Join us at the Freer Gallery of Art on May 24, 2012 for two lectures on the role and use of religion in a gallery setting, followed by an open discourse. Gregory Levine, associate professor of Asian visual culture at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss Zen iconography from past to present. Curator of Asian Art at the Newark Museum, Katherine Anne Paul, will discuss Tibetan shrines and settings. This event will begin at 7 pm. Please read on for more details or visit our website: http://www.asia.si.edu/events/exhibiting-asia/.
On the Look and Logos of Zen Art Modernism
This lecture asks several questions about Zen art, particularly as we encounter, enjoy, and study it in the modern and contemporary world. What makes art “Zen” and Zen art “Art”? What does Zen art look like? From where and when does it arise: Southern Song dynasty China, Muromachi period Japan, London in the 1920s, or Manhattan’s 1950s Upper West Side…? No doubt Zen art has meant various things to monks, nuns, rulers, literati, and lay followers of Buddhism from the medieval era onward. What about modern Japanophiles, apologists for Japanese cultural identity, Beat poets, avant-garde artists, art collectors, architects and designers, not to mention purchasers of “Zen Micro” MP3 players or “Zen” perfume? Love it, dismiss it; Zen art is, surely, here to stay. What happens, however, when we reconsider the lexical, aesthetic, and philosophical discourse on Zen art as it arose primarily during the twentieth century? Is Zen art something to talk about, or really nothing at all?
Settings or Shrines? Displaying Tibetan Art
Katherine Anne Paul
Exhibitions and installations of art are meant to inspire wonder and delight in viewers while delivering multiple layers of information. Tibetan Buddhist altars installed within museums are useful lenses to focus issues of art and ambiance, shrines and settings, and interpretation. By comparing the Alice S. Kandell shrine at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, two altars installed at the Newark Museum, a Tibetan-Buddhist domestic altar previously on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and two settings created for the Rubin Museum of Art, this talk examines challenges and potential directions for museums that exhibit the wide-ranging arts of Asia.
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