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TAI Modern


A Pause in Time, An Emptiness in Space: Ma in Japanese Bamboo Art

March 14 – 22, 2024
Asia Week Hours: Mar 14-22, 11 am-6 pm  (otherwise by appointment)
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 14, 5-9 pm

Colnaghi, 23 East 67th Street, Fourth Floor

We are pleased to return to Asia Week New York this spring with A Pause in Time, An Emptiness in Space: Ma in Japanese Bamboo Art, a special exhibition of extraordinary works by some of bamboo art’s most esteemed artists, both historic and contemporary. Ma encompasses various meanings, including space, pause, rest, time, or opening, all of which contribute to shaping the distinct aesthetics of bamboo art. The Heart Sutra, one of the most famous texts in Buddhism, states that “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” This apparent paradox represents a fundamental philosophy in Japanese design and culture, where the significance of absence is equal to that of presence.

On display are over forty masterworks, including the dramatic traditional Peony Basket by Kajiwara Koho, featuring a huge arching handle that creates an empty stage for flower arrangement. Hisatomi Muan presents a contemporary version of a circular-handled peony basket in his work aptly titled Space. Sculptural forms abound in our selection, such as the exuberant Setting Sun by Shono Tokuzo, an astoundingly delicate and airy woven sculpture titled Loop by Tanioka Shigeo, and Plume, a large sculpture by the up-and-coming young artist Hasegawa Kei. Hasegawa’s work was recently added to the collection of a prominent public art museum in America. Notably, Japanese Living National Treasure Fujitsuka Shosei’s The Sound of Waves will make its first appearance since the artist received this prestigious title.

We eagerly embrace this opportunity to offer education and guidance, catering to both seasoned collectors and those exploring the art world for the first time. We look forward to welcoming you at Colnaghi, 23 East 67th Street, Fourth Floor.

To learn more and preview the exhibit, click here.


TAI Gallery was created by Robert T. Coffland, a leading expert in Japanese bamboo arts in the West, who began sourcing works from contemporary masters in Japan. The gallery moved from the founder’s home to a gallery space on Canyon Road, then to its current location in the Santa Fe Railyard in 2006.

Margo Thoma purchased the gallery in 2014 and merged it with her contemporary American art gallery, Eight Modern. Rebranded as TAI Modern, Thoma and renowned bamboo expert, Koichiro Okada, continue Coffland’s mission of building museum-quality collections.

Thoma supports and promotes bamboo art in the West by serving as an advisor to Western collectors and institutions, facilitating public demonstrations, and curating bamboo art exhibitions. She is a tireless collaborator and ally with and for senior artists across Japan, and sponsors aspiring bamboo artists to participate in national competitions. She has written essays for exhibition catalogs both in the U.S. and Japan and is a frequent public speaker on bamboo art.

Works by TAI Modern artists have been placed in some of the country’s most prestigious institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Mint Museum of North Carolina; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Denver Art Museum; Museum of Art and Design; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.