Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Proximities to Buddha

Last week the front of the Asian Art Museum was covered with signage for their Korean Royals exhibit and for Proximities 2, the second installment of a year-long trio of shows curated by local artist Glen Helfand.

The disappointing Joseon Dynasty Korean exhibit is still there, but Proximities 2 (above) has already been taken away, which is not a great loss. Poor Mr. Helfand was given an impossible task: to do Something Contemporary as an Artistic Reaction to Asia. Still, the two exhibits so far did not need to be this underwhelming. Part 3 will be installed on December 20th in the same, small room wedged between Japan and Korea's permanent collection galleries on the second floor.

In those Japanese galleries, there is the ever present joy of the whimsically beautiful baskets collected by Lloyd Cotsen, including Red Verse above by Maeda Chikubosai...

...and the 1975 Wave by Higashi Takosonosai.

In the nearby Japanese Screens gallery, there is a new installation of Boxing Painting, Feb. 16th, 2009A by Ushio Shinohara.

The old Japanese painter, who has been based in New York since 1969, has completed a recent series of paintings that involve punching a canvas with fists, gloves and color. A documentary called Cutie and the Boxer about Shimohara and his artist wife Evie was released this year, and he is quoted advising, "Be speedy, beautiful and rhythmical."

This visit's favorite Buddha, for some reason, was in the Himalayan galleries, where there was an 18th Century, Qing Chinese Dynasty sculpture of The Buddha Amitayus, who symbolizes infinite life and longevity. May my Buddhist friend, Heidi, enjoy her Christmas birthday for many years more.

1 comment:

Nancy Ewart said...

Anything that gets visitors into the 2nd and 3rd floors is a good thing. I thought that the Korean exhibit was disappointing as well although the "placenta jars" will always be a stand out as was the screen in back of the throne. But every time I venture upstairs, there is some new (or old) piece of art that delights my soul.