Monday, March 16, 2015

ASIAN ART 100 Celebration at the MET (c) By Polly Guerin

While 2015 marks the centennial of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Asian Art, it also celebrates the Year of the Ram which, as you know, officially began during Lunar new Year in February 2015. During this celebration the department presents nineteen exhibitions featuring a selection of remarkable works drawn exclusively from the Museum's holdings.These include lively sculptures of jade, rock crystal, and ceramic, along with a charming painting of grazing goats by an 18th century master. Spend a day and immerse yourself in Asian culture. I spent time viewing:
   The Art of the Chinese Album, one of the most intimate of Chinese painting formats It is storytelling with magical charm. For Shitao (1642-1707), the album provided the opportunity to shock and surprise the viewer with radical shifts in perspective and subject page to page.For Dong Qichang (1555-1636) the album was a stage on which to display his historical knowledge by devoting each leaf to the style of a different old master.  Each artist's work is a page turner experience. For Dai Benxiao (1621-1693), the album was a change to plumb the depths of a single style, like a jazz improviser.
  Sumptuous: East Asian Lacquer, 14th-20th Century This installation explores the many ways in which this material has been manipulated to create designs by painting, carving, or by inlaying precious materials.such as gold or mother-of-pearl. This ancient art celebrates the artistry and creativity and its similarities as found in the lacquer arts of China, Korea and Japan. Lacquer is an art form that has been adapted by furniture designers throughout the world, notably perfected by Ruhlmann in his Art Deco furniture designs.
  Painting with Thread: Chinese Tapestry and Embroidery, 12th-19th Century is a textile artist's dream come true. Drawn from the Metropolitan's superb holdings of Chinese tapestries, this installation presents breathtaking flower and birds, dramatic landscapes, famous immortals, and stunning examples of calligraphy, showcasing the artistic imagination and technical sophistication of China's textile artists.
  Then too, there is A Passion for Jade, Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas to name but two more of these fascinating exhibits that celebrate the departments centennial. 
   Masterworks of East and South Asian Art from the Florence and Herbert Irving and Japanese and Korean art from the Mary Griggs Burke transform the Met's Asian holdings.Oscar L. Tang has also been a dedicated major supporter of funds for a new curatorial and conservation staff appointments and programming and an endowment from Mary Wallach for a conservatorship of Japanese painting.
  Ta Ta Darlings!!! I am amazed by the rich cache of Asian Art at the MET that has left a legacy of  inspiration with such cunning detail, whimsicality and magical art. So YES, It's time to revisit the Asian Art Department and savor the treasures here.
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