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Asian Art Calendar of Events

Monday, April 19, 2021
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    New Resound: Ancient Bells of China
    Place: Freer Gallery of Art / Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution - Washington, D.C., 1050 Independence Ave SW, USA
    Date: Oct 14, 2019 to Jul 05, 2021
    Detail: Bells were among the first metal objects created in China. Beginning over 3,500 years ago, small, primitive noisemakers grew into gongs and further evolved into sets of hand bells for playing melodies. Further, centuries of technological experimentation resulted in more sophisticated bells that produced two pitches when struck in different spots.

    Variations in size, shape, decoration, and sound also reveal regional differences across north and south China. By the late Bronze Age large sets of tuned bells were played in ensemble performances in both areas. Cast from bronze, these durable bells preserve valuable information about the character of early Chinese music.

    Today we can use technology to explore these ancient instruments and to explain their acoustical properties, but we know little about the sound of this early music. To bring the bells to life, we commissioned three composers to create soundscapes using the recorded tones of a 2,500-year-old bell set on display. Each of them also produced a video projection to interpret his composition with moving images that allow us to “see sound.”

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    New Charged with Buddha’s Blessings Relics from an Ancient Stupa
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: May 30, 2020 to May 30, 2021
    Detail: See it to believe whether Buddhist relics and their stories have power. In 1898, excavation of a site in Piprahwa, northern India, revealed an ancient stupa with five intact reliquaries, one of which had an inscription claiming it contained the remains of the Buddha. This installation tells the story of this remarkable discovery and features the offerings of gems and gold foil ornaments that were enshrined together with the reliquaries. In essence, these items can be considered “contact relics,” imbued with the blessings of the Buddha’s corporeal remains, objects with the power to increase merit.

    Curated by Elena Pakhoutova.

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    New Gateway to Himalayan Art
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: May 31, 2020 to May 30, 2021
    Detail: Gateway to Himalayan Art introduces visitors to the main forms, concepts, and meanings of Himalayan art represented in our collection. A large multimedia map orients the visitors and highlights cultural regions of a diverse Himalayan cultural sphere that includes parts of present day India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Mongolia. Visitors are invited to explore exemplary objects from the Museum’s collection, organized and presented in thematic sections: Figures and Symbols, Materials and Techniques, and Purpose and Function.

    The exhibition employs a concise and informative approach to convey the principal notions inherent in the rich traditions of Himalayan art to first-time visitors and specialists alike. In addition to sculptures and paintings, objects such as a stupa, prayer wheel, and ritual implements demonstrate that their patrons sought the accumulation of merit and hoped for wealth, long life, and spiritual gains, all to be fulfilled through the ritual use of these objects and commissioning works of art.

    Among the featured installations are a display that explains the process of Nepalese lost-wax metal casting and a presentation of the stages of Tibetan hanging scroll painting (thangka). Visitors will also encounter life-size reproductions of murals from Tibet’s Lukhang Temple, photographed by Thomas Laird and Clint Clemens.

    Curated by Elena Pakhoutova

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    New Shrine Room Projects: Shiva Ahmadi /Genesis Breyer P-Orridge / Tsherin Sherpa
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: Oct 11, 2020 to Jun 06, 2021
    Detail: In dialogue with the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room at the center of the gallery, artists Shiva Ahmadi, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and Tsherin Sherpa each reinterpret traditional and religious iconography and practices through sculptural installation, painting, and video.

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    New The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: Oct 11, 2020 to Sep 27, 2021
    Detail: Since it first opened, the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room has been one of the most popular installations at the Rubin Museum, providing an immersive experience inspired by a traditional shrine.

    Art and ritual objects are displayed as they would in an elaborate private household shrine, a space used for offerings, devotional prayer, rituals, and contemplation. The design of the Shrine Room showcases these objects while incorporating elements of traditional Tibetan architecture and the color schemes of Tibetan homes.

    For Museum visitors, this richly detailed, immersive installation provides an oasis for peaceful contemplation at the heart of the Rubin Museum.

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    New Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia
    Place: Freer Gallery of Art / Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution - Washington, D.C., 1050 Independence Ave SW, USA
    Date: Oct 14, 2020 to Jan 17, 2022
    Detail: Encounter Buddhist art through the lens of spiritual practice and the perspectives of practitioners. Drawing on the Freer|Sackler’s collections from across Asia, this exhibition expands the understanding of Buddhism in Asian art through both beautiful objects and immersive spaces. Visitors can step into a Tibetan Buddhist shrine, travel the Buddhist world with an eighth-century Korean monk, visit a Sri Lankan stupa, meet teachers and guardians, and discover multiple Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Encountering the Buddha illuminates the ways in which art and place embody and express the teachings of Buddhism.

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    New Masterworks: A Journey through Himalayan Art
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: Jan 29, 2021 to Jan 08, 2024
    Detail: Masterworks: A Journey through Himalayan Art explores major strands in the development of art from the Himalayan region covering a period of more than one thousand years, with objects drawn primarily from the Rubin Museum’s collection.

    Masterworks is organized geographically and chronologically, showcasing the diverse regional traditions of Tibet in relation to the neighboring areas of Eastern India, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Mongolia. Juxtaposing the art of Himalayan regions over time sheds light on the geographic, historical, religious, and artistic interrelationships among these cultures.

    This ongoing exhibition reflects our evolving understanding of the relatively young field of Himalayan art. Masterworks is regularly updated as new art objects and texts come to light, reflecting the latest developments in the field. The current iteration features several loans from the Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art, which brings further depth to the themes and extraordinary craftsmanship demonstrated throughout the exhibition.

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    New Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power
    Place: Asia Society Texas Center - Houston, 1370 Southmore Blvd., Texas, USA
    Date: Feb 13, 2021 to Jul 11, 2021
    Detail: Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) proudly presents Shahidul Alam: Truth to Power, the first comprehensive U.S. museum survey of Shahidul Alam, the renowned Bangladeshi photographer, writer, activist, and institution builder and a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018. Through 60+ images and ephemera, the exhibition will show the breadth of Alam’s practice and impact throughout his four-decade career. The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 13, 2021 and runs through Sunday, July 11, 2021 and admission is free.

    The exhibition includes portraits, landscapes, and scenes of daily life, strife, and resistance in the "majority world" — a phrase Alam has used since the 1990s to reframe the notion of the "third world" or "global south." The term also confronts the ways in which Western media continues to define how the majority of the world's population — especially Bangladesh — is portrayed in relation to poverty and disaster.

    This pioneering exhibition aims to provide visitors with a nuanced view of Bangladesh and South Asia, to explore systems of personal and collective agency, and to underscore the importance of self-representation, empowerment, and truth as embodied in Alam's life and work.

    "My introduction into photography was for political reasons,” states Alam. “It was social justice I was after and I recognized that photography was this powerful tool. And if I was going to fight, I would use the most powerful tools available. I took on photography but I'm not married to the medium. It's social justice I'm after and I will use whatever tool that works at any particular time.”

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    New Nature/Supernature: Visions of This World and Beyond in Japanese Woodblock Prints
    Place: Japan House - Los Angeles, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., California, USA
    Date: Feb 15, 2021 to May 31, 2021
    Detail: This exhibition of over sixty Japanese prints from the Scripps College collection in Claremont, CA features works by some of Japan’s finest artists –Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), Yōshū Chikanobu (1838-1912), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889), Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950) and Kawase Hasui (1883-1957).* These prints introduce some of Japan’s most beautiful and beloved landscapes and some of the supernatural beings who are believed to inhabit them. We hope that they will encourage a deeper understanding of the Japanese natural environment and some of the ancient beliefs that continue to inform Japanese culture today.

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    New Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment
    Place: The Rubin Museum of Art - New York, 150 West 17th St., USA
    Date: Mar 12, 2021 to Jan 03, 2022
    Detail: Unplug, step away from the chaos, and embark on a journey of self-knowledge and transformation with Awaken.

    Awaken presents the Tibetan Buddhist path to enlightenment with 37 artworks from the 7th to the 21st century, drawn largely from the collections of the Rubin Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

    As you navigate the exhibition, you’ll learn how powerful artworks, such as sculptures, hanging scroll paintings, illuminated manuscript pages, and ritual items, help practitioners develop awareness and recognize that everything is interconnected. Inspired by the journey to awakening, you may begin to realize that your own perspective is changing and glimpse into what is known as the awakened state of mind.

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    New Yoshitomo Nara
    Place: Los Angeles County Museum of Art - Los Angeles, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., USA
    Date: Apr 01, 2021 to Jul 05, 2021
    Detail: Yoshitomo Nara is among the most beloved Japanese artists of his generation. His widely recognizable portraits of menacing figures reflect the artist’s raw encounters with his inner self. A peripatetic traveler, Nara’s oeuvre takes inspiration from a wide range of resources—memories of his childhood, music, literature, studying and living in Germany (1988–2000), exploring his roots in Japan, Sakhalin, and Asia, and modern art from Europe and Japan. Spanning over 30 years from 1987 to 2020, Yoshitomo Nara views the artist’s work through the lens of his longtime passion—music. Featuring album covers Nara began collecting as an adolescent, paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, an installation that recreates his drawing studio, and never-before-exhibited idea sketches that reflect the artist’s empathic eye, this exhibition shines a light on Nara’s conceptual process. One of the main highlights will be Miss Forest, a 26-foot outdoor painted bronze sculpture that will grace Wilshire Boulevard.

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    New Nestorian Crosses of the Yuan Dynasty
    Place: University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong - Hong Kong, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
    Date: Jun 10, 2016 to Dec 31, 2022
    Detail: The University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Nestorian crosses were assembled by a Mr. F. A. Nixon who served as a British postal commissioner in Beijing in the 1930s and 1940s. Subsequently the collection was acquired by the Lee Hysan Foundation and donated to Hong Kong University in 1961.

    Nestorian bronze crosses were cast in the Ordos region in north-west China (Inner Mongolia) during the Yuan dynasty (1272–1368). They measure between 3 and 8 cm in height, are flat plaque-like ornaments with an outline in high relief and have a loop on the back suggesting that they were used as personal seals and were worn on the body. The loop facilitates a strapping to human clothing or girdles. The fine motifs of the cast Christian and Buddhist symbols and the rare survival of red-coloured ink deposits in intermittent lower parts of the design, suggested that these seals were used as chops and transferred their individual designs by printing them on other matters. Although all crosses are cast, the Nestorian crosses all seem to be unique and are, in fact, characteristic for their individual designs.

    Stylistically, all crosses fall into 4 different categories, many with mixed Christian and Buddhist motifs in the same artefact. The majority are executed in crucifix form—hence the group description as ‘crosses’—with either flat or round ends. Other ‘crosses’ in fact take the shape of animals, predominantly birds, but also hares and fish, as well as geometrical patterns, such as sun-like designs and miscellaneous Chinese seal-like forms.

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    New Ancient Religions
    Place: Asian Civilisations Museum - Singapore, 1 Empress Place, Singapore
    Date: Dec 12, 2017 to Dec 31, 2021
    Detail: The ACM permanent galleries on Level 2 explore how artists have masterfully expressed complex ideas about life and existence with religions in sculpture and paintings. Beginning with the Ancient Religions exhibition, which explores early styles and motifs of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism in India and how they spread to China and the larger Southeast Asia, the story continues in the following galleries as the art developed and evolved through the centuries.

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    New Egami Etsu: Facebook
    Place: Chambers Fine Art - New York, 55 East 11th Street, 5th Floor, USA
    Date: Mar 11, 2021 to Apr 30, 2021
    Detail: The gallery is excited to present Facebook, a solo exhibition by Egami Etsu. This will be the artist’s first exhibition in the United States. Born in Japan in 1994, Egami spent many of her childhood years in the United States and Europe and has noted that even when she was in high school she was fascinated by Japanese masters of Western style painting (Yoga) such as Ryusei Kishida who looked to Europe for inspiration in contrast to the inward-looking Nihonga artists. In 2012 she moved to Beijing and studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2016. The following year she moved to Germany where she studied media art at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. She subsequently returned to CAFA, receiving her M.F.A. in 2019.

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    New Jade: The Stone of Heaven. Seven Thousand Years of Chinese Carvings
    Place: Throckmorton Fine Art - New York, 145 East 57th Street, 3rd Floor, USA
    Date: Mar 18, 2021 to Jun 12, 2021
    Detail: Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to offer an exhibit of some eighty-five Chinese jade carvings. The works span nearly seven thousand years of Chinese civilization, the early, formative history of the world’s most populous nation-state.

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