Layers of invention

There is much deception uncovered in the Sackler's "Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered.”  There is the question of whether the show's three central paintings are really by Kitagawa Utamaro, famous mostly for his ukiyo-e prints.  For that matter, was Utamaro himself the 17th-century Don Juan of the pleasure quarters that his marketers made him out to be?  And, … Continue reading Layers of invention

More about the Qin and the Han

Two shows could not be more complimentary in tone and emphasis than the Asian Art Museum's "Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China's Han Dynasty" and the Met's "Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties."  I won't repeat what I said in WSJ reviews (here and here) but instead talk about a few … Continue reading More about the Qin and the Han

Peeking at Life through Death

Jade amulets, bronze vessels, dancing figures, accessories -- we've come to expect that from ancient tombs in China.  But sex aides and toilets?  That was a first for me, though I will admit not the most fascinating part of the Asian Art Museum's "Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China's Han Dynasty"  (you can read my review … Continue reading Peeking at Life through Death

Images from ‘Art in a Time of Chaos’

Some readers complained that the review of "Art in a TIme of Chaos," which is on view at the China Institute Gallery in NY through March 19, 2017, lacked photographs.  It is true that the works, dating from the 3rd to 6th centuries, are so varied it would have been great to have more images.  … Continue reading Images from ‘Art in a Time of Chaos’

Drawing to See

When the Philadelphia Museum of Art made sketchbooks available to visitors going through 'Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano' last year, the exercise proved very popular.  Visitors paused before floral compositions on gilded screens and paintings of Mt. Fuji, drawing what they saw.  Some tore out the sheets and pocketed them; others left their sketches in … Continue reading Drawing to See