations in Form and Color at Joan B Mirviss LTD, the first-ever joint exhibition which showcases two celebrated and innovative ceramic masters, Takegoshi Jun and Nakamura Takuo, both of whom are inspired by traditional kutani ware. “We are proud to present the work of these clay masters,” says Joan Mirviss. “This exhibition, featuring over 40 new works created expressly for this occasion, will highlight these two ceramists’ unique and divergent aesthetics, both developed in response to time-honored kutani artistic traditions but cast in very contemporary modes, featuring both functional and sculptural forms, all boldly decorated with polychrome under-glazing and overglaze enamels." One of the standout pieces is Nakamura Takuo’s Standing Sculpture with Clouds and Dragon Design, from 2015, which stands over 57 inches x 19 5/8 inches. (39 East 78th Street, Suite 401).

Shun Sudo. Innocent Forest. 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 63 x 102 inches.

Onishi Gallery presents Playful Perfection: The Artist’s Imaginary Universe, which combines contemporary ceramics and sculpture with street art paintings. “My aim is to showcase cutting-edge contemporary artists and trends from Japan,” says Nana Onishi of her namesake gallery. Ms. Onishi will feature paintings by street artist Shun Sudo, the ceramics of Ito Sekisui, a 14th generation potter and National Living Treasure, the work of Tomoko Konno, part of a new generation of female ceramicists working in Japan, and the other-worldly wood sculpture of NAOYA. (521 West 26th Street).

Paul Binnie. A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo: Hiroshige’s Edo. 2015. Woodblock print, 16 3/4 by 12 1/8 inches.

At Scholten Japanese Art, the provocative theme is nudes and tattoos including nudes with tattoos by Paul Binnie, who recently completed a series of prints called A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo on which he spent eleven years, from 2004-2015. “The complete series of 10 is the inspiration for the show, and all 10 will be on display, along with related compositions,” explains Katherine Martin, managing director of the gallery. One of the standouts is Hiroshige's Edo, 2015, a woodblock print from a limited edition of 100. “We will also include at least 20 original drawings and watercolor and oil paintings of related subjects, many of which have never before been exhibited or offered for sale,” adds Ms. Martin. (145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D)

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