Thursday, October 04, 2012

Out of Character at the Asian Art Museum

Michael Knight, Jerry Yang, Xu Bing, Ted Lipman, Jay Xu, Joseph Chang
On Wednesday the Asian Art Museum held a media preview for its exhibit of Chinese calligraphy, opening this Friday, October 5th. The exhibit contains 40 works largely culled from the personal collection of entrepreneur Jerry Yang. Mr. Yang attended & spoke about learning calligraphy as a child in Taiwan. Museum Director Jay Xu described Mr. Yang as a "top collector" of Chinese calligraphy. Curator Michael Knight led a walk-through of the galleries.

Thousand-Character Classic, Wen Peng
Calligraphy in China is an art by and for the elite, so the show contains a lot of explanatory material about calligraphy & its social context, including translations of the texts & iPads used as interactive kiosks. I liked seeing the handscroll "Pieces on a Houseboat" containing contributions from 13 different calligraphers, each in his own style. Long cases allow scrolls to be entirely unrolled. One room features an impressive curved wall on which all 85 pages of a large album can be viewed at once. There's a hanging scroll that is taller than the gallery & amusingly crawls onto the ceiling.

The Character of Characters (2012), Xu Bing
Contemporary artist Xu Bing contributed a cartoony projected animation depicting the influence of calligraphy on Chinese culture. The show also includes works by American abstract artists Brice Marden, Franz Kline, & Mark Tobey.

Following the gallery tour, media representatives sat for a bento box luncheon, during which Mr. Xu & various museum curators talked about up-coming exhibits, such as a colorful batik show at the end of the year. 2013 highlights include the First Emperor's Terracotta Warriors, for which advance reservations are recommended. To coincide with the 2013 America's Cup, the museum will exhibit Japanese art from Larry Ellison's private collection. An exhibit about yoga is planned for 2014.

At the end of the event, attendees took with them 3D printed chocolates in the shape of terracotta warriors.

§ Out of Character
Decoding Chinese Calligraphy
Asian Art Museum
Oct 5, 2012 - Jan 13, 2013


Michael Strickland said...

You thief! That chocolate terracotta soldier should have been mine!

Axel Feldheim said...

Sorry! I think you are right! Janos & I were lamenting the fact that you were not there.