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Shining a Spotlight on Contemporary Works of Art During Asia Week New York

When Asia Week New York launches its ten-day extravaganza, on March 9, many of the top-tier galleries will showcase contemporary work alongside classical objects, while others will be devoted solely to present-day works of art.  

Among the stand-outs:

Stronger Together: Two Western Artists Who Embraced the Chinese Idiom at China 2000 Fine Art, focuses on two important western artists, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, both of whom created their final projects by re-examining an earlier fascination with Chinese artistic expression and translating this affinity into their own unique idioms.

To celebrate her exhibition entitled ThenNow, Carole Davenport will honor the renowned Japanese sculptor, Hiroyuki Asano, who has generously allowed four pieces to be shown during Asia Week New York. Asano, known for his precise forms and circular voids, brings a refined life to the soul of the stone, representing time, space, and movement through the universe. He has recently surged in popularity in the East, using his classical training in Italy and uniquely Japanese style to win numerous international sculpting awards. His works are in public and private collections around the globe, including Japan, China, Korea, Germany and the U.S. 

In River of Stars, Kaikodo LLC features five contemporary works—three in the traditional format of ink on paper and two contemporary photographs mounted as hanging scrolls. Included among these is “Sandalwood Tree,” 2013 by Luo Jianwu, a folding-fan-shaped painting, ink and color on paper.  Mr. Luo Jianwu lives in Beijing and is famous for doing portraits of old trees as a way to honor their presence.

Laurence Miller Gallery presents the work of Toshio Shibata, whose signature focus is the ways in which contemporary municipal infrastructure is interwoven into the traditional Japanese landscape. Over the past thirty years Toshio Shibata has photographed man made structures in balance with nature. Elements of infrastructure were everywhere he travelled. Despite the ubiquity and commonality of the dams, sluices and irrigation canals, his pictures transform the ordinary into the lyrical, concrete and steel into abstraction, each with a uniquely Japanese perspective.

In Timeless Elegance in Japanese Art: Celebrating 40 Years, at Joan B. Mirviss Ltd, attention is given to contemporary ceramics with the major sculptural work by the master ceramist, Suzuki Osamu. Through exhaustive experimentation, Suzuki has developed his own modern take on the traditional shino (creamy white feldspathic glaze). With his noteworthy thicker walls, longer firing time and slow cooling periods his works possess an air of modernity and dynamism not found elsewhere. Works of this scale and importance by Suzuki are extremely rare to find on the market today. In 1994 he was designated as only the second Living National Treasure (LNT), for shino ware. 

At Pace Gallery, Lee Ufan: Ceramics, is the first exhibition that the artist has organized solely in this medium. With a career that spans over five decades, Lee Ufan’s Untitled 2016 radiates the artist’s mastery of the brush.  Conceptual concerns that embrace philosophical theories of the East and West are expressed in the spatial play of mark making and their correspondence to the field in which they are situated. Ufan’s work in sculpture, installation, painting and drawing was part of a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 2008 and more recently a major exhibition at the Palace of Versailles in 2014, among many other international museum and gallery exhibitions throughout his renowned career.

Hsu Kuohuang’s recent work, “Waterfall Hidden,” (Ink and colorwash on paper, 2016), will be among the contemporary works featured at M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Kuohuang boldly uses splashed ink and color in an ambiguous “contemporary” view of mountains flattened out against the painting surface. It can be described as guo hua not just because of the traditional landscape theme but also because of the materials.  Hsu’s adept calligraphy inscriptions show his years of writing practice, something that his Mainland artistic contemporaries were not allowed to do openly until after the Cultural Revolution. (Beginning in the late 1970’s, the ban on studying the past, such as ancient calligraphy scripts, was lifted after a hiatus of over 30 years).

Chung Seoyoung's large-scale sculpture East West North South, 2007 at Tina Kim Gallery, amplifies the theatrical quality of a gallery space by confining a void territory by imposing spatial control using steel fences. Without any correspondence to the exact orientation of the gallery, the artwork distorts the viewer’s geographic bearings and holds one’s attention in a contained zone, causing us to question our own relationship with time.

Additional galleries not to be missed are: Dag Modern, Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd., FitzGerald Fine Arts, Robert Hall Asian Art,Ltd., HK Art & Antiques LLC, Kang Collection Korean Art, Onishi Gallery, Erik Thomsen, and YEWN.

Asia Week New York draws an international coterie of collectors, curators and enthusiasts from every corner of the globe. Says Lark Mason, Chairman of Asia Week New York 2017, “We are proud to present this annual event, which augments the city’s already rich cultural holdings with world-class Asian art exhibitions, many of which might be worthy of display in any one of the city's top-tier museums.” 

Asia Week New York unites an illustrious roster of international Asian art specialists—the largest number to date—with five major auction houses: Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, iGavel, and Sotheby’s and 15 world-renowned museums and Asian cultural institutions. All work together towards a single purpose: that of weaving Asian art into the cultural fabric of New York and beyond. For discerning, in-the-know collectors, curators, scholars and Asian art enthusiasts from all around the world, it has become an essential destination in March.”

Asia Week New York exhibitions, which are open and free to the public, will reveal the rarest and finest Asian examples of porcelain, jewelry, textiles, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, bronzes, prints, photographs and jades, representing artistry, ingenuity and imagination from every quarter and period of Asia.

To help visitors easily navigate the Asia Week New York's activities, a comprehensive guide with maps will be available at all participating galleries and auction houses, along with select museums and cultural institutions, and online at