- Cup, Chinese, seventeenth century. Rhinoceros horn, 5 ½ inches. Photograph courtesy of Christie’s Images.
- Woven basket made by Kenji Fuji, 1942–1946. Crepe paper, twine, wire, and starch. National Japanese Society, San Francisco. Photograph by Terry Heffernan for Ten Speed.
Asian art in New York
March 20 to 28 is Asia Week in New York, when more than thirty dealers, auction houses, and museums come together to offer an array of exhibitions, sales, lectures, and receptions highlighting the best in Asian art.
The Asia Society, the organizer of this year’s event, will kick off the week with a March 22 benefit reception and dinner dance, Celebration of Asia Week: AllThingsArtASIA, and will have two special exhibitions on view in its museum: Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea and Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art. Other participating museums—including the Brooklyn Museum, the China Institute, the Japan Society, the Korea Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, and the Rubin Museum of Art, among others—will also be holding special tours of their galleries and exhibitions during the week.
This year’s Arts of Pacific Asia Show, the centerpiece of Asia Week, will be held from March 25 to 28 at 7W New York at Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, the same location as last year. The seventy-five exhibiting galleries come from the United States, Europe, and Asia, and will feature important textiles and statuary, paintings, furniture, ceramics, small objects, and jewelry ranging in period from early millennia to the twentieth century. A preview will be held on March 24.
The year’s major auctions of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian works of art, as well as classical and contemporary Indian art will take place at Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, and Doyle. At Christie’s, the week will be highlighted by the single-owner sale For the Enjoyment of Scholars: Selections from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection, which features an exquisite group of Chinese carvings, including a rare seventeenth-century dated and inscrib-ed rhinoceros horn cup.
In addition to the New York Asian art galleries, participating dealers include London-based Eskenazi, which will be mounting an exhibition of works by a contemporary Chinese landscape pain-ter, Trees, Rocks, Mist and Mountains by Li Huayi, at the Ukrainian Institute. John Eskenazi will be holding his annual exhibition at the Williams, Moretti and Irving Gallery from March 15 to 28, featuring a remarkable selection of ancient Asian sculpture. For a complete listing of dealer exhibitions, visit the Asia Week Web site at www.asiaweeknewyork.org.
Arts of Pacific Asia Show · 7W New York, New York · March 24–28 · www.caskeylees.com
Asia Society Museum · Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea, to May 2 · Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art, March 16 to June 20 · www.asiasociety.org
Sotheby’s · Chinese Works of Art, March 23 · Indian and Southeast Asian Art, March 24 · previews begin March 19 · www.sothebys.com
Christie’s · South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, March 23 · Indian and Southeast Asian Art, March 23 · Japanese and Korean Art, March 24 · For the Enjoyment of Scholars: Selections from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection, March 25 · Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, March 25 and 26 · previews begin March 19 · www.christies.com
Doyle New York · Asian Works of Art, March 22 · previews begin March 19 · www.doylenewyork.com
Bonhams · Fine Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Margaret Polak, March 24 · Fine Japanese Works of Art · March 25, previews begin March 20 · www.bonhams.com
Japanese American art and Western photographs at the Smithsonian
Arts and crafts produced during the United States government’s internment of thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 is the subject of The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–1946, opening at the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery in Washington on March 5.
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in February 1942 at the insistence of state representatives whose constituents were seized by fear of another attack, resulted in the imprisonment of some 122,000 Japanese—more than two-thirds of whom were American citizens, and about half children—at ten internment camps scattered across Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Arkansas, California, Idaho, and Utah. Life in the camps was hard. Internees had been allowed to bring few possessions; in many cases they had been given just forty-eight hours to evacuate their homes. Using scraps and found materials, many fashioned furniture and other decorative objects that enabled them to ornament their surroundings, and also provided a means of emotional support. Some 120 such objects on view in the exhibition—including tools, teapots, furniture, toys and games, musical instruments, pendants, pins, and purses—all reflect gaman, a Japanese word that means to bear the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.
The Art of Gaman is organized by the San Francisco–based author and curator Delphine Hirasuna with the cooperation of the San Francisco chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. A smaller version of the exhibition appeared at museums in California, Oregon, and Connecticut in 2007–2008. The presentation at the Renwick is made pos-sible by Norman Y. Mineta, a former con-gressman and regent of the Smithsonian who was interned at the Heart Mountain camp in Wy—oming. The ex—hibition is based on Hirasuna’s book The Art of Gaman, published by Ten Speed Press.
Also on view at the Smithsonian this winter and spring is Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan, the first major exhibition devoted to the photographer in almost three decades. It features more than eighty photographs and stereographs, including a notable group of King Survey photographs from the Library of Congress that O’Sullivan took from 1867 to 1869 as the official photographer during the United States Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence King. These works have rarely been on public display since 1876.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Library of Congress and offers a critical reevaluation of O’Sullivan’s images and the conditions under which they were made, as well as an examination of their continued importance in the photographic canon. Organized by Toby Jurovics, the Smithsonian’s curator for photography, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue also include in–sights from the contemporary landscape photographers Thomas Joshua Cooper, Eric Paddock, Ed-ward Ranney, Mark Ruwedel, Mar-tin Stupich, and Terry Toedtemeier, all of whom have been influenced by O’Sullivan’s work.
The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–1946 · Ren-wick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington · March 5 to January 30, 2011 · www.americanart.si.edu
Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan · Smithsonian American Art Museum · to May 9 · www.americanart.si.edu
Woven basket made by Kenji Fuji, 1942–1946. Crepe paper, twine, wire, and starch. National Japanese Society, San Francisco. Photograph by Terry Heffernan for Ten Speed.