Since 2009, New York’s Asian art dealers, specialists and curators have banded together to stage shows and sales across the city. Here is our selection of some of the displays that should not be missed by visitors this week:
Throughout 2016, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met celebrated 100 years of collecting and exhibiting Asian art in 2015 and a full roster of programming that shows off the strength of its Asian art department continues into this year. Among the offerings on show during Asia Week is Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection (until 11 October), Celebrating the Arts of Japan: The Mary Griggs Burke Collection (until 22 January 2017), Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met (until 27 March), Encountering Vishnu: the Lion Avatar in Indian Temple Drama (until 5 June), The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts (until 15 January 2017), Arms and Armor from the Islamic World (until 2 January 2017), Monkey Business: Celebrating the Year of the Monkey (until 24 July). And on 11 March, the museum is hosting a lecture by the Lacma and UCLA curator Robert Brown, The Wondrous Image: Re-examining the Gupta Bronze Tradition.
13 March-4 July, Museum of Modern Art
MoMA is hosting a retrospective on the Pritzker Prize winner Toyo Ito and his firm Sanaa, perhaps best known for the Sendai Mediatheque in Miyagi Prefecture. The show looks at Ito’s influence on a generation of Japanese architects and includes 44 designs for a range of structures, from houses to museums. On 9 March, at 6 pm, the museum is hosting the talk Japan Now: Architecture for the 21st Century pegged to the exhibition with the architects Nanako Umemoto and Florian Idenburg, the show’s curator Pedro Gadanho, who is now the director director of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, the Japanese architecture curator Kayoko Ota, and University of Washington professor Ken Tadashi Oshima.
8 March-January 2017, Asia Society
This Asia Week coincides with the 60th anniversary of Asia Society, the museum and cultural centre started by John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller. To mark the occasion, the Asia Society Museum has paired its impressive collection of artefacts with its more contemporary works. Perhaps the most outrageous paring puts an eighth-century Buddha head with Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook's video Village and Elsewh ere: Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, Jeff Koons’ Untitled, and Thai Villagers (2011), in which Buddhist monks lecture to children about those two astounding Western paintings.
Preview from 8 to 14 March, sale on 15 March, Sotheby's
So often, when considering Asian art, we look to the past. Why not look to the contemporary work that collectors are buying? Sotheby’s auction is led by a massive grey-blue abstract painting by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde originally commissioned for the Air India Building in Mumbai that is estimated to sell for $2.5m to $3.5m. Other highlights include Amrita Sher-Gil’s In The Garden (1939), a quiet reflection on her marriage, estimated to sell for $1.3m to $3m.
Preview from 11 to 14 March, sale on 15 March, Christie’s
—paintings on cotton or silk that depict Buddhist deities, mythical events or legendary teachers—serve both as beautiful illustrations of the religion’s tenets and devices to aid meditation. Christie’s is offering the Van der Wee Collection of Himalayan Paintings, a single-owner sale of 29 such works coming to the market for the first time.
12-14 March, Ukrainian Institute of America
If you want a concentrated dose of Japanese art, look no further than the eighth annual Japanese Art Dealers Association exhibition, held at the Ukrainian Institute of America. The show is organised by, and presents work from, the New York galleries Erik Thomsen Gallery, Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts, Leighton R. Longhi Oriental Fine Art, Mika Gallery, and Sebastian Izzard Asian Art. One highlight is a pair of Hizen ceramic bottles, around 1670-90, decorated with a unique pattern seen only in one other existing artefact—held in collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
11-15 March, Bohemian National Hall
The most concentrated and varied selection of works from Asia can be found at the Asia Art Fair, now in its third year. A sprawling affair in the Bohemian National Hall, this year's edition features 22 exhibitors from around the US, showing everything from textiles to ceramics to sculpture, from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, the Himalayas and the Middle East.
9-26 March, China 2000 Fine Art
The Chinese artist Zhu Qizhan died in 1996 at age 105, and his work shows that he absorbed all the twists and turns of 20th-century art history. A highlight of this exhibition is his three-foot-long Artist in Landscape, a 1956 work painted in a distinctly Chinese style but showing the artist working en plein air—a decidedly uncharacteristic practice for Chinese painters.