The Triumph of Death painting discussed in my WSJ Masterpiece essay is so complex, I thought it would be helpful to provide some closer views. Here are snapshots I took in Palermo, beginning at the center then moving clockwise around the painting. And here is how all the elements come together -- this photo clearly … Continue reading Triumph of Death
Standing before a six-paneled folding screen at the Giuseppe Piva Gallery’s show, I found myself thinking about, of all things, perspective. Painted in the 17th century, the screen depicts moments from a battle in October 1600 that ushered in the Tokugawa shogunate. As great as the battle scenes are, what caught my attention was the … Continue reading Asia Week musings
Not long ago, I was telling a curator of Chinese art that the next time he was anywhere near New York state, he had to meet An Ho, who had trained with Pu Ru, one of the last scholar-artists of China. This caught his attention -- but there was so much more to be said … Continue reading An Ho — a great gift, a great loss
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.
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