What's Happening in Asian Art...: In the Press

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).

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.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend and Summer's Beginning!

May 27, 2022

Karamono and Birds (detail), 18th century, pair of two-panel screens, ink, colors, gofun, and gold leaf on paper, each: 170 x 165 cm, Courtesy of Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art

The exuberant flowers and exotic birds in this vibrant and colorful pair of screens set a lively tone for the beginning of summer. Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art in Milan provides an informative commentary about this 18th century painting.

The term karamono is used to define ceramic, carved lacquerware, furniture, bronzes and other decorative items imported from China. They became highly prized as imported curios, used in Japan as kazari (display items) and even the shōgun would install karamono in his chamber (zashiki) and invite members of the court and clergy to view them. Often karamono have been copied by Japanese craftsmen, so shapes from Chinese bronzes and porcelain have been used in Japan for centuries. Flower baskets for ikebana were also imported from China. These karamono baskets had formal, symmetrical structures with tightly plaited weaves. Unlike those used during the tea ceremony, that maintain a natural and austere wabi-sabi construction, karamono bamboo baskets, like those represented on this pair of screens, were modelled on Chinese bronzes and show classical forms. Chinese bronzes themselves, as seen here, would also be used to display flower compositions.

Even exotic birds would serve as kazari. While bird-keeping was already popular since the early Edo period for the enjoyment of their songs, the habit of breeding birds for aesthetic purposes was quite unusual. Some entertainment stalls kept parrots and other rare specimens in exquisite cages for their customers’ enjoyment. The composition of this pair of screens seems inspired by the same amusement: kept on an elaborate perch or in an elegant cage fitted with a scholar’s stone, these birds are intended to intrigue and fascinate the viewer. Also, natural history studies became fashionable in Japan during the 18th century, due to the import of European books and prints. These imported images inspired paintings of rare birds which, regardless of whether they had any significance or meaning, were highly appreciated by collectors. Painting with this style were introduced by the nanga samurai painter and Confucian scholar Yanagisawa Kien (1703-1758), who began his training with artists of the Kanō school, but became a disciple of Watanabe Shūseki and then of the nanga painter Gion Nankai.

Read more and see more details, click here

Last Days for Chanoyu: A Taste of Tea at Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.

May 26, 2022

Chanoyu: A Taste of Tea, Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd.
Last day May 30, 2022

Dai Ichi Gallery is delighted to present a group of teawares this Spring, functional wares representing the art of Chanoyu, the ritual Japanese tea ceremony that involves serving, taking, and drinking of tea. The modern history of Chanoyu carries through the style and grace of tea tradition. Vases, teabowls, water jars, and other functional objects act as aesthetic anchors for the ceremony.

The exhibition focuses on functional pieces, featuring tea bowls, vases, water jars, and functional works by artists: Kato Mami 加藤真美 (born 1963), Goto Hideki 後藤秀樹 (born 1973), Shingu Sayaka 新宮さやか (born 1979), Murata Gen 村田元 (1904-1988), Shimaoka Tatsuzo 島岡達三 (LNT, 1919-2007), Kinjo Jiro 金城次郎 (LNT, 1912-2004), Sugimoto Sadamitsu 杉本貞光 (born 1935), Nakamura Takuo 中村卓夫 (born 1945), and many more.

Read more, click here

LAUNCH Video Available to Watch

March 23, 2022

Asia Week New York's LAUNCH Video, March 15, 2022
Available to watch online

For those who missed AWNY's LAUNCH presentation on March 15th, which gave an overview of Asia Week March 2022 highlights, the recording is now available on our website. Kicking off this spring's Asia Week, AWNY Planning Committee Chair Dessa Goddard emceed the presentations of gallery-exhibition highlights and auction previews by members of AWNY's Planning Committee. Mike Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, surveyed the variety of Asian art exhibitions currently on view in this institution.

To watch the video, click here

Press Coverage of Asia Week New York

March 22, 2022

This detail from the ArtDaily newsletter shows the top of their daily email from March 18th.

As we all know extremely well, effective and energetic publicity is critical to the success of Asia Week. Asia Week New York's own Marilyn White, who diligently and creatively organizes AWNY's PR efforts, prepared and distributed a campaign of press releases and outreach leading up to and supporting this year's Asia Week. The most recent press release highlighted the juxtaposition of the best antique and contemporary Asian art in our member galleries, auction houses, and museums.

Read the dispatch, click here

In turn, AWNY has been actively covered in the press. For example, in addition to the article that preceded Asia Week, The New York Times followed up with another article before the Open House Weekend. Illustrated by DAG's Surveyor and the Surveyed by Navjot Altaf, the NYT echoed the variety of offerings available during Asia Week by noting that visitors could see the "Buddha head from the fourth century at Kapoor Galleries on 67th Street, a vase from the Tang dynasty at Zetterquist Galleries on 66th Street, modern Japanese stoneware by female artists at Dai Ichi Arts on 64th Street", as well as the sculpture by Navjot. To read the article, click here.

This detail is also from the March 18th issue of ArtDaily

As many of you probably noticed in your daily email newsletter from ArtDaily, readers were offered a two-week blitz of an eye-catching banner expressing our common sentiment, "New York is the destination for Asian Art," and numerous highlights from member galleries, entitled "The Best Photos of the Day", an example of which is above.

Sotheby's Offers the Dr Wou Kiuan Collection

March 20, 2022

A Large Inscribed Jade Luohan Grotto, Qianlong period (1736-1795), lot 24, the Dr Wou Kiuan Collection

A Journey Through China's History: The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part 1
Sotheby's

On sale Tuesday, March 22 at 9am

This March, Sotheby’s will present Part 1 of one of the most comprehensive collections of Chinese Art ever assembled, The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection. Celebrating over 4,000 years of Chinese culture and art history, this distinguished encyclopedic collection ranges from Neolithic utilitarian vessels to paintings, calligraphy, imperial jades and porcelain, and more. The New York auction will be the first of a series of four single-owner sales to be held globally and represent the finest examples of virtually every category of Chinese art.

The collection of Dr. Wou Kiuan was long tucked away in a discreet corner of the southern British Isles. Across seven interconnecting rooms displayed a comprehensive visual history of China. Covering some 4,000 years of Chinese art, the collection formed by Dr. Wou Kiuan (1910-1997) ranges from utilitarian storage vessels made by the first Neolithic cultures that emerged along the Yellow River to the most dazzling porcelains ever commissioned to adorn the palaces of the Qing Emperors of China’s final dynasty. The extraordinary scope of the collection sets it apart from all other private collections of Chinese art formed in the mid-20th century, and it remains one of the last great collections of Chinese art in Europe today.

The uniquely comprehensive collection was formed by Wou Kiuan (Wu Quan, Heng Zhi), son of the Republican politician Wou Lien-Pai (Wu Jinglian, Wu Lianbo) (1873-1944). Wou Kiuan was born in Xingcheng, Liaoning Province in Northeast China on June 25, 1910, entering the world mere months before the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. Educated at Zhendan University in Shanghai, Wou Kiuan studied French language before he moved to France at the age of twenty to study law at the University of Grenoble and was awarded his doctorate degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. Appointed Secretary-General for the Overseas Chinese Committee at the League of Nations in Geneva in 1937, Wou embarked on an illustrious career in diplomacy. In 1939, he joined the newly-formed Chinese government Foreign Affairs Service at the French embassy in Paris; before moving to London in 1941 where he worked for the Chinese embassy in London until 1947 when he was recalled to China to serve in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs until his retirement in 1952.

At the heart of Dr Wou’s drive to collect was a burning desire to preserve the relics of China’s rich historical past scattered across Europe and to promote Chinese art and culture. It was no doubt fortuitous that Wou’s years of collecting coincided with an abundant availability of exceptional Chinese art on the London market. From the mid-1950s to late 60s he was able to form a collection of well over 1,000 works that together represented virtually every category of Chinese art. In 1968 he opened the doors to the Wou Lien-Pai Museum, named in honor of his father. The collection was arranged chronologically, with the objects displayed in wood-framed vitrines, each accompanied by typed and handwritten didactic texts. Over the years the Museum became a destination for collectors, academics, and visiting dignitaries. To this day the Wou family has remained a conscientious custodian of the collection, loaning works to exhibitions and publishing a two-volume catalogue in 2011, thereby continuing to educate future generations.

Read more, click here

Apollo Features Asia Week New York

March 16, 2022

On page 36 of the February 2022 issue of Apollo Magazine begins Jo Lawson-Tancred's preview of this season's Asia Week New York.

The February 2022 issue of the highly regarded international art magazine Apollo included a two-page preview of this season's Asia Week New York, Written by London-based arts writer Jo Lawson-Tancred, the focus was on Asia Week's return to live exhibitions and auctions and the high quality of artworks that will be available. In particular, Lawson-Tancred noted the shows of participating dealers Francesca Galloway, Kapoor Galleries, Eric Zetterquist, Sebastian Izzard, Fu Qiumeng, and Joan Mirviss, along with illustrations of several fine artworks on view this week. She also mentioned next week's Asian art auctions and two exhibitions currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum.

The full article, as well other press coverage of Asia Week New York, can be found in the Press Room section of the AWNY website. For the Apollo, click here.

The New York Times Highlights Asia Week New York

March 14, 2022

The feature on Asia Week New York in the online version of The New York Times.

In this weekend's The New York Times, Will Heinrich highlighted several Asian Art exhibitions at local museums and galleries that are available during this season's Asia Week New York. In particular, Heinrich noted exhibitions at the Met, Korea Society, and Japan Society, as well as the selling shows at Scholten Japanese Art, Francesca Galloway, and Onishi Gallery. Just as wealthy patrons of Japanese woodblock prints did in the Edo period, Heinrich selected one of Sebastian Izzard's surimono as the lead photo. Visitors were directed to Asia Week New York's website for information. To read the full article, click here

National Museum of Asian Art Opens Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan

March 5, 2022

Unkoku Tohan (1635-1724), River Landscape, Edo period, late 17th-early 18th century, handscroll,
ink and color on paper, Gift of Charles Lang Freer

Mind Over Matter: Zen in Medieval Japan, National Museum of Asian Art
March 5–July 24, 2022

This exhibition showcases the breadth of the museum’s medieval Zen collections, highlighting rare and striking works from Japan and China to illustrate the visual, spiritual, and philosophical power of Zen. Rooted in the culture of medieval Japan, the lessons of Zen have become an important part of contemporary American life, as applicable today as they were in premodern times.

Monastic Zen painting in medieval Japan (ca. 1200–1600) is one of the great artistic traditions of East Asia and of the world. The abbreviated, seemingly impromptu paintings in monochrome ink have influenced artists and enthusiasts for centuries. Many of the most accomplished artists of this era—Mokuan, Ryōzen, Shūbun, Sesshū, Sesson, and many others—were Zen monks credited by later generations as the creators of a unique and remarkable legacy of ink painting. Indeed, Zen monk-painters inspired a number of the most important professional painting lineages of Japan’s early modern period (ca. 1600–1868) and formed a thematic backbone of Japanese art and cultural identity in modern times.

To learn more about some of the key aspects of Zen, an online interactive experience Voices of Zen: Contemporary Voices accompanies the exhibition. The interactive features three artworks from the exhibition—a splashed-ink landscape by the sixteenth-century artist Sōen, dynamic calligraphy by the rebellious monk Ikkyū, and an early sixteenth-century tea bowl fixed using kintsugi repair.

Read more, click here

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