Monday, March 29, 2010

Asia in New York - Koichi Yanagi Exhibit Still Here

Kano Tanshin Morimasa, Tamagawa River at Ide,
Edo period, 17-18th century,
Left screen of pair of six-panel folding screens,
ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper,
51.6 x 135.8 in. (131.0 x 345.0 cm) each screen

Asia Week New York 2010 officially ended March 28 but plenty of Asian art remains. Still on view until April 15th is the outstanding gallery exhibit at Koichi Yanagi. This six piece show entrances the visitor with the artistry of Japanese art and aesthetic. On display are a pair of folding screens, a painted fan, a pair of male and female Shinto wooden deities, a hanging scroll, a treasured piece of Zen calligraphy framed by rich fabrics, and a Chinese ceramic dish in the shape of Mount Fuji made for Japanese tea masters. Each work is unique and rarely on view.

Tamagawa River at Ide is the theme of a painting on a pair of Edo period six-panel folding screens. It is an exquisite spring landscape with blossoms and animated birds. From every angle, the scene is beautiful. Individualized birds fly about flowers in full bloom. Golden clouds fill the sky. Looking at the work imparts a sense of bliss.

Back of left screen of pair of six-panel folding screens:
Young Bamboo Plants,
ink on gold leaf,
55.7 x 135.8 in. (141.5 x 354.0 cm) each screen

On the back of the screens, delicate bamboo plants are set against a gilded ground. The shoots have much variety. Some are erect, others bend, some are alone, and others are in groups as if communicating. To see this, a friendly gallery assistant had folded one screen panel to reveal the back to me. Ask and I am sure it will be done for you.

The screens are going to a private collection so now is the opportune time to see them.

Suzuki Kiitsu, A Slumber Party at Ōhara,
Edo period, 19th century,
Hanging Scroll,
ink, color, and gold on silk,
22.5 x 33.6 in. (57.2 x 85.3 cm

In the gallery's second room, a nineteenth-century hanging scroll depicts an unusal subject, Slumber Party at Ōhara. The painting illustrates a legend-based story concerning villagers who sought protection at a shrine to escape a man-eating snake. To pass the night, they engaged in play and lovemaking. The participants, dressed in fashionable clothing, are similar to the pleasure district visitors in ukiyo-e scenes or fête galante attendees in western imagery. Their bright colors, which contrast with the gray wash of the surrounding evening landscape, draw the viewer’s attention. The scene enchants as do all the pieces in this exhibit. Go see for yourself.

Kokon Biannual Spring ‘10
March 15 - April 15, 2010
Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 p
Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts
17 East 71st Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10021
Tel 212 744-5577

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

East Comes East: Asia Week New York 2010

Shakoki Dogu, Final Jomon period, 1200–400 BC,
Tohoku region (Aomori prefecture), Japan,
Obora BC Type, 7 x 5 1/2 in. (18 x 14 cm),
Mika Gallery, New York

The focus is on Asian art during Asia Week New York 2010, March 20 – 28. More than 30 museums, galleries, and auction houses take part in 7 days of exhibitions, public lectures and other activities. New York and international dealers have collaborated to bring about Asia Week and to place on view the highest quality art from China, India, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. Anyone with an interest in the East should celebrate.

Asia Week’s excellent Web site,, includes a list of participants, calendar and detailed guide. Both map and guide are downloadable.

It is difficult to single out specific shows but I particularly look forward to the
Mika Gallery’s display of early Japanese Jomon period artifacts, the Indian and Southeast works at John Eskenazi Ltd., the Chinese objects at J. J. Lally & Co. and the Korean celadons of the London Gallery Ltd. There are more exhibits on my "must see" list but I don't want to influence your choices. Look around for yourself.

Much of the art brought to New York for Asia Week 2010 is for sale. Many pieces will be purchased for private collections. Keep this in mind. The objects you see this week, you may never see again.