All posts in “India”

Reimagining the Galleries at the Seattle Asian Art Museum

When the Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens next year, visitors will experience the museum’s renowned collection of Asian art in a whole new way. Most of the original galleries will showcase the museum’s collection, while the building’s new gallery—housed in the expansion—will focus on rotating special exhibitions. SAM’s curatorial team saw the renovation process as an exciting chance to rethink how visitors engage with the Asian art collection. “How often does a museum go offline and move everything out?” notes Foong Ping, Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art. She continues, “This was an opportunity to dream a little bit.” 

The curators convened groups of scholars and community advisors to explore approaches to displaying SAM’s artworks. Moving away from the chronological and geographic organization of most museums, they took a thematic approach instead. Each gallery of Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, the new collection installation, focuses on a theme central to Asia’s diverse arts and societies, ranging from worship and celebration, to visual arts and literature, to clothing and identity. For instance, a gallery titled Spiritual Journeys brings many objects together, from a Pakistani Bodhisattva, to an Indian Stupa, to a Chinese demon, to explore spiritual imagery through unifying ideas such as spiritual guides and guardians. The reinstallation provides an experience of great diversity and a broad context within which to engage with artworks.

Boundless also presents varied voices and perspectives on artworks to offer visitors a wide array of approaches to appreciating SAM’s collection. Along with traditional curatorial texts, artists and Seattle community members also offer their perspectives. The Color in Clay gallery presents a large selection of ceramics from China as well as vibrant works from Vietnam to Iran in a natural light-filled gallery without any contextualizing text. Monitors with more information will be available, but Foong’s hope is for visitors to be immersed in looking closely at subtle differences in tones and textures in the clay and the glazes. “I’m particularly excited about this display because it represents a completely different experience than we’ve ever had at the Asian Art Museum,” she says.

The first special exhibition Be/longing: Contemporary Asian Art also draws primarily from the museum’s collection. It brings together works by 12 artists born in different parts of Asia—Azerbaijan, Iran, India, Thailand, China, Korea, and Japan—who have all lived outside of Asia and are exploring their Asian heritage from global perspectives. Be/longing features Some/One by Do Ho Suh—a sculpture so large that we were previously unable to exhibit it at the Asian Art Museum. SAM’s Curator of Japanese and Korean Art Xiaojin Wu explains, “Some/One is an imposing work that compels the viewer to think about identity and our relationship with society—issues we all care about.” Positioning Some/One alongside works by other contemporary artists, visitors will encounter its powerful resonance in a new exhibition, a new gallery, a new building, in the new year.

Images: Some/One (detail), 2001, Do Ho Suh, stainless steel military dog-tags, nickel-plated copper sheets, steel structure, glass fiber reinforced resin, rubber sheets, diameter at base: 24 ft. 4 in.; Height: 81 in., Gift of Barney A. Ebsworth, 2002.43, © Do Ho Suh. Dish with Foliated Rim, late 15th–early 16th century, Vietnamese, blue and white ceramic, 13 1/4″ diameter, Mary and Cheney Cowles, the Margaret E. Fuller Fund, and the 1999 Maryatt Gala Fund, 2000.118. Seated demon figure, 14th century, Chinese, bronze with gilt, 3 1/4 x 2 x 1 7/8 in., Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 52.45. Lined robe (detail), 20th century, Japanese, plain weave silk crepe with paste-resist stencil decoration (Oki., bingata) lined with modern replacement silk broadcloth, 47 3/4″ long (from collar) x 43″ wide, Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, 89.155, © Artist or Artist’s Estate. Bodhisattva, ca. 2nd–3rd century, Pakistani, Gandhara region, dark gray schist 45 x 15 x 7 in. Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 44.63.

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Muse/News: Perception’s doors, Anthony White’s moment, and Basquiat’s invisible ink

SAM News

Special to the Seattle Times, Sharmila Mukerjee offers this lovely review of Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur. The exhibition closes January 21!

Peacock in the Desert is a fascinating show because it allows us to experience sensibilities that are different; what would we gain if we reopen the doors of our perception to the marvelous?”

And the Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald writes up the inaugural Tasveer South Asian Literary Festival. SAM is a partner for the event; we’re hosting talks as well as a screening of the silent film Throw of Dice on January 13.

Local News

File under: Incredibly Good News. The Stranger has brought on Jasmyne Keimig as a staff writer, covering visual arts and music. Readers (and publicists) say amen!

Gayle Clemans for the Seattle Times, reviewing the “multimedia, multisensory” Between Bodies, now on view at the Henry Art Gallery; she also finds connections to two other shows in the region.

It’s Anthony White’s moment: The artist’s first show for Greg Kucera is now on view. Within the month, he’s been written up by The Stranger A&P, Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, Crosscut—and then The Stranger again.

“There’s this feeling of this crazy party filled with useless excess, but also this pathos, this really understandable desire to have something meaningful and great in your life.”

Inter/National News

Same old—wait just a minute! Using a UV light, conservator Emily Macdonald-Korth discovered that Jean-Michel Basquiat hid secret drawings in his paintings using invisible ink.

Artnet looks back at their 20 favorite stories of 2018—including their in-depth look (which SAM participated in!) into how institutions have—or have not—moved the needle on showing and buying art by Black artists.

A fascinating read: The New York Times convened Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Cécile Fromont for a roundtable discussion about the possible restitution of African art in French collections.

“We can’t even fathom what new African museums could be, and what they could do. Look at Latin America, for example. The museological innovations there — unique types of exhibitions, involvement with the communities — challenge in all the best ways what big museums around the world have been doing. When you think about the talent and expertise born from an enriched African museum landscape: that’s exhilarating.”

And Finally

If you can resist tears while watching WeRateDogs™’s annual best-of compilation, I just don’t know what to say to you.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Portrait of Maharaja Ajit Singh, ca. 1830, Amardas Bhatti, Jodhpur, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 16 7/8 × 13 1/8 in., Mehrangarh Museum Trust, photo: Neil Greentree
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Muse/News: A princess at SAM, Jimi in Seattle, and a return to form

SAM News

Reads this review by Nalini Iyer for The International Examiner of Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India.

Peacock in the Desert offers Seattle a wonderful opportunity to experience Indian history, culture, and art and will appeal to visitors of all ages.”

And watch Princess Shivranjani Rajye of Marwar-Jodhpur share why she thinks our exhibition is so special.

Local News

Seattle Magazine has a great list of event recommendations for the month of December—mark your calendars, buy tickets, go to there.

“I Returned to The Nutcracker as an adult.” Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne watches the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker and floats between its various worlds.

Daudi Abe for Crosscut reviewing Bold As Love, the new exhibition at the Northwest African American Museum that explores Jimi Hendrix’s Seattle roots.

“The display highlights Hendrix’s quintessential experience growing up in the Central District—from a photo of 5-year-old Jimi at a family picnic at Leschi Park to some of his impressive drawings that include what appears to be the Miss Circus Circus hydroplane.”

Inter/National News

Mwatana for Human Rights has released a document—titled “The Degradation of History”—that lists 34 archeological and cultural heritage sites that have been damaged in war-torn Yemen.

Artnet reports: “The American sculptor Robert Morris, a shape-shifting artist, `and pioneer of minimalism, has died of pneumonia at an upstate New York hospital. He was 87.”

The New York Times on the just-released report that calls for France to return pieces of African cultural heritage to their home countries; there have already been initial responses from African officials.

“France holds at least 90,000 sub-Saharan artifacts, of which 70,000 are in the Quai Branly Museum. The report estimated that up to 95 percent of Africa’s cultural heritage is held by institutions outside of Africa.”

And Finally

A compelling piece of post-post-modern video art about those now 7-5 (!) Seahawks.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of Peacock in the Desert: the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Natali Wiseman
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Muse/News: The Peacock has landed, dudes talking in shops, and the woman who was first

SAM News

The Peacock has landed! The Seattle Times’ Steve Ringman captured colorful shots of the galleries, one of which also appeared on the front page of last Thursday’s print edition. An overview of the exhibition and related events also appeared their Weekend Plus section.

Check out more recommendations for the show in Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, and ParentMap.

Last week, SAM announced the appointment of Theresa Papanikolas as its new Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art. The Seattle Times had the exclusive, featuring an interview with Theresa.

All of SAM was saddened to hear of the passing of Paul Allen last week at the age of 65; SAM director and CEO Kim Rorschach shared her thoughts on the massive cultural legacy he left the city of Seattle with Crosscut.

Local News

We’re gonna need more Windex: Crosscut’s Aileen Imperial follows the Space Needle’s “Lead Glass Keeper” Paul Best on a typical day of keeping (literally) tons of glass clean.

Here’s two reviews of Polaroids: Personal, Private, Painterly, Bellevue Art Museum’s new show of found photos from the collection of Robert E. Jackson, by City Art’s Margo Vansynghel and Seattle Weekly’s Seth Sommerfeld.

Naomi Ishisaka for the Seattle Times interviewing Inua Ellams about his play Barber Shop Chronicles that runs for three nights at the Moore Theatre in November.

“It’s about cross-generational conversations about African masculinity and how that is compromised by the West . . . it’s about dudes talking in shops and it’s about men trying to find a safe space to be vulnerable.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Kate Brown explores a recent study that asks whether Leonardo da Vinci had a condition called exotropia that makes one eye wander off alignment—and whether it contributed positively to his work.

Hyperallergic’s Sarah Rose Sharp with a gentle skewering (ha) of the recent event-within-an-event of Banksy’s shredded print at Sotheby’s.

“If you like to hallucinate but disdain the requisite stimulants…” The New York Times’ Roberta Smith reviews Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future, now on view at the Guggenheim.

The idea that a woman got there first, and with such style, is beyond thrilling. Yes, I know art is not a competition; every artist’s ‘there’ is a different place. Abstraction is a pre-existing condition, found in all cultures. But still: af Klint’s ‘there’ seems so radical, so unlike anything else going on at the time. Her paintings definitively explode the notion of modernist abstraction as a male project.”

And Finally

The Royal Ontario Museum goes to pot.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Nina Dubinsky
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Muse/News: Sculptures in fall, erasure poems, and the wonderful Kerry James Marshall

SAM News

Curbed Seattle highlights the Olympic Sculpture Park as one of “26 best places to visit in Seattle this fall,” calling a visit to the sculpture park “the easiest way to feel artsy in Seattle without needing to spend half a day inside a museum.”

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is featured in the Stranger’s “Complete Guide to October 2018 Events in Seattle.” Diwali Ball, SAM’s annual fundraiser, and Night Heat, the 41st edition of our film noir series, also get mentions.

Did you know that SAM’s design team makes awesome videos? Don’t miss this fantastic My Favorite Things video featuring sailor Marc Onetto talking about the accuracy of Louis-Philippe Crépin’s Shipwreck off the Coast of Alaska, now on view at SAM.

Local News

Mayumi Tsutakawa for the Seattle Globalist on a documentary film about two women who—75 years apart—chronicled the cultures of Melanesia; one of the two held an exhibition on her work at SAM in 1935.

Here’s Emily Pothast for The Stranger on 10 not-to-be-missed gallery shows in Pioneer Square on view in October.

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis has a lovely review of Ballast, the Frye Art Museum’s new exhibition; Quenton Baker’s erasure and invented form poems were inspired by a massive historical research project into a little-known successful 1841 slave revolt.

“On the museum walls, their voices emerge like ghosts from the inky morass: ‘I am a crisis arrived.’ ‘A cargo of alarm.’ ‘Answer me.’”

Inter/National News

Way to go, genius: Three artists, including painter—and SAM Knight Lawrence Prize winner!—Titus Kaphar, were named “genius” grant winners from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Think pink! Hyperallergic’s Dany Chan reviews a new exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology exploring the many meanings—from pretty to punk—of the color pink.

I get Google alerts for Kerry James Marshall, and here’s why: this week Hyperallergic shared a wonderful essay he wrote about Bill Traylor, and ARTNews reported his wonderful reaction to Chicago’s sale of one of his murals.

“Considering that only last year Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel and Commissioner [of the Department of Cultural Affairs Mark] Kelly dedicated another mural I designed downtown for which I was asked to accept one dollar, you could say the City of Big Shoulders has wrung every bit of value they could from the fruits of my labor.”

And Finally

Say goodbye to the last good thing on Twitter?

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Olympic Sculpture Park, 2015, photo: Nina Dubinsky.
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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

William Dalrymple’s new book with this title just became available in the U.S. a couple of days ago. As intriguing, illuminating and playful as his previous books (The Last Mughal, White Mughals, City of Djinns and more), it is also a mix of historical storytelling, travel adventures,  and deep insight.

We are lucky enough to have him coming to speak next Thursday, June 24, at 7 pm at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, thanks to Elliott Bay Books and Random House.

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An Entrancing Music of Pakistan and India

Those who went to the Meany Hall concert of Pakistani musician Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1993 will still remember the thrill of hearing his voice and his group—with the audience dancing, and dollar bills being thrown onto the stage! It was a taste of the power of qawwali, the musical tradition of Sufis in Pakistan and India.

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