Some say it's the Year of the Rooster, but in my book, it's year of the Han. There has been a succession of shows highlighting this dynasty, which ruled from 206 B.C. to 220 AD. It so consolidated a sense of identity that ethnic Chinese today still identify as "Han." In New York alone, there … Continue reading Kings dreaming of immortality
The Japanese galleries at the Met are like a bride -- they always have something old, something new, and no doubt if you look hard enough you'll spot something blue. This summer, bamboo art is the overarching theme, starting with "The Gate," an amazing construct that artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV created for the entrance to … Continue reading Bamboo art in the Met’s Japanese galleries
In my review of the Dallas Museum of Art's installation of the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, I mention the variety in ceramics but did not have the room to go into detail. The very least I can do is give some visuals to support that contention.
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
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
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
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’
On the heels of the devastating earthquake in Italy's Amatrice and surrounding area, another shook parts of Myanmar, damaging temples in Mrauk U, Bagan and other areas. Here is a taste of what is imperiled, from photos I took on a trip in 2012 in Mrauk U and in Bagan.
It's a sunny afternoon in Brooklyn with a lovely, cool breeze. The windows are open, the laptop fired up, books and notes spread around me, and I'm all set to write... but, outside, cars, trucks and fire engines keep blasting their horns and instead of coherent thoughts taking shape, this image fills my mind. And … Continue reading Demons of distraction
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