COURTESY OF ASIA WEEK NEW YORK
Your Guide to the Best of Asia Week
There is always something to look forward to in New York City. With the Armory Show behind us until next season, a host of top-tier Asian art specialists, major auction houses, and nearly twenty world-renowned Asian art museums are busy with New York’s Asia Week. The 10-day event-filled schedule draws collectors and curators from around the world in celebration of Asian art, and is on view March 15-24.
If it’s your first time to Asia Week, Sotheby's Museum Network is here to help navigate the myriad options. We’ve pared down the events, highlighting five museum collections and exhibitions not to miss in the weeks ahead.
FLASK, MING PERIOD, EARLY 15TH CENTURY, YONGLE ERA, 1403-1424). CHINA, JIANGXI PROVINCE.
ASIA SOCIETY, NEW YORK. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SYNTHESCAPE, COURTESY OF ASIA SOCIETY
Asia Society Museum
A selection of masterpieces from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Collection at the Asia Society Museum is on view in Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum Collection. Strong holdings of Asian ceramics, metalwork and stone carving are explored through a wide variety of objects that provide insights on the concurrent development of Hinduism and Buddhism as well as a flourishing in artistic methods.
VAJRIPUTRA ARHAT (DETAIL), 17TH CENTURY, POSSIBLY KHAM (EAST TIBET). PIGMENTS ON CLOTH.
COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF CIVILISATION/MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL ART "GIUSEPPE TUCCI," ROME.
Also on view, Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting features the world-renowned collection of Tibetan paintings, or thankas, collected by Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci during two decades of exploration throughout Tibet in the 1930s and 1940s. The works are on view in the United States for the first time in history, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Asia Society and the Museum of Civilisation-Museum of Oriental Art ‘Giuseppe Tucci’ in Rome. His impressive and studied collection, contextualized through photography of Tucci’s travels, is all the more interesting given the recent rise in interest in travel to the region.
Insider Tip: Just a few blocks away, Asia Week is taking over Sotheby’s New York, with dozens of preview exhibitions on view for its March 20 auctions. For the full roster of events and more information, click here.
BEAKER VASE (ONE OF A PAIR), CHINESE, QING DYNASTY (1644-1911), KANGXI PERIOD (1622-1722)
BEQUEST OF CHILDS FRICK IN MEMORY OF FRANCES DIXON FRICK, 1965
The Frick Collection
Consider the Gilded Age fascination with Chinese porcelain, and pay a visit to the Frick Collection, the historic home and private collection of 19th century industrialist Henry Clay Frick, which holds an extensive collection of Chinese porcelain displayed in period context, juxtaposed with Old Master paintings and Renaissance bronzes.
The collection, comprised of bowls, wine pots, dishes, jars, vases and figurines, dates from the Ming and Qing dynasties and features a wide range of types, including blue-and-white, famille verte, famille noir and famille rose.
Insider Tip: Take a stroll across Central Park to reach the Bard Graduate Center on the Upper West Side. In honor of Asia Week, the Center’s gallery is presenting an exhibition on the production and function of Baliense textiles as ceremonial objects.
ISAMU NOGUCHI, AKARI 30D, 1963
©THE ISAMU NOGUCHI FOUNDATION AND GARDEN MUSEUM / ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS)
The Noguchi Museum
Now is the perfect time to reconnect with the iconic Japanese-American artist and designer, Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi Museum’s exhibition on Akari light sculptures features the artist's most famous and widely circulated paper lantern works, which are installed in the Museum’s second-floor galleries in whimsical and enchanting arrangements reminiscent of a luminous, aqueous environment (after all, akari means jelly fish in Japanese).
With the installations of washi paper and bamboo lanterns in Sculpture by Other Means: Akari, the Noguchi Museum celebrates nature through functionalism in modern design.
ISAMU NOGUCHI, WATER STONE, 1986, BASALT at THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
© THE ISAMU NOGUCHI FOUNDATION AND GARDEN MUSEUM
Insider Tip: Interested in seeing more works by Noguchi? Don’t miss The Met’s famous Water Stone (1986), a basalt stone fountain specifically created by Noguchi for the Museum’s Japanese galleries. It is one of the last sculptures ever created by the artist, resting in a bed of river stones from one of the most important and ancient Shinto sites in Japan.
The abstract mini-garden, set among the Met’s impressive holdings of Japanese painting, arms and armor, and lacquer ware, is in one of the less frequented sections of the museum. Unlike most venues during Asia Week, it offers a quiet and contemplative space to reflect on the impressive artistic history of Japan.
ANCIENT VIEW OF YATSUHASHI IN MIKAWA PROVINCE (MIKAWA NO YATSUHASHI NO KOZU), C. 1830
POLYCHROME WOODBLOCK PRINT; INK AND COLOR ON PAPER
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Of course, there’s plenty more to see within The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Asian art galleries. With over 35,000 objects, ranging in date from the third millennium B.C. to the 21st century, The Metropolitan has one of the largest and most comprehensive Asian art collections in the West. The arts of China, Japan, East, South and Southeast Asia, and Korea are all represented, providing an unrivaled experience not easily absorbed in one visit.
Insider Tip: Mark your calendar! There’s more to see and do beyond a visit to the galleries. The Met offers one of the most extensive and well-regarded lecture series programs in New York. Two exhibitions with associated talks worth highlighting are Diamond Mountains: Travel and Nostalgia in Korean Art and Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China.
This Sunday, a Sundays at the Met talk will highlight ‘Landscapes: Real and Imagined’, with remarks by two senior curators from the Met and Robert Harrist, Professor of Chinese Art History at Columbia University. For more information, click here.
HASEGAWA TŌHAKU (NOBUHARU), BIRDS AND FLOWERS OF SPRING AND SUMMER, C. 1582
FOLDING SCREEN; INK, COLOR, AND GOLD ON PAPER
A Giant Leap: The Transformation of Hasegawa Tōhaku commemorates Japan Society’s 110th anniversary by celebrating the life and legacy of Hasegawa Tōhaku, the founder of the Hasegawa school of painting and one of Japan’s most famous artists. Over ten 16th century masterpieces from public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Japan fill the exhibition, tracing Tōhaku’s transformation from a provincial painter of Buddhist subjects to a master honored by samurai and other cultural entities.
HAM SUP, DAY DREAM 1023, KOREAN PAPER AND MIXED MEDIA, COURTESY OF ASIA WEEK NEW YORK
Insider Tip: With the United Nations close by, its no wonder that Midtown East is full of focused national collections. Walk a couple blocks west of Japan Society to discover Korea Society. During Asia Week, Korean artist Ham Sup’s hishanji, or abstracted creations on paper, are on view in the dedicated exhibition Ham Sup: Paper Dreams.