What's Happening in Asian Art...

Songtsam Hotels Resorts Tours, launches sustainability initiatives

June 30, 2021

Songtsam Meili Lodge

Songtsam Hotels Resorts Tours, a boutique luxury group in Tibet, has been firmly committed to sustainability and to supporting local communities since its founding 20 years ago by Baima Duoji. At the newly opened Songtsam Lodge Namcha Barwa, the goal is to help improve the Dalin Village’s living standards and support local development.

Another initiative has been to preserve the 2000 year old tradition of making Nixi Black Pottery in Shangri-La City, Diqing Prefecture.  Songtsam's guests are taken to visit the traditional Tibetan villages of Nixi to experience pottery-making firsthand. They often purchase these vessels, thereby contributing income to the Nixi craftsmen and to the local village.  

Songtsam pays special attention to environmental sustainability in all aspects of the design and construction process of their hotels and lodges.  Songtsam Lodge Ranwu, with an altitude of approx. 13,779 feet, stands at the highest altitude of all Songtsam hotels so far. In order to preserve the natural environment, the building was designed as modular prefabrication, embedded under a high cliff, hidden from sight, despite the difficult construction challenges.  Most of Songtsam’s lodges are brick-wood structures and are made of wood recycled from abandoned buildings or from trees that have naturally fallen, due to Tibet’s logging ban. The buildings are of a similar size and architectural style to those in Tibet’s villages and fit into the local environment.


As part of their involvement with the preservation of the natural ecosystem, Songtsam organizes tours for their guests to enjoy the magnificent natural scenery and learn about the complex plants within the Hengduan Mountains in the area of the Three Parallel Rivers.

Cooperating with Baima Snow Mountain National Nature Reserve, Songtsam launched the Tibetan Eared Pheasant Charity Program to restore the population of the rapidly disappearing protected species. The first group of Tibetan-eared pheasants farmed and nurtured by the Songtsam staff have been successfully released back to nature.

For more information about Songtsam visit www.songtsam.com/en/about

New exhibition at Joan B Mirviss LTD

June 28, 2021

Sugiura Yasuyoshi (b. 1949)  Magnolia Hypoleuca  2016  Glazed stoneware  8 5/8  x 18 1/8  x 18 1/2 in.

Summer Sculptures, at Joan B Mirviss LTD, showcases the many ways that earth, through fire, can appear to transform into completely different materials.  The featured artists take advantage of this elemental change to shape clay into strikingly inventive sculptures. Some go further in exploiting these unexpected transformations by adding textures or patterns to evoke wood, metal, rubber, glass, stone, or textile.

Through the use of a rare type of gray clay and multiple firings, Itō Tadashi (b.1952) creates sculptures that have the appearance of antique metal. The large geometric works of Imai Hyōe (b. 1951), with their hemispheres of concentric black bands, suggest the elasticity of rubber. Rectangular decorations in matte glazes on the tiered block form by Sawada Hayato (b. 1978) emphasize its wood-like appearance, as if it were hewn rather than molded.

Celadon glaze has long been prized for its translucent quality reminiscent of glass, a trait that Kino Satoshi (b. 1987), Minegishi Seikō (b. 1952), and Yagi Akira (b. 1955) highlight in their various light-catching sculptures.

Fujino Sachiko’s (b. 1950) background in textiles informs her approach to folding and pleating clay with the intricacy of fabric, which in her latest sculptures she employs to great effect.  And in a rare departure from her biomorphic forms, a recent work by Katsumata Chieko (b. 1950) looks like an encrusted stone pillar excavated from ancient ruins, an effect enhanced by its ridged monolithic form and textured gray surface.

Nowhere is the utter transformation of clay more evident, however, than in the flower forms of Sugiura Yasuyoshi (b. 1949). Sugiura’s stunning, oversized summer blooms appear complete with delicate petals, curling leaves, and individual stamen. His naturalistic sculptures point to the real mysteries that can arise from the earth, as each of our artists explore the endlessly surprising transformations possible in clay.

The exhibition can be viewed in the gallery and online here (https://www.mirviss.com/exhibitions/summer-sculptures)

Objects in Focus

June 25, 2021

Torii Ippo, 2011, Spring Surf, madake bamboo, rattan 29.25 x 28 x 17 in, Courtesy of TAI Modern

Torii Ippo (1930-2011) was the oldest son of Torii Hounsai, a well-regarded bamboo artist who won many prizes from the early 1900s to the late 1930s for his flower baskets and offering trays. As a young boy, Torii liked to spend time in his father’s studio making toys out of bamboo scraps. Though Hounsai had several students who assisted him, he chose not to train his own son. We do not know why. However, in 1950, when Hounsai became ill, he called his 20-year-old son and asked him to become a bamboo artist and take over the family studio. Hounsai died shortly thereafter. Torii was not sure if he had the aptitude or artistic talent to take on this task but decided to give it a try.

Torii taught himself how to select quality bamboo, how to prepare the material, and how to construct and weave a basket by closely copying his father’s baskets, thus honing his skills through trial and error.

For the first 30 years of his career, Torii Ippo made baskets for use in matcha tea ceremonies. But, at the age of 50, Torii felt the time had come to create and share an entirely new style of art. In 1980, he created his first sculpture, Tabane, a large-scale, architectural bamboo piece that was a dramatic departure from the traditional baskets he had been making. Over the next 30 years, Torii established himself as one of the most original and successful bamboo sculptors of his time. In 2006, he became the third bamboo artist to be awarded the top prize at Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition).

Spring Surf was the last major piece Torii created before his death in 2011. Inspired by the crashing waves of Mikawa Bay and the Pacific Ocean, this bold and dynamic sculpture employs the artist’s signature band construction.

Torii’s work is in collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens; De Young Museum; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Nishio City Museum; and Mint Museum.

To view TAI Modern's current show of his work, click here.

Virtual Symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

June 24, 2021

Removal of lining papers from the back of a Japanese painting using transmitted light (F1904.202).

East Asian Painting Conservation: Perspectives on Education, Research, and Practice
Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 8 – 10 am

Register here

Please visit the Symposium webpage to see a complete list of talks, summaries and speaker biographies in English and either Chinese, Korean or Japanese.

East Asian painting conservation and mounting have a long history of traditional practices rooted in the cultures of China, Korea, and Japan. Since the late twentieth century, however, internationalization and the influences of modern technology and scientific research have rapidly advanced the field. This symposium will explore the three themes—“Education and Training,” “Conservation and Research,” and “Materials and Methods”—that are central to these current developments. Six speakers will share perspectives as conservators, scientists, curators, and educators to broaden our understanding of East Asian painting conservation and related disciplines. By presenting diverse viewpoints, we hope to enrich the ongoing discussion of shifting educational models, the integration of traditional practice and modern innovation, the impact of cross-cultural influences, and the growing importance of interdisciplinary cooperation.

This symposium is organized by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Artist Talk at The Korea Society

June 24, 2021

Artist Talk: Mina Cheon
Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 | 6:30 PM (EDT)

The global art activist Mina Cheon draws inspiration from the partition of the Korean peninsula, in which she enlists a range of mediums including painting, sculpture, video, installation, and performance to deconstruct and reconcile the precarious history and ongoing coexistence between North and South Korea. Her solo exhibition at The Korea Society showcases her most recent painting series of Unification Flags.

Mina Cheon will discuss her art and career; with a special introduction by Ethan Cohen, director of Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York.

This Artist Talk will be held at The Korea Society. The number of attendees will be limited, and all attendees are encouraged to have been fully vaccinated by the date of the event. Face covering is required to enter the building. Live webcast of the event will also be available.

Click here to RSVP

The Art of Japan: New Acquisitions

June 21, 2021

New Acquisitions for Summer 2021

Enoshima Island, above, is connected to the shore by a long causeway. Here, a group of women and children gather shells and enjoy the beach with a view of the island and Fuji-san in the distance. This place has prevailing ocean breezes and now has a yacht harbor nestled on the left side of the island.  Enoshima was the ideal sailing venue for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and and is the site for the 2020-21 Tokyo Olympics Sailing events which start in just a few days.

Please visit the new website and view over 100 new acquisitions here:  www.theartofjapan.com

June Collection at Dai Ichi Art

June 19, 2021

Miwa Kazuhiko 三輪和彦 Japanese, b. 1951, "Abyss" Guinomi 淵淵盃, stoneware, H1.5" x Dia3.7"; H3.8 x Dia9.3cm, with signed wood box

This June, we reflect on Kigo (季語) or "Season words", which refers to words used to express the seasons and, in turn, feeling, in classical Japanese poetry. As June arrives in full swing, we may observe the term "minazuki" (水無月; the month of water), conceptualizing June. In 1941, the poet, author, and critic Masaoka Shiki 正岡 子規 (1897-1902), wrote about minazuki:


In the coolness
of the empty sixth-month sky...
the cuckoo's cry.

Complementary to Masaoka Shiki's poetry, Dai Ichi Arts features exceptional functional Sake Wares by Miwa Kazuhiko, Koie Ryoji, Kakurenzaki Ryuichi, Takeuchi Shingo, and more, echoing the refreshing tone of this summer season.

More information here...

New exhibition at Chambers Fine Art

June 17, 2021

Wei Jia, No.19238, 2019, Gouache, ink and Xuan paper collage on paper. 27 1/2 x 40 1/4 in., 纸上水粉、墨与宣纸拼贴, 70 x 102.2 cm

Wei Jia: Good Times

Exhibition Dates:
June 19 - August 22, 2021 at Fou Gallery
June 24 - August 13, 2021 at Chambers Fine Art
Fou Gallery
410 Jefferson Ave #1
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Open House, June 26 & 27, 3-6pm
Chambers Fine Art
55 E 11th St, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Open House, June 24, 3-6pm

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce that we will be presenting Wei Jia's latest solo exhibition Good Times with Fou Gallery. This is Wei Jia’s 17th solo exhibition in the United States. This exhibition will present representative works by Wei Jia from 2018 to 2021.

The works in this exhibition are different from his previous series: they are all collages on paper, and almost none of them are drawn with a brush. Many of the works in this exhibition were created during Wei Jia's quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This isolated lifestyle gave him more time to carefully reflect upon and explore his own memories and experiences by organizing the collage fragments of his previous works.

Wei Jia practiced traditional calligraphy, Chinese painting and poetry from an early stage. Wei graduated with a B.F.A from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (1984) and M.F.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (1987). He currently works and lives in New York and Beijing. Wei has had numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally, including Central Academy of Fines Arts (Beijing), National Museum of Art (Beijing), CU Art Museum University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, U.S.A.), Lincoln Center (New York), etc. His recent shows include The 8th International Ink Art Biennale of Shenzhen, Hua Art Museum, Shenzhen (2019); Blurred Boundaries, New York School of Interior Design Gallery, New York (2018); Wei Jia: Recent Work, Schmidt/Dean Gallery, Philadelphia (2017).

For more information, click here

Zoom Panel Discussion at Joan B Mirviss LTD

June 17, 2021

Suzuki Gorô (b. 1941), Large double-eared, irregularly rounded, and covered shino-glazed mizusashi (waterjar) with Momoyama-style floral patterning, Glazed stoneware, 2010, 5 3/4 x 8 1/4 in.

Tea as Context: Treasuring Ceramics
Thursday, June 24 at 5pm EDT

Internationally recognized as a pillar of Japanese culture, the art of tea (chanoyu), with its highly formalized aspects, is often misperceived as a stiff and impassive ritual. Rather, throughout its history, chanoyu has developed from the treasured relationships and bonds formed over “shared hot water.” These connections are integral to a longstanding, vibrant tea culture and further the rich stories behind the diverse practices and exquisite tea objects seen today. This unmissable Zoom event assembles an all-star panel of experts on the subject. A discussion of the relative merits of a teabowl for the curious collector will be a highlight of the event.

NICOLLE BERTOZZI, PhD candidate in Japanese history at Columbia University
LOUISE CORT, Curator Emerita of Ceramics, Freer | Sackler, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
ANDREW MASKE, Associate Professor in Art History and Visual Studies, Arts of Asia and Japan Studies, University of Kentucky
MORGAN PITELKA, Professor and Chair, Department of Asian Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ANDREW WATSKY, Professor and Director, Program in East Asian Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

Click here to register for the event

A confirmation email with the invitation link will be automatically sent to you once you register.

Francesca Galloway and Thomas Murray in the Hali Fair Online

June 16, 2021

Pori situtu’, Ceremonial Cloth 16027, Toraja People, North Luwu Regency, Rongkong, Sulawesi, Cotton; warp ikat, 19th or early 20th century, 96 x 58 in / 244 x 147 cm, courtesy of Thomas Murray

Hali Fair

HALI Fair Online is a new virtual event, running 23-27 June 2021, focused exclusively on antique rugs and textiles from around the globe, comprising a Fair, Exhibitions and Events including lectures, interviews and presentations.

Exhibitors will be available online during the five-day event, to discuss the works on show with visitors to their virtual stands

Nou-Rouz Shawl
‘Nou-Rouz' Shawl, French, Paris, designed by Amedee Couder in 1839 and woven by Caussen, Woven wool and silk 'tissage au lance, decoupe', courtesy Francesca Galloway


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