So many works, so few column inches... Here is one of many pieces I couldn't squeeze into my review of the Asian Export Art Gallery at the Peabody Essex Museum (which you can read in the WSJ or in my archive). The museum simply labels it, "Basket, 1800-15." What is it, you ask? Why, … Continue reading A basket made of ivory
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
A while back, my brother-in-law saw a photograph I had taken in China and asked to see more. Now what you need to know about Robert Lawrence, aka Bob, is that he writes poetry and plays, translates ancient Greek and delves into theology--on his own, art for art's sake. When he mentioned that some of … Continue reading Of petition, prayer and poetry
Curators of non-Western art struggle over whether to exhibit contemporary art in so-called regional galleries -- Chinese, South Asian, African -- or to showcase them in galleries devoted to Contemporary art. After all, today's art scene is global and, indeed, has been for a long time, ever since imperial powers taught European art history and techniques … Continue reading One very good answer to a difficult question
So many yogas, so little time… and so few words. In my WSJ review of "Yoga: The Art of Transformation" at the Smithsonian's Sackler, I did not have the space to single out an 8th-century ivory carving from Kashmir. Less than five inches tall, it draws you into the story of the Buddha as he adopts, then rejects … Continue reading A constellation of yogas
Recently revisited "Interwoven Globe" at the Met and marveled once again at the fabulous designs. Are these insects, flowers and animals not great? For a more serious take…see my review in the WSJ.
Art? Ritual? Devotional image? Sand mandalas made by Tibetan Buddhist monks are all three plus much in-between. In February I spent five days watching them make a mandalaat the Mattie Kelly Arts Center of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. My report is in yesterday's WSJ and, here below, are photos I took throughout the process. The … Continue reading the making – and unmaking – of a sand mandala
Slap a piece of wood around a painting, and you've created a border -- a signal that the viewer is leaving one kind of space and moving into another. Carve and gild that border and you're declaring that what is inside is special, very special. And sometimes the frame itself can grow so exuberant, so … Continue reading Frames rule
If anyone knew how to express both pageantry and lethality it was the Edo period Samurai -- as a show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, amply demonstrates. The headline the WSJ gave my review says it all: "Dressed to Kill in Peacetime." Much of their fearsome beauty is due to the textures and rhythm of … Continue reading Samurai beauty
a while back, I announced that Andrea Hull and I would be launching the AA/WV blog focused on writing + video about contemporary art from Asia in America... well, what Andrea and I realized as we researched this was that what really truly interested us was exploring the mediums by which we communicate about art. … Continue reading Alive!…?