Saturday, October 01, 2011

Asian Art Museum 2: Poetry in Clay

A small but magnificent Korean Buncheong Ceramics show opened recently at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum.

Instead of being installed in the lobby galleries where traveling special shows are usually exhibited, the ceramics are in the Korean wing of the permanent collection on the second floor. It's a little tricky finding the space since there's a dearth of signage, but the easiest way to get there is by taking the grand staircase above towards the Samsung Room.

Then you can walk back along the loggia to a pair of glass double doors which enter directly onto the Korean wing.

Most of the rare Korean treasures are on loan from the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul...

...and though most of them are from the 1400s, they look startlingly modern.

To emphasize that point, a number of 20th century ceramics from both Korea and Japan that were influenced by the early Joseon dynasty style are included in the exhibit almost as ringers...

...though they don't look intentionally archaic so much as emphasizing the bizarre modernity of Korean ceramics from 700 years ago.

The designs tend to be playful and sketchy, with various animals well represented...

...including what looks like a dog about ready to despoil someone's lawn.

For more on the "Poetry in Clay" exhibit, click here for a description by Janos Gereben.

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