What's Happening in Asian Art...

Don't Miss DAG New York's A Place in the Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India

June 8, 2022

Madhvi Parekh (born 1942), Durga II, 2006, acrylic on acrylic sheet (reverse painting), 48 x 35.5 in.
(121.9 x 90.2 cm.)

A Place in the Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India, DAG New York
Concludes Friday, June 10

DAG presents A Place in The Sun: Women Artists from 20th Century India, an exhibition exploring the remarkable contribution of women artists in the context of Indian modernism, representing a selection of trailblazers, each of whom crafted a unique identity and practice. This exhibition surveys their artistic journeys while fighting prejudice and patriarchy at a time when women were discouraged from pursuing art, and uncovers the wide breadth of their interests, including early abstract painting, the arduous regimen of making sculptures, and printmaking. The exhibition was curated by Kishore Singh, Senior VP-Exhibitions and Publications at DAG.

Read the special Member Monday feature about gallery projects related to this show, click here

New Acquisitions at The Art of Japan

June 7, 2022

Hokusai (1760-1849), "Little Crow", Sword of Minamoto (Minamoto: Kokarasumaru no Hitokishi),
circa 1822, woodblock print, 8.25 x 7.25 in. (20.96 x 18.42 cm), Ex. Collection Louis Gonce

The Art of Japan announced that they have just added over 50 newly acquired prints including Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Shin Hanga prints, Meiji prints, and some fine and rare surimono.

Hokusai (1760-1849), Winnowing Rice at an Ancient or Old Style Market on the Bank of a River,
recto and verso, circa 1800, 7.75 x 21.25 in. (19.68 x 53.98 cm), Ex. Collection O. Mascha

This rare woodblock print by Hokusai depicts an invitation to a musical dance drama organized by the Tokizawa Moji Kiyo, an actor and dance troupe. Performers are Tokizawa Mojidayu, Tokizawa Izurudayu, Tokizawa Hotayu and Kichizawa Ichigoro III. Mounted 19th century French style, where the text is glued to the back of the surimono.

To view more wonderful items, click here

Korea Society Opens Heeseop Yoon | Agglomeration

June 7, 2022

Heeseop Yoon, Still Life with Eiffel Tower, 2022, pen drawing collage on paper, 18 x 24 in.,
image courtesy of the artist

Heeseop Yoon | Agglomeration, Korea Society
June 9-August 25
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 9, 5-7pm EDT
Artist Talk [video release]: Tuesday, July 12, 5pm EDT

Although her intricate installations are often so large that they spread over walls onto ceilings and floors, Heeseop Yoon thinks of her work as freehand drawings. All of Yoon’s works are based on real spaces with vast messes, such as basements, workshops, storage spaces, or “places where everything is jumbled and time becomes ambiguous without the presence of people.” Based on photographs, Yoon draws freehand without erasing; based on her own drawings, she creates her enlarged wall drawings using black tapes. In the final installation, her miscalculations and corrections are visible, as Yoon is interested in how memory and perception constantly adjust both for herself and for her viewer, and the paradox that the more she corrects her work, the less legible the drawing becomes. In her solo exhibition at The Korea Society, Yoon will show both her large-scaled line drawing installation and intricate black and white drawings.

Visits to Korea Society are by appointment only, made at least 24 hours in advance. Read more, click here

Member Monday - TAI Modern

June 6, 2022

Oki Toshie (born 1976), Rapids, 2017, madake bamboo, rattan, 3.5 x 21 x 13 in.

As is the case with ink, clay, lacquer, and silk, bamboo is a material found naturally in Japan but many of the ways of working with it came from abroad. Yet, over the centuries, Japanese artists and artisans developed these materials into forms of art that are not only distinctively Japanese but are among the finest of their kind in the world. Margo Thoma, Director of TAI Modern and one of the foremost dealers in this field, is devoted to introducing and attracting as many people as possible to the wonderful world of Japanese bamboo art.

Thoma has a long-established interest in East Asian art and received a BA in art history from Stanford University, where she not only focused on East Asian cinema but took Japanese art history classes. When she moved to Santa Fe in 2006, she founded the contemporary art gallery Eight Modern. In 2014, these interests came together when she purchased TAI Gallery, founded by Robert Coffland, a highly regarded expert in Japanese bamboo art, and merged the two establishments into TAI Modern. Since then, Thoma and her staff have continued to present several exhibitions of Japanese bamboo art annually, including one in New York during March Asia Week, as well as offering shows of Western contemporary art.

L-R: Margo Thoma delivering a speech at the awards ceremony of the national Wood and Bamboo Association, Tokyo, May 7, 2019; Fujitsuka Shosei giving a demonstration at TAI Modern, July 27, 2014; TAI Modern gallery installation of Torii Ippo exhibition, June 25, 2021

To organize and present their exhibitions, Thoma and TAI Modern’s Director of Japanese Art Koichiro Okada typically make two or three trips to Japan each year to meet with bamboo artists. Thoma commented that because the compositions can take many months to complete, an exhibition often requires years of advance planning. Another important part of TAI Modern and Thoma’s activities are producing and participating in a variety of educational endeavors to introduce bamboo art to more people and then deepen their understanding. Among the gallery’s most popular programs are artist’s demonstrations, short and informative focused presentations on You Tube, and lectures/panel discussions. A particularly informative program was the recent webinar held on April 12th and organized by the Portland Japanese Garden with their Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education Aki Nakanishi, collector Peter Shinbach, and Thoma. This program, entitled Art of Vitality: Peter Shinbach Bamboo Art Collection and now available on YouTube, included Thoma’s very informative survey of the use of bamboo in Japanese culture, description of the different regional types of bamboo, and a summary of Japanese contemporary bamboo art (to watch the video, click here).

TAI Modern sells the work of numerous Japanese bamboo artists, including historical individuals, the two current Living National Treasures who work in bamboo Katushiro Soho and Fujimura Noboru, and several women artists. Thoma pointed out that while some artists continue to produce traditional vessels, especially vases and offering trays, and may expect their creations to be used in a functional capacity, others fashion art sculptures. While, overall, there are more active collectors of Japanese bamboo art outside Japan than in the art’s home country, this is particularly true for bamboo sculptures. A large and impressive example is Meoto Iwa (The Wedded Rocks), exhibited by TAI Modern in both their New York and Santa Fe exhibitions of Yufu Shohaku’s art, which was also the artist’s first solo show in the U.S. Here the artist recreated in bamboo two actual sacred rocks in Japan, which are tied together with a rope to represent the union between Izanagi and Izanami, the two central deities in Japan’s creation myth. The artist spent much of 2020 working on this sculptural homage to connection and new beginnings.

Yufu Shohaku (born 1941), Meoto Iwa (The Wedded Rocks), 2020, madake bamboo, bamboo branches, shuro rope, 24 x 61 x 59 in.

TAI Modern’s next exhibition, which opens on June 24th, is similarly innovative in that it will be the first solo exhibition in the U.S. for Oki Toshie, one of the few Japanese women artists working in bamboo. As they do with other exhibitions, TAI Modern’s gallery and website (click here) will offer viewers abundant text, images, and programs to enhance their experience. It is fortunate that TAI Modern makes it possible for many people to enjoy the innovative work of artists such as Oki Toshie, who is “… proud to say that I put my heart and soul into each piece I create.”

Peabody Essex Museum Announces Exciting New Developments

June 3, 2022

L-R: Stephanie Hueon Tung and Andō Jūbei Company, Vase with Radiating Black-and-White Stripes, Shōwa period, 1930s, wireless enamel on metal with silver rims, Promised Gift of Fredric T. Schneider and Lynn Whisnant Reiser. Photography © 2022 John Bigelow Taylor.

In recent weeks the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts  reported important collections and curatorial advances. Stephanie Hueon Tung has been appointed the new Byrne Family Curator of Photography, a role which oversees one of the nation’s oldest and largest photography collections, which includes approximately 2,500 works of 19th-century photography of China. Formerly serving as PEM’s Assistant Curator and then Associate Curator with a focus on photography, Tung was instrumental in shepherding the 2020 acquisition of approximately 1,600 photographs by artists with ties to East Asia. Tung served as the Assistant Curator on PEM’s 2019–20 exhibition, A Lasting Memento: John Thomson’s Photographs Along the River Min, and is currently co-curating PEM’s highly-anticipated, upcoming exhibition, Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China which opens in September 2022.

Prior to joining PEM in 2018, Tung worked at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, China, as a curator and director of international affairs. Tung has published widely on photography and contemporary art from China. Her most recent book, Ai Weiwei: Beijing 1993-2003 (MIT Press, 2019), was co-authored with Ai Weiwei and John Tancock. Tung holds a BA in Literature and History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, and a MA in Art & Archeology from Princeton University. This year, she is completing her Ph.D. in Princeton’s Art & Archeology program.

The Peabody Essex Museum also announced that it will receive a generous and inspiring gift of Japanese cloisonné enamels from renowned scholar and collector, Fredric T. Schneider. The collection, which Schneider began assembling in 1993, features approximately 900 works tracing four centuries of cloisonné enamel production. Works include commissions for the Japanese imperial family, pieces for export — among them masterworks exhibited at many International fairs — as well as a group of important cloisonné enamel pieces by contemporary master practitioners.

In 2010, Schneider authored the most comprehensive book to date on the subject–The Art of Japanese Cloisonné Enamel: History, Techniques and Artists, 1600 to the Present. Works in the Schneider Collection demonstrate the full range of techniques employed in cloisonné enamel on diverse forms. The collection also represents many of today’s leading practitioners.

Selections from the collection will be on display in PEM’s galleries and forthcoming exhibitions and the entire collection will be accessible to researchers. An extensive, illustrated interview-essay with Fredric T. Schneider will appear in Impressions 43, Part Two (2022), the Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America (JASA).

Art Treat - Celebrating Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee

June 2, 2022

A princess enjoying paan on a terrace, Guler, circa 1790–1800, opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper, image: 7 ⅜ x 7 in. (18.7 x 17.8 cm.), courtesy of Kapoor Galleries

This week, the United Kingdom, joined by the rest of the world, celebrates Queen Elizabeth's 70 years on the throne, longer than any other monarch in British history. Asia Week New York joins the festivities with this sumptuous and meticulously detailed depiction, with gold higlights, of a princess enjoying paan on a splendid white marble terrace. The princess, seated on an elaborate throne in the posture of royal ease, wears a courtly turban with an elaborate sarpech.

The painting is composed with a broad and vibrant color palette indicative of the Guler style. This naturalistic style of traditional Indian painting was developed by Hindu artists who were previously trained in the Mughal court and resulted from the patronage of Guler Rajas.

For more information about this painting, visit Kapoor Galleries' Virtual Exhibition Dhanvantari's Blessing, click here.

Makino Yoshio, Buckingham Palace, London, seen across Green Park, c.1911. © Akinori Makino

As part of the myriad festivities in London is the exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture, on display in the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace until February 26, 2023. The Royal Collection holds some of the most significant examples of Japanese art and design in the Western world. For the first time, highlights from this outstanding collection are brought together to tell the story of 300 years of diplomatic, artistic and cultural exchange between the British and Japanese royal and imperial families. The exhibition includes rare pieces of porcelain and lacquer, samurai armor, embroidered screens and diplomatic gifts from the reigns of James I to Her Majesty The Queen.

Through the centuries, many members of the British royal family have enthusiastically acquired Japanese works of art, but Queen Mary (1867-1953), the grandmother of the present Queen, was perhaps the most prolific royal collector. Highlights on display from her collection include delicate folding fans and colorful woodcut floral prints. This atmospheric woodcut print of Buckingham Palace at dusk, on display for the first time, was presented to Queen Mary in 1928 by Makino Yoshio (1869-1956), one of the most celebrated Japanese artists in Britain at the time.

Read more, click here

Upcoming Programs at Fu Qiumeng Fine Art

June 1, 2022

Wang Mansheng (born 1962), Deep in the Mountains Searching for Ancient Trees No. 5, 2014,
ink on paper, 71 x 38.5 in.

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

May 20-July 23, 2022

Fu Qiumeng will host two special in-person programs to accompany the current exhibition.

Meet the Artist
Saturday, June 4, 12-2pm
Artist Wang Mansheng will lead a tour through the current exhibition of 19 paintings selected from his Night Mountain and Ancient Trees series. Wang will describe his artistic practice and consider philosophical approaches in Chinese landscape painting history. This exhibition contains a relationship between text and image, which is a traditional feature, that 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.

Scholar's Lecture: Poetic Construction of Multiple Times in Tang Poetry 
Friday, June 10, 6-8pm
In this Scholar's Lecture, Dr. Chao Ling, curator of the exhibition, will use the Tang poet Li Shen's (772–846) 李紳 Twenty Poems on the New Tower 新樓詩二十首 as an example to discuss some linguistic and poetic issues. First, how do Chinese poets, responding to the challenge of a syntactically tenseless Chinese language, articulate temporal concepts—such as the sense of temporality, grammatical aspect, and instant in time? Also, why does poetry, which is primarily about spatial constructs (in particular high towers), often yield to a reflection on time?

Dr. Chao Ling (born 1987) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong. Ling primarily researches classical Chinese poetry and art history, with a special focus on the medieval period. He also works on literary theory and philosophical investigations of the relationship between text and image. Ling holds a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University (2019) and a B.A. in Chinese Languages and Literatures from Peking University (2009).

Read more and register, click here.

For more information about the exhibition Cloud Wanderings of Wang Mansheng at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, click here.

Don't Miss This Exhibition Ending Soon

May 31, 2022

Ganesh Pyne (born 1937), Untitled, watercolor on paper, 4.5 x 3.5 in., Akar Prakar

From the Shadows by Ganesh Pyne, Akar Prakar
Live in New Delhi and online, concludes June 4, 2022

Born and brought up in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) in 1937, Ganesh Pyne spent years of his life in a crumbling mansion in Kabiraj Row. Growing up during hard and turbulent times in the country, he found his reprieve from the dark reality outside in the mythologies and folktales narrated by his grandmother, Nandarani. The fantastical world created by her stories became the basis of his artistic language years later.

Pyne’s process and practice reflected in this exhibition of largely small format works is a passage into the mystical visual world created by him. The imageries carry within it the fantastical mind of the introverted and sensitive soul. The resoluteness to his art and the commitment to evolution in his practice are both exemplified in this exhibit of an artist regarded as a modern master in the history of Indian Art.

Read more, click here.

The New York Times Reviews Japan Society's Exhibition

May 31, 2022

Courtesy of the artist and Zürcher Gallery, New York

Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line
Japan Society

Now through July 10, 2022

In the Fine Art section of Friday's (May 27) The New York Times, preeminent art critic and journalist Holland Cotter published an informative, insightful, and complimentary review of Japan Society's current exhibition of the work of Kazuko Miyamoto. In the review, "Maverick Minimalist, Global Citizen", Cotter summarizes Miyamoto's biography, which included her birth in Tokyo in 1942, move to New York in 1964, friendship and work with Sol LeWitt, and decades-long work, life, and involvement with the Lower East Side. Cotter surveys the various influences, developments, and styles of Miyamoto's oeuvre, which is now on display in her first institutional solo exhibition. To read Cotter's review, click here.

Japan Society's website offers more information about the artist and her long career, with a video preview and online 3-D exhibition tour. Also available are details about the organization's current visit protocols and processes. For more details, click here.

Member Monday - Scholten Japanese Art

May 30, 2022

Bertha Lum (1869-1954), Road to the Forest at Nikko, woodblock print, 13 x 7 3/4 in.

Scholten Japanese Art, which opened in New York in 2000 and has presented more than fifty exhibitions of fine Japanese prints, paintings, and works of art, has never hesitated to explore new artistic avenues to bring the best and most interesting artworks to their collectors and visitors. In the past several years, Rene Scholten and Katherine Martin, President and Director of the gallery, respectively, have expanded the parameters of what is considered Japanese prints and paintings. Namely, their exhibitions have included art by non-Japanese artists influenced by the techniques and imagery that characterizes Japanese traditional visual culture, as well as the impact of Western influences on Japanese artists. The former theme has been at the heart of Scholten’s most recent and upcoming exhibitions.

The gallery described their spring exhibition, Influencers: Japonisme and Modern Japan as “an exploration of the influence of Japanese art on Western art and the development of modern international art modes such as art nouveau and art deco.” Included were 102 woodblock prints and paintings by important artists—male and female—from France, Austria, Germany, Britain, and the United States, as well as from Japan. (Read and see more about this exhibition, click here.)  Katherine Martin, who has directed the gallery since 1999, after several years as specialist of Japanese art at Sotheby’s, commented that she has long been fascinated by exchanges between artists of different cultures, and that even though artistic interactions between Japan and the West are well explored, new ones are always a “revelation.” Martin pointed to a particularly striking example. . . the clear similarity between a print by Utagawa Hiroshige and a painting by James Whistler, who was greatly influenced by the Japanese master, although he never traveled to the country. Especially interesting is that early modern Japanese printmakers were in turn much taken with impressionist artists such as Whistler, as can be seen in a print made by Kobayashi Eijiro.

L-R: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Full Moon Over Canal, with Bridge and Huge Stacks of Bamboo along the Bank, woodblock print, circa 1857, Scholten Japanese Art; James Whistler (1834-1903), Nocturne: Blue and Gold-Old Battersea Bridge, circa 1972-5, oil on canvas, Tate Britain (NO1959); Kobayashi Eijiro (1870-1946), Night Scenes: High Bridge by Night, ca. 1910-20s, Scholten Japanese Art

The Influencers exhibition emphasized an exploration of works by non-Japanese artists who employed the woodblock print-making process. Not only were these artists often self-taught, figuring out on their own how their Japanese predecessors achieved various visual effects, but they were often obliged to undertake all aspects of the printmaking process themselves, as they did not have available to them the numerous craftsmen with whom Japanese artists could collaborate. The works of these artists, such as Emil Orlik, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, John Edgar Platt, and Bertha Lum, in turn played a role in reviving interest in woodblock printmaking in Japan, known as the shin-hanga (“new prints”) movement of the early 20th century.

Martin observed that exhibitions at Scholten are a collaboration between herself and Rene Scholten and often “percolate” for years, as additions to the roster are acquired and new artists discovered. Martin was surprised and pleased with the very positive response to Influencers, both by experienced print collectors and several new enthusiasts and that works by the non-Japanese artists sold very quickly.

L-R: Katherine Martin, Rene and Margriet Scholten, 2010

Scholten’s upcoming exhibition, NOH: More Drama, which opens on June 16th, presents paintings, drawings and prints of Japanese theatrical subjects by Paul Binnie. (For more information about this exhibition, click here and watch these pages.) This is the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition of work by this artist, who was born in Scotland in 1967 and spent several years in Japan as an apprentice to learn traditional woodblock printing techniques. Binnie’s use of both Japanese and Western artistic practices to produce images that draw on imagery from many sources is the ongoing embodiment of Scholten gallery’s keen interest in following unexpected developments within the traditions of Japanese art and woodblock printmaking.

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