The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Asian Art in Manhattan

What follow is an excerpt from an art exhibition review from the New York Times. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the full article, which includes more pictures of the artworks.

Enjoy ...

Art Review
Artistic Treasures Take Manhattan During Asia Week

Published: March 31, 2006

ASIA WEEK is upon New York, and it is bigger than ever. Two substantial Asian art fairs have taken over the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue, at 67th Street, and the Gramercy Park Armory, on Lexington Avenue at 26th Street. And about two dozen special gallery exhibitions are spread around the Upper East Side. Timed to coincide with the fairs and mounted by local and visiting dealers, some are sublime. Quite a few are at a single address — the Fuller Building at 57th Street and Madison Avenue — almost making up a third fair, and a very tony one at that.

But this year the movable feast that is Asia Week is more in flux than usual, jostled by changes from all sides. These include the exploding economic growth of China, which has created a market there for Chinese art of all kinds, driving up prices and limiting the dwindling amount of top-quality historical material coming to the West. Adding to the overall shortages are the complex issues of legitimate provenance and new attitudes regarding exports.

Locally, the impetus for it all — the revered uptown International Asian Art Fair, before which Asia Week did not exist — is very much in transition. The fair's purview has been expanded to include art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, much like its less patrician rival, the New York Arts of Pacific Asia Show. This year's fair also includes unprecedented quantities of contemporary Korean, Japanese and Chinese art.

Some of the International Asian Art Fair's most respected veteran dealers have not returned this year, among them Doris Wiener, Grace Wu Bruce, Roger Keverne, Sydney L. Moss Ltd. and John Eskenazi. The reasons are complex, and a certain amount of eye-rolling about the fair's new shape is inevitable. But often the cause seems to be the dearth of good material or simply individual shifts in ways of working. Ms. Wiener, the doyenne of dealers of ancient Indian and Southeast Asian art, is simply taking the year off. Mr. Eskenazi is scaling back his business to concentrate on curatorial projects.

International Asian Art Fair

In truth, the International Asian Art Fair is not what it used to be: a place for relatively hushed (given the setting), awe-inspiring, finely tuned presentations of museum-quality works. And it is not what it may someday become. At this point it seems bewilderingly suspended over three quite different alternatives. It could become a fair devoted to the best from a range of non-Western cultures, a fair of contemporary Asian art that is prone to hollow reiterations of past glories, or a routine fair of older Asian material dominated by familiar examples of, say, Tang and Song dynasty ceramics.

This said, some of the fair's stalwarts have put up wonderful work this year, including Nancy Wiener (daughter of Doris Wiener), whose display of Southeast Asian sculptures is overseen by a serene 10th-century Khmer sandstone statue of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Hiroshi Yanagi's handsomely shadowy booth features eight carved-wood Buddhas and Shinto deities dating to Heian period. Sandra Whitman is presenting a rare and enormous 17th-century Chinese kilim rug in shades of apricot and white; its four panels are woven with schematic cranes, stenciled with traditional Chinese carpet motifs and bordered by a bold expanse of continuous stripes that, like the kilim technique, reflect the Mongol influence. Uragami Sokyu-Do features Liao dynasty ceramics.

One can see engrossing displays of textiles at Linda Wrigglesworth Ltd. (Chinese and Tibetan court costumes) and at Tai Gallery/Textile Arts. Carlo Cristi has marvelous material from Tibet, Nepal and Central Asia, including an unusual eighth-century Tibetan conch shell carved with 10 avatars of the Hindu god Vishnu. Erik Thomsen has Japanese ceramics and lacquer, including an unusual 13th-century Suzu storage jar with a herringbone-textured surface. At Gregg Baker, a wonderfully self-referential Japanese screen depicts a cluster of screens painted in different styles.

1 comment:

CARDINAL009 said...

Great find!