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Category: contemporary

Indian art auction in Paris

6 December, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, paintings, south asia | By: xensen

farhad-hussain.jpg paintingFarhad Hussain, a 30-year-old artist from Calcutta, is among the Indian artists being featured at an auction in Paris. The auction is being billed as the first major contemporary Indian art auction in that city. The auction is organized by Artcurial of France. The company’s Indian art consultant, Herve Perdriolle, explains:

After successfully entering the Chinese market with two auctions of contemporary Chinese art, Artcurial is now ready to focus on the Indian art market and is planning to stage two auctions per year.

We have decided to start the Indian sale now considering the growing interest among French collectors in this field for more than a year now. This strong and deep interest is illustrated by several important events like the Indian Summer in Paris in 2005 and Lille 3000 in 2006 to name a few. In step, we know of the famous relationship between Subodh Gupta and Francois Pinault. Pinault, the French billionaire and collector, has been picked by ArtReview as among the 100 most influential people in the international contemporary art world.

asian art newsHussein is also the subject of an article in Asian Art News by Uma Prakash, entitled “The Mundane Uncovered.” And he will appear in From the Everyday to the Imagined: An Exhibition of Indian Art at the Singapore Art Museum, November 16 – January 16.



29 November, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, japan, paintings, sculpture | By: xensen

takashi murakami, And Then, and Then and Then and Then and Then

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, (MOCA) is hosting a major exhibition of the work of Takashi Murakami through February 11 (the show opens October 29). Murakami is much influenced by anime and manga.

Murakami tends to work with flat planes of color. His often oversized work evokes otaku culture. He combines high and low art, slyly critiquing consumerist culture while being complicit in it. Like manga pioneer Tezuka Osamu, he has made his art a big business, mass producing items for sale in many types of venues. Sales of Louis Vuitton handbags are a prominent feature of the MOCA show.

The MOCA show website features 11 different videos, 8 of which make up an exhibition tour. Which is fine, but there is a dearth of text content to accompany the videos. This makes it difficult for the casual visitor to get a quick sense of the show. But maybe a video-only approach works in L.A.


Image: And Then, and Then and Then and Then and Then, 1996-97. Acrylic on canvas mounted on board (2 sections), 110 1/4 x 118 1/8 inches (overall). Image from the Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Monks with Traits of a Crow

28 November, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, paintings, southeast asia | By: xensen

monks with traits of a crowThis painting by Anupong Chanthorn (sorry I haven’t been able to find a higher-resolution image) has caused quite a stir in Thailand. Entitled Bhikku Sandan Ka (Monks with Traits of a Crow), it suggests immoral behavior (avarice, it would seem) among some of Thailand’s Buddhist monks. The title comes from a phrase attributed to the Buddha to describe a kind of immorality.

When the painting was awarded a prize and an annual art exhibition in Bangkok, some monks staged a protest. Led by Satian Wibhroma, a member of a Buddhist group known as the People’s Network to Protect the Nation, Religion and the Monarchy, they accused the painter of insulting Thai monks. They asked Silpakorn University to revoke the prizes awarded to Anupong, which the university refused. The story is told in Asia Times Online.

An editorial in Thailand’s The Nation asserts that

People who consider themselves good Buddhists, who really care about their religion, should thank artist Anupong Chanthorn for creating a pair of award-winning paintings that honestly reflect the precipitous decline of Buddhism in this country.

Buddhist temples used to be centres of learning, and monks were the guardians of our cultural heritage, but many temples have turned into dens of iniquity. The failure to reform Buddhism and keep it up to date with the drastic social and economic changes has not only resulted in the religion’s diminished influence as a force for good but also contributed to corruption and social decay. Thai society needs more artists and lay Buddhists like Anupong, who care enough about Buddhism to criticise, to satirise, to put pressure on the monastic order to reform. These people deserve praise, not condemnation.


Roger Shimomura’s internment camp memories

26 November, 2007 (05:00) | contemporary, japan, paintings | By: xensen

roger shimomura, justified internment

An exhibition of Roger Shimomura’s paintings that recall his experiences as a young boy in a Japanese internment camp, called Minidoka on My Mind, is at the Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave. S., Seattle, through Dec. 22. Shimomura’s images are effective because he does not appear to editorialize but presents his recollections in an almost noncommital mode. He blends elements of ukiyo-e Japanese prints with an American pop art tradition (he is, of course, an American of Japanese descent). As Regina Hackett notes, compared to Masami Teraoka, Shimomura prefers harder and flatter forms.

The image is from the Kucera Gallery site. I think it is called “Justified Internment,” but I was not able to locate information about it on the site.

Himalayan art on a giant scale

23 November, 2007 (11:13) | contemporary, himalayas, paintings | By: xensen

giant tibetan thangka

This image of a giant thangka (devotional painting on cloth) produced for the annual Shoton festival in at the Drepung monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, was taken by Chris Webster.

The monastery was founded in 1416, and remains a popular pilgrimage destination. Shoton means “yogurt banquet,” and the Autumn festival celebrates the yogurt that was traditional provided to monks following their austere hundred-day summer retreat.

The Ruben Museum in New York is showing an exhibition of such large objects, through March 17, 2008. The museum’s website offers this brief description of the show, entitled BIG! Himalayan Art:

This exhibition presents the largest objects from RMA’s collection in a dazzling display of brightly colored paintings and explores the reasons for creating the even larger tangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings and textiles) that are majestically draped over mountainsides and in valleys. These large works are the focus of community celebrations and accrue merit for all who participate.

Seven Junipers plays the net

21 November, 2007 (21:44) | ceramics/metal/stone, china, contemporary, meta, sculpture | By: xensen

terra-cotta tennis players

The internet, that is.

What could be a more appropriate image for our inaugural post than these ironic echoes of the first emperor’s terra-cotta army. The tennis warriors are in the offices of el blogador, a digital media consultant who divides his time between London and Antigua, Guatemala. They were created for the ATP Masters Cup being held in Shanghai (in fact, just as each of the first emperor’s soldiers has an individual face, so Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are recognizable in these images). The artist is not identified.

For 7Junipers I intend to range freely over Asian art and culture, from ancient to contemporary times and across the entire continent. Art and literature will be my main subjects. Since I’m already stretched thin, I’ll probably move somewhat slowly on this, but as posts accumulate I will gather them into categories by culture, era, and medium. The globe on right can be clicked to visit particular regions (not much is up yet).

The title alludes to the seven junipers of Zhidao Guan, a Taoist temple in the city of Changshu in China‚Äôs Yangzi delta, as well as to a famous 16th-century painting of them by Wen Zhengming. The seven junipers also represent the seven large cultural regions that fall under the scope of this website. For more, see the “about” tab above.