What's Happening in Asian Art...

Artist Bijayini Satpathy at the Met

May 10, 2022

Bijayini Satpathy in the Galleries, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Saturday, May 14, 2pm and 3pm
Galleries 459 and 460, Islamic Art

Sunday, May 15, 2pm and 3pm
Gallery 924, Modern and Contemporary Art

Saturday, May 21, 2pm and 3pm
Gallery 217, Astor Chinese Garden Court

MetLiveArts Artist in Residence Bijayini Satpathy explores the traditions and future of the Indian classical dance known as Odissi through in-gallery performances this May. Bijayini’s performances are inspired by—and take place in—various galleries engaging with each site’s architecture as well as its ancestry, stories, legends, and aesthetics that are so different from Odissi’s. For these site-specific creations, Bijayini collaborated with composer Bindhumalini Narayanswamy, who has moved the soundscape away from traditional Odissi music and into unconventional spaces.

Hailed by The New Yorker as “a performer of exquisite grace and technique”, Bijayini Satpathy has been the Principal Dancer of the famed Nrityagram Dance Ensemble for 25 years until 2018. In 2019, Bijayini decided to delve into a solo career as a performer and educator. Her recent US solo debut titled “Kalpana, The World of Imagination” is listed as one of The Best Dances of 2019 in the Dance Magazine. Acclaimed for her skill as an Odissi dancer and Teacher, Bijayini is one of the most recognizable names in Indian dance today. She has performed alone, and with the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, all over the world and has received many national and international recognition.

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Member Monday - Onishi Gallery

May 9, 2022

Nakagawa Mamoru (born 1947), Living National Treasure, Vase Hayashi (Trees), 2019, shibuichi with copper, silver, gold and shakudo inlay

As exemplified by her current exhibition The Eternal Beauty of Metal, gallery owner Nana Onishi is a champion of Japanese contemporary metalware, an artform that was little known outside of Japan when she started to display these intricate and sophisticated artworks. Onishi first became interested in this category from her university professor, Nakagawa Mamoru, at the highly regarded Kanazawa College of Art. Professor Nakagawa is not only a master of the metal-inlay technique (zōgan) but when he was named a Living National Treasure in 2004 at the age of 56, he was the second-youngest to ever receive this recognition. He has continued to be a source of inspiration and support, as a few of his artworks, including Vase Hayashi above, are in Onishi’s present exhibition, on view through May 27.

Trained as an artist and with experience working as a curator in Japan, Italy, and the United States, Nana Onishi opened her gallery in Chelsea in 2005. Interested in bringing Japanese art to New York’s contemporary art neighborhood, her gallery exhibitions and special projects build bridges between Japan and the United States and circulate art and artists in both countries. In 2009, she was featured in Newsweek, Japan as one of the "Top 100 Japanese that the World Respects." While Onishi focuses on collectors and museums in the West, her sister handles business in Japan at her gallery in Tokyo.

Nana Onishi (right) has a distinctively artistic style in her gallery displays, as seen in her current exhibition (top left) and at the Salon Art + Design Show at the Armory in November 2021.

Nana Onishi is particularly devoted to expanding awareness and appreciation of Japanese contemporary metalwares globally, and these endeavors have led to a number of interesting developments. One of the most significant is The Art of Giving, “a project to support contemporary Japanese decorative arts (kōgei) and promote American and European appreciation of Japanese craft skills", which is supported by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (Bunkachō). One of the earliest benefactors is Kaoru Hayashi, Founder and Group CEO of Digital Garage, Inc., a leading Tokyo-based IT corporation. A collector of contemporary art, Mr. Hayashi arranged for the purchase of 18 metalwares from Onishi Gallery that were then gifted to the Metropolitan Museum, which provided the first works in this category in the Met’s collection and were on display in the recent exhibition Japan: A History of Style. (For more about The Art of Giving, click here.)

Not only has Onishi Gallery worked to expand international exposure of Japan’s Living National Treasures—works by nine of them were included in the recent exhibition—but she has particularly sought to promote the women artists within this group. The Living National Treasure system was created by the Japanese government in 1950 to support uniquely Japanese art forms and cultural traditions in the present and to ensure that they continue into the future. Only a few more than 50 LNTs or, as they are officially known, Bearers of Important Intangible Cultural Assets, are now living and so only the most skillful artists attain this venerated status. The number of women LNTs are very few in number. In fact, Ōsumi Yukie is not only the first female metalsmith named an LNT but she is the only one in this category. A master of the hammering technique and noted for works that often are decorated with patterns inspired by wind, waves, clouds, and streams, several works by Ōsumi can be seen both at Onishi Gallery and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The artist also published recently a book, The Soul of Gold: Tales from a Japanese Metal Artist’s Studio, now available in English with the translation by Joe Earle. (For more about Ōsumi Yukie, click here.)

Works by Ōsumi Yukie: L-R:; Silver Vase (Waterfall), 2011; Silver Incense Box Moon Palace, 2020; Silver Vase Araiso (Rough Shore), 2020

After The Eternal Beauty of Metal closes (for more information about this show, click here), Nana Onishi will turn her attention to her next projects, which will bring more fine and vibrant Japanese contemporary art to New York. This summer she will focus on the work of women artists: 4 metalsmiths—Ōsumi Yukie, Oshiyama Motoko, Otsuki Masako, and Hagino Noriko—and one potter, Tokuda Yasokichi IV. She also plans to have an online exhibition of contemporary kimono.

Join JASA for a Lecture on Japanese Contemporary Ceramics

May 8, 2022

Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Artists
Japanese Art Society of America

Online program, May 10, at 5pm

During this Zoom webinar, Alice North and Louise Allison Cort will discuss their new book Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Artists. This is the first book to tell the stories of sixteen revered Japanese ceramic artists in their own words, tracing the evolution of modern and contemporary craft and art in Japan, and the artists’ considerable influence, which transcends national borders.

Advance registration is required. Read more and register, click here.

National Museum of Asian Art's Sneak Peek

May 8, 2022

Nicky Nodjoumi (born 1942, Kermanshah), Here is Aleppo, 2017, ink on paper, Purchase—Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, RLS2021.18a–c

Sneak Peek—Seeing Black: Nicky Nodjoumi’s "Here is Aleppo"
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution

Online program, May 10, 2022, 12–12:40pm

Among the museum’s recently acquired works is Nicky Nodjoumi’s Here is Aleppo, a three-panel ink painting from 2017. A major figure in the history of contemporary Iranian art, Nodjoumi has developed a distinctive body of work over the last five decades. Here is Aleppo is a monumental example of the artist’s own process of wrestling with the power dynamics that shape today’s world. Join curator Carol Huh for a closer look at this new acquisition by one of the most important voices in contemporary Iranian art.

Read more and register, click here

National Museum of Asian Art Opens Revealing Krishna

May 6, 2022

Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution

On view now through September 18, 2022

Revealing Krishna transports visitors to a sacred mountain in the floodplains of southern Cambodia. The exhibition, which was organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art, showcases a monumental sculpture of the Hindu god Krishna lifting Mount Govardhan to protect his people from a torrential storm sent by an angry god. For the first time, the sculpture is explored in the context of its original environment, as part of a multi-religious landscape and quite literally built into a mountain. This larger than life-size sculpture is one of eight monumental deity figures recovered from cave temples on the two-peaked mountain of Phnom Da near the ancient metropolis of Angkor Borei. The exhibition tells the life story of this sculptural masterpiece—spanning 1,500 years and three continents—and unveils the newly restored Krishna in an exhibition that integrates art, immersive video installations, and interactive design.

The exhibition includes an original short film directed by renowned Cambodian American film maker praCh Ly. Titled Satook, a word of blessing spoken at the end of Cambodian prayers, the film examines the role of ancient sacred sites in present-day religious landscapes, and the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American diaspora communities.

Sacred Art from Cambodia: Blessing Ceremony
Gallery Talk: Meet Filmmaker praCh Ly

In-person programs, May 14, 2 and 3pm
The Blessing Ceremony, led by two monks from the Cambodian Buddhist temple Watt Buddhacheya Mongkol in Woodbridge, Virginia, uses practices such as chanting, sprinkling water, and specific hand gestures to confer protection and good luck. Afterwards, enjoy Cambodian-inspired refreshments by Oh Graze Away and Little Lana’s Cookies. Then go inside to experience the exhibition and meet curator Emma Natalya Stein and praCh Ly, director of the documentary film Satook, which explores the transformation of religious traditions in Cambodian American communities.

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Asia Society Exhibitions Closing Soon

May 6, 2022

Ali Banisadr, We Haven't Landed on Earth Yet, 2012, oil on linen. H. 82 x W. 120 in. (208.3 x 304.8 cm). Mohammed Afkhami Foundation. Photograph courtesy of Mohammed Afkhami Foundation

Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—
The Mohammed Afkhami Collection

Asia Society

Closing day May 8
Asia Society Museum's Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection is an exhibition of works by more than 20 Iranian-born artists and one German-born artist, reflecting a dynamic and thriving contemporary arts scene. The exhibition, illuminating the multifaceted experiences and identities of artists spanning three generations who are working inside and outside of Iran, probes subjects such as gender identity, war and peace, politics and religion, and spirituality.

Video Spotlights
Closing day May 8
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook’s practice addresses the dichotomies of life and death, the search for autonomy within cultural constraints, and notions of identity and difference examined through class class hierarchies and regional idiosyncrasies.

Rahraw Omarzad
Rahraw Omarzad’s video depicts a woman sequestered in a windowless space. Her struggle with the restricting barriers of a black cloth and her chadri (or burqa) reflects the crippling effects a dictatorial regime has on the psyche.

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DAG Opens New Exhibition Tantra On the Edge

May 5, 2022

Biren De (1926-2011), February '88, 1988, oil on canvas, 52 x 32 in. (132.1 x 81.3 cm.)

Tantra On the Edge: Inspirations and Experiments in Twentieth Century Indian Art DAG
The Claridges, New Delhi
Now on view through June 27

DAG presents this pioneering effort to exhibit works by Indian modern artists. The exhibition showcases the inspirations and experiments of these trailblazing artists and their relationship with tantra philosophy, its vivid abstract sacred symbols and its spiritual illuminations.

The word tantra derives from the Sanskrit root tan, and holds that it is a revelatory science of expanding human consciousness based on the intrinsic belief in the divinity of the self that has the potentiality to attain alternate states of super consciousness. Curated by Madhu Khanna, each artist on display shows how elements of tantra philosophy or its pictorial language are woven into their individualistic creations. The selected artworks are a product of the encounter and a resurgence of a personal quest for artists to find their severed cultural roots, a triumph free from the servitude of Eurocentric models of expression and self-rule of the creative spirit in the truest sense of the word.

Read more and see the exhibition artworks online, click here

Fu Qiumeng's Ink Affinities Closes Soon

May 5, 2022

Arnold Chang & Michael Cherney, Salt Lattice 盐图晶格, 2018, photography and ink on xuan paper mounted on paper, 24 x 57 in. (61 x 145 cm.)

Ink Affinities 墨缘: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney
Fu Qiumeng Fine Art

Last day May 7

Since 2009 the artists Arnold Chang (张洪 b. 1954) and Michael Cherney (秋麦 b. 1969) have created a series of collaborative works that combine classical ink painting with photography in ways that subtly blur the distinction between the two media. The photographs of Cherney, an American residing in Beijing, and the ink landscapes of Chang, a Chinese American living in New Jersey, are both rooted in the centuries-old tradition of Chinese painting. The collaborative works begin with Cherney’s meticulously selected excerpts of photographs taken in China and printed on xuan paper, and combine them with Chang’s elegant brushwork, resulting in a dialogue between the two media, as well as a conversation between the two artists. These works challenge the definition of shuimo 水墨 (“ink painting”) while simultaneously embracing and reaffirming the classical aesthetics of Chinese landscape art.

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National Museum of Asian Art: (In Person) Art Outside: Celebrate Eid

May 4, 2022

Portrait of a Gentleman, Iran, Isfahan, Safavid period, ca. 1650–1675, oil on canvas,
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

(In Person) Art Outside: Celebrate Eid
National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution

Saturday, May 7, 2-4:30pm
Free in person, outdoor program

The National Museum of Asian Art hosts a festive afternoon of music, food, and art to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. Watch master calligraphers—Davut Bektas, Keniz Oktem Bektas, and Mariam Lodin—at work, make your own calligraphy-inspired art, enjoy henna designs and music by Syrian Music Preservation Initiative and the Zaynab Ensemble, and view art in the galleries, including the exhibition Engaging the Senses and Fashioning an Empire: Safavid Textiles from the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, which closes on May 15th. Food from local favorite Fava Pot will be available for purchase. This event is offered in collaboration with the Qatar America Institute for Culture and the Reed Society for the Sacred Arts. In case of rain, this event will take place inside the museum.

Also at 2 and 4pm, join associate curator Simon Rettig for a gallery talk, Arts of the Islamic World: Qur'anic Inscriptions and Calligraphy, which will focus on the artistic expressions of the written word in the Arts of the Islamic World gallery. Learn about the art of Qur'anic calligraphy by exploring works from North Africa to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Read more and register, click here

Last Days to See The Eternal Beauty of Metal
at Onishi Gallery

May 3, 2022

Sako Ryuhei (b. 1976), Mokume-gane Vase 03, 2020, silver, copper, shakudo (alloy-copper, gold) and shibuichi (alloy-copper, silver), H. 9 5/8 x Dia. 6 in. (24.5 x 15 cm.)

The Eternal Beauty of Metal, Onishi Gallery
Concludes Friday, May 6

This week Onishi Gallery draws to a close their current exhibition of the best of contemporary Japanese metal art, which features works by many leading figures in the field, including nine artists designated “Living National Treasures.” The exhibition’s title, The Eternal Beauty of Metal, reflects the philosophy of Ōsumi Yukie—Japan’s first female Living National Treasure in metal art—who has written that there is “ … something particularly meaningful about the way that metals can substitute the permanent for the fleeting and transitory, conferring eternity on phenomena that would otherwise have a limited lifespan.”

Be sure to see this exhibition before it closes. Read more, click here

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