What's Happening in Asian Art...

Exhibitions Ending Soon - Ippodo Gallery and Korea Society

May 24, 2022

Toshio Tokunaga (born 1952), Vibrato Chair, Triple, Yoshino Cedar, Japanese Zelkova,
H. 37 3/8 x W. 59 1/8 x D. 19 3/4 in. (95x150x50 cm)

Bring Forest Bathing to the Home: Chairs by Toshio Tokunaga
Ippodo Gallery

Concludes Thursday, May 26

Toshio Tokunaga (born 1952) is an artist whose expertise in furniture is uniquely attuned to the natural world. Precious Zelkova, mulberry, cherry, and cypress woods are all sourced with passion and dedication from local forests, then dried for decades. The artist delicately familiarizes himself with each rare tree’s individual spirit, allowing him to develop a strong bond with the work and can thus infuse each chair with this warm understanding.

Read more and watch a recorded interview with the artist, click here

Wonju Seo, Through My Window: Ocean, Sky and Wind, 2021, silk organza with abstract painting images, silk thread, 112 x 105 in. (284.48 x 266.7 cm.)

Wonju Seo: Travelogue, Korea Society
Concludes Friday, May 27

This exhibition, Wonju Seo: Travelogue, is a contemporary abstract textile art exhibition. In her solo exhibition, Seo reinterprets the aesthetic value of traditional Korean wrapping cloth called Bojagi with a modern twist.

Read more and see a talk by the artist, click here

Member Monday - Executive Director Margaret Tao

May 23, 2022

AWNY Executive Director Margaret Tao (left) with Katherine Martin, former Chairman of the AWNY Planning Committee, AWNY Treasurer, and Director at Scholten Japanese Art during Asia Week March 2022. Courtesy Annie Watt Agency

A veteran of the Asian Art world and lifelong New Yorker, it is not an understatement to say that Asia Week New York runs so well in large measure as a result of the leadership and sheer hard work of Executive Director Margaret Tao. While most AWNY participants know Margaret professionally and socially, few likely realize how diverse and crucial her responsibilities are.

Margaret started working at AWNY in 2011, just a couple of years after the organization was started, as Administrative Coordinator. In 2015, Margaret succeeded Noémie Bonnet to become Executive Director and was the first to bring Asian Art experience to the role. At the outset, Margaret assumed responsibility for managing interactions with existing AWNY dealer, auction, and museum members, expanding membership, supervising staff and consultants, financial oversight and supporting and collaborating with AWNY’s Planning Committee and Board of Directors. She also manages all facets of organizing the March event, including the preparation of the Gallery Guide, planning the various events and programs, the reception at the Met, and overseeing promotion and publicity. In other words, Margaret is essentially the public face of AWNY and in one form or another involved with or responsible for nearly all the organization’s undertakings, along with the rotating Planning Committee Chairperson.

Recently outside factors, most notably the COVID pandemic, tariffs placed on Chinese art imports, and issues of repatriation of Asian works of art have impacted AWNY. As readers are well aware, AWNY responded by dramatically expanding its activities during the past two years, so that Margaret’s tasks now run year-round with ongoing promotion of and engagement with members and followers. In addition to the annual March Asia Week, AWNY now also is engaged in the September Asian art sales, auctions, and exhibitions. Moreover, AWNY has significantly increased its online roster of programs, especially offering virtual exhibitions during Asia Week and regular webinars. The weekly newsletter is emailed to more than 6,000 readers; fresh material is posted most days on AWNY’s website, which now has over 68,000 visits, an increase of 75% since last year; AWNY also communicates actively on social media, including in Chinese on RED.

As a result of these endeavors, all under Margaret’s purview, AWNY has grown to have not only nationwide reach but also international scope. While New Yorkers are the most numerous users of AWNY’s website, the second largest number are in California and Virginia, respectively. And while 60% of users are based in the US, an impressive 17% are in China, followed by the UK, Japan, and Canada.

L-R: Margaret Tao works closely with AWNY’s Planning Committee, Courtesy Annie Watt Agency

Margaret has had a global outlook since childhood, when she attended the Lycée Français in New York and then in London and so is bilingual in French. In college at Wellesley, she majored in Asian Studies and studied Mandarin intensively. Margaret has worked in all aspects of the Asian art market during her career, which provides an unusually wide range of experience and personal contacts. She began at Sotheby’s in the Antiquities and Chinese art department and then was gallery director for Didier Aaron Gallery. She was the US representative for Orientations magazine for twenty years, contributing reviews of Asian art exhibitions and auctions in New York. Margaret’s journalism activities benefited several other major art periodicals, including Art and Auction, The Art Newspaper, Departures, and Architectural Digest. She covered the Asian art sales for Asian Art Newspaper up until March 2020 when Covid halted live art events.

Always interested in deepening her understanding of Asian culture and art, over the years Margaret has traveled to China frequently and spent long holidays there. These trips allowed her to refresh her Chinese language abilities and explore many parts of the country and culture. Margaret studied Chinese traditional painting with artist, connoisseur, and collector C.C. Wang for several years and recalled that she particularly enjoyed copying a painting of rocks from his collection by the Qing-dynasty master Shitao, like the below painting at the Met.

L-R: Shitao (1642-1707), Landscapes of the Four Seasons (detail), album of 8 leaves, Bequest of
John M. Crawford Jr., 1989.363.155a–h and C.C. Wang (1907-2003) practicing calligraphy, courtesy of Eileen Travell

Looking ahead, Margaret expressed a desire to expand the membership of Asia Week New York and to broaden the organization’s outreach and influence. She is also exploring ways to attract a new group of collectors to Asian art by using all existing tools available and enlisting new devices and practices.

Silver Splendor: Conserving the Royal Thrones of Dungarpur, India Now at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

May 22, 2022

Maharaja's Thrones, India, 1911, molded and carved silver sheet, wrapped around a wood core, with silk velvet, brocaded silk and horse or ox tail, 59 1/4 x 31 1/2 x 35 7/16 in. (150.5 x 80 x 90 cm.), Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund, 2013.10.1.1

Silver Splendor: Conserving the Royal Thrones of Dungarpur, India
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

May 21, 2022-May 28, 2023

Thrones communicate the authority and grandeur of their owners. Created in the early 1900s while India was under British colonial rule, these silver thrones and their regalia reveal complex histories of cultural exchange and the representation of political power. In 1911 the Maharawal (ruler) of Dungarpur, a small kingdom in the western state of Rajasthan, commissioned these European-style objects for use in a new royal palace. 1911 was also the year of the British King George V’s coronation as Emperor of India, an event celebrated by a grand Durbar (court assembly) and King-Emperor’s tour of India. Given the date, the thrones were likely created to receive dignitaries in Dungarpur during this year of tours and celebrations. A former Dungarpur king brought the thrones to Europe in 1969 and the Nelson-Atkins acquired them in 2013. Since then, the museum, with local and international partners, restored these objects, using a combination of advanced technologies and traditional Indian art forms to give a sense of their original appearance.

Visitors can request special tours of the exhibition. Read more, click here

Dialogues in the Diaspora: Bahar Behbahani and Farsad Labbauf at Asia Society

May 21, 2022

Bahar Behbahani, Mother River, 2022, video still of drawing made by the artist with lapis lazuli on board, duration: 1 minute. Video still courtesy of the artist

Dialogues in the Diaspora: Bahar Behbahani and Farsad Labbauf
Asia Society New York

Online and in person, May 23, 6:30-8:30pm

Join Asia Society Museum Director Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe in conversation with Persian artists Bahar Behbahani and Farsad Labbauf about their respective practices and their experiences working in the diaspora.

Bahar Behbahani is a painter, collaborator, educator, and a hospitable instigator. Born and raised in Iran, she currently lives and works in New York City. Behbahani’s multilayered work explores the complexities of memory, loss, adaptation, and a fundamental search for a sense of place.

Farsad Labbauf is a multidisciplinary Iranian artist living and working in the New York area. Best known for his linear figurative paintings, Labbauf immigrated to the United States at the age of thirteen. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, followed by a second degree in Industrial Design, from the Rhode Island School of Design. The origins of Labbauf’s work lie in Figurative Expressionism, a style he practiced for more than two decades leading to the creation of his linear figurative painting style. His paintings as well as his ongoing sewing series are inspired by studies in quantum physics and a reverence for ideas of Unity and Monism. Labbauf began exploring these ideas during his first visit back to his native country of Iran twenty-two years ago.

Read more and register, click here

Moonlight on Stones Opens at Fu Qiumeng Fine Art

May 20, 2022

Wang Mansheng (born 1962), Diary of Travels West of Changchun Zhenren, ink and color on cardboard

Moonlight on Stones | Wang Mansheng 王满晟
Fu Qiumeng Fine Art

May 20-July 23, 2022
Opening reception Friday, May 20, 6-8pm
Curated by Dr. Chao Ling

Fu Qiumeng Fine Art presents Moonlight on Stones, the gallery’s first solo exhibition devoted to the Asian-American landscape artist Wang Mansheng. Wang uses self-invented organic painting materials, in addition to conventional ones, to explore contemporary forms of landscape and finds enchanting and enlightening visual structures to embody his perception of nature.

Moonlight on Stones features 19 paintings selected from Wang’s Night Mountain and Ancient Trees series. These artworks, executed between 2008 and the present, are on display for the first time. Each work in the Night Mountain collection is inspired by a line from classical Chinese poetry. The relationship between text and image–a traditional scope–has been enacted in a novel way through the artist’s sensitivity and intellectual interests. The Ancient Trees collection represents his consideration of longevity and form. In intimate contact with the ecosystem of the Hudson River Valley, he makes brushes and ink out of local organic materials to paint objects found in the area while demonstrating his reflections on lines, shape and texture.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Chao Ling, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong. An exhibition catalog will be published, in which his introductory essay will be included.

Read more, click here

Thomas Murray at HALI Virtual Fair

May 20, 2022

Temple Kamasan Painting, Bali, 19th/early 20th century, cotton, crushed mineral pigments,
34 x 25.5 in. (86 x 65 cm)

HALI Virtual Fair, Thomas Murray
May 20-30, 2022

Opening today is HALI's annual fair, this year presented virtually. Among the numerous international textile specialists who are participating is Thomas Murray, an independent researcher, collector, lecturer and dealer of Asian and tribal art, with an emphasis on Indonesian sculpture and textiles, as well as animistic art from other cultures. He also features Indian trade cloths from the 14th-18th centuries. As an expert on tribal sculpture and textiles, he has been a Contributing Editor at HALI magazine for 30 years. With more than 50 publications, his recent books, Textiles of Indonesia, Textiles of Japan and Rarities–the Himalayas to Hawaii were met with critical acclaim.

In addition to multiple photos, identification, and elucidating commentary on each of the 22 textiles in Murray's online exhibition is an informative Introductory Video. To view Thomas Murray's display in the HALI fair, click here

Branching Out Opens at Joan B Mirviss LTD

May 19, 2022

Miwa Ryūkishō (Kyūsetsu XII/Ryōsaku)(born 1940), White and pink Hagi-glazed eared mizusashi (waterjar) with floral motif and matching cover, circa 1981, glazed stoneware, 6 x 7 3/4 x 6 1/2 in.

Branching Out: Kaneshige Family and the Bizen Tradition
Miwa Family and the Hagi Tradition

Joan B Mirviss LTD

In gallery and online, May 19-June 30, 2022

The widespread popularity and distinguished reputations that Japan’s ancient ceramic traditions enjoy today are largely indebted to a core group of mid-twentieth century artistic visionaries: among them, Kaneshige Tōyō (1896-1967) for Bizen ware and Miwa Kyūwa (1895-1981) for Hagi ware. Both men were inheritors to their highly esteemed, long-established, multi-generational family names that had been associated with excellence in their respective ceramic traditions for centuries. Together with scholar-potter Kawakita Handeishi (1878-1963), they co-founded the artistic discussion group Karahinekai in 1942, formed of artists who were dedicated to the recovery of lost techniques from the golden age of ceramics during the 16th century Momoyama period.

With a focus on teaware and vessels, they were wildly successful in their endeavors. Adapting their production, greatly expanding their styles, and influencing their brothers, sons, and grandchildren, they definitively transformed their family’s legacy from that of dutiful craftsmen to boldly modern artists. Joan B Mirviss LTD’s latest exhibition celebrates the past, present, and future of these two prominent families synonymous with excellence.

Supplementing the display of artworks in the exhibition on their website, the gallery will have videos of artist interviews available there as well.

Read more, click here

(In Person) Art Outside: Indonesian Batik

May 18, 2022

Image courtesy of Brahma Tirta Workshop

(In Person) Art Outside: Indonesian Batik
In person program, Saturday, May 21, 2022, 1–4pm

Experience the art of Indonesian batik in the Moongate Garden in this drop-in demonstration by Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam, artists based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Batik is a method of resist textile dyeing that is achieved by adding alternate layers of wax and dye to a fabric to produce elaborate designs. The artists will demonstrate aspects of the batik process and give visitors the opportunity to try out materials and experience the process firsthand. They will also share examples of traditional Javanese batik and discuss their creative process and the range of artworks created in their studio. This event is offered in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.

Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam have been working collaboratively to produce contemporary textiles in their fine art batik studio, Brahma Tirta Sari, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, since 1985. Ismoyo’s ancestors were batik makers in the court city of Solo in Java. Nia completed her fine arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York City before coming to Indonesia to study traditional batik. Read more about the artists in this Smithsonian Folklife Magazine article.

In case of rain this program will take place inside the museum.

Read more and register, click here

Making Home: Artists and Immigration at Asia Society Texas

May 17, 2022

Clockwise from upper left: Phung Huynh, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya,
and Beili Liu

Making Home: Artists and Immigration
Asia Society Texas

Exhibition through July 3
Making Home: Artists and Immigration focuses on immigration and related themes through the works of Phung Huynh, Beili Liu, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. The exhibition engages with the individual, lived experiences of immigration through the paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and installations of the four featured artists. Making Home centers on the complexities of deeply personal histories of immigration, as the artists consider topics of intergenerationality, the repercussions of colonial histories, dislocation, memory, otherness, belonging, and resilience.

Docent-led tours of Making Home allow visitors to experience art on a personal level, learn about art historical periods and styles, and hear stories associated with the artwork. In-person tours are available for this exhibition at 11am on Saturday, May 21 and 28 and July 2.

Read more, click here

Member Monday – Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch

May 16, 2022

Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840), The Taj Mahal at Agra, circa 1820, oil on canvas, 143 x 203 cm.

Just a couple of short weeks after Asia Week concluded in New York in March, Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch moved from their London rooms in Georgian House, where they were based for nearly a quarter century. This distinctive red-brick building, built in the 1920s, had housed many notable art dealers, collectors, artists, entrepreneurs, eccentrics, “and the occasional retired actress.” This bevy of expertise, which covered all areas of the art world, attracted visits from top curators, museum directors, collectors, scholars, and critics. Even royalty could be found from time to time walking through the elegant checkerboard marble hall. The resident art merchants and practitioners were obliged to move so that the building could become an apartment complex.  (For those who never had a chance to see their gallery in Georgian House, iGavel recorded a tour as part of a presentation by Lynch of a 12th-century Persian pottery bowl. To watch the video, click here.)

However, Forge & Lynch have now reestablished themselves just a few blocks away on the second floor at 16 Pall Mall. They are still located in St. James’s, a neighborhood of art galleries, fine restaurants, gentlemen's outfitters, and Christie’s headquarters. Among their new neighbors are the appraising firm Gurr Johns, which occupies most of the building; the British Art and Old Masters dealer Philip Mould and Company; and at ground level, Favourbrook fashion store. Across Pall Mall, which the gallery overlooks, is the notable Travellers Club, a private gentlemen’s social establishment founded in 1819 for voyagers and diplomats and just the place to go when Forge and Lynch’s Antiquities and Indian and Islamic art works have one thinking of faraway places.

L-R: Brendan Lynch, Toto, Oliver Forge, and Angus Johnson leaving Georgian House; looking ahead to their inaugural exhibition with this Egyptian Mummy Mask; up and running in their new space at 16 Pall Mall

Forge and Lynch’s new location provides office, library, and storage space, as well as regular use of the spacious adjoining exhibition room. Already in preparations is their first show “Yes, Wonderful Things” Egyptian Art from 2000-300 B.C., which will be on display July 1-8. Lynch remarked that the show is planned in celebration of the centennial of the excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Accompanied by a catalogue, the exhibition will feature a large granodiorite Egyptian sphinx, circa 300 BC; an Egyptian bronze cat, circa 600 BC; and an Egyptian Mummy Mask, circa 700 BC from the collection of Thomas M. Messer, former director of the Guggenheim Museum, New York (see above).

As if all this is not activity enough, Forge & Lynch have also made several important sales recently. Drawing on their many years of expertise, in part as former directors of the Antiquities and Islamic and Indian Art departments at Sotheby’s London, and consummate scholarship and connoisseurship, the art works they offer are among the finest of their kind and the gallery frequently succeeds in placing them in the best museums and private collections.

This Company School watercolour of a breadfruit plant (Artocarpus altilis), made in Calcutta, circa 1800, is painted with opaque pigments on laid paper in exquisite detail. Formerly in a private British collection, it was made at a time of great interest in identifying and studying plant species.

Extremely rare is this extraordinary decoupage Vase with Flowers with Insects and Birds, produced in Deccan, circa 1630-40 and attributed to Mumammad Hasan. Fortunately for those of us in the New York area, these two works were sold to the Yale Center for British Art and the Metropolitan Museum, respectively. Thomas Daniell’s large-scale, timeless depiction of the Taj Mahal was formerly owned by the Royal Air Force and has now gone to a private European collection.

Brendan Lynch and Oliver Forge warmly invite visitors to London to stop by their new space (by appointment) to see the treasures on view. More information about the gallery and their upcoming exhibition of ancient Egyptian art can be found by clicking here.

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