Bold and Beautiful: Rinpa in Japanese Art
The modern term Rinpa (Rimpa) describes a remarkable group of Japanese artists who created striking images for paintings, ceramics, textiles, and lacquerware. Their works are linked by common features such as strong compositions, vibrant fields of color, and thin, pooled ink rooted in the work of the seventeenth-century Kyoto painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu (on view in the Sackler beginning October 2015). This exhibition features thirty-seven works by Rinpa artists and those inspired by Rinpa design, and is complemented by a gallery of tea ceramics influenced by Sōtatsu’s collaborator Hon’ami Koetsu.
Abbas Kiarostami: Five Dedicated to Ozu
From July to September 2015, the Freer|Sackler presents Contemporary Iran through Film, a series of programs highlighting prominent figures in contemporary Iranian art. Presented as a single-screen projection, Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003, 74 minutes) by celebrated director Abbas Kiarostami pays tribute to Yasujirō Ozu, the renowned Japanese filmmaker whose work has deeply influenced Kiarostami's films. Through a characteristic attention to the power of simple mise-en-scene and sound, the inherent drama and subtle humor of nature unfurls before the viewer in five long shots taken near the sea.
Additional programs in Contemporary Iran through Film include screenings of films by legendary poet Forough Farrokhzad (July 18) and Bahman Kiarostami (September 13). This series is presented in conjunction with Shirin Neshat: Facing History at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Vietnam's Ceramics: Depth and Diversity
Ceramic traditions within the borders of modern Vietnam are deep and diverse, reflecting the artistic legacies and interactions of this nation's fifty-four ethnic groups. On the twentieth anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Freer|Sackler opens its first exhibition since 2005 focused solely on Vietnamese ceramics.
The twenty-three works in this exhibition reflect the wide variety of form and decoration in vessels for cooking, dining, storage, transport, and ritual. Vietnamese ceramics have been traded across Southeast Asia and to West Asia and Japan since the fourteenth century. The earliest high-fired stoneware made in Southeast Asia was produced at kilns in northern Vietnam, then a Chinese-controlled territory, during the second and third centuries CE. The most recent ceramic in this selection—a blue-and-white lidded jar with a design of tiger and bamboo—was made perhaps a century ago near Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), in the far south of Vietnam, at kilns that are now a major source of glazed ceramics for the American market.
Art of the Gift: Recent Acquisitions
The beauty and diversity of Asian art are evident throughout the collections of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Since the opening of the Freer in 1923 and the Sackler in 1987, generous gifts and funds designated for acquisitions have expanded the collections and added to their breadth and variety. Continuing this legacy, Art of the Gift celebrates some of the recent and promised gifts made to the museums and archives. Objects on view range from centuries-old Buddhist sculptures from Japan, Southeast Asia, and Tibet to lacquer ware and contemporary photography from Iran.
Art of the Gift: Recent Acquisitions is organized by the Freer and Sackler Galleries and sponsored by Altria Group.
Perspectives: Lara Baladi
Egyptian-Lebanese artist Lara Baladi (born 1969) experiments with the photographic medium, investigating its history and its role in shaping perceptions of the Middle East—particularly Egypt, where she is based. This installation centers on Oum el Dounia (The Mother of the World), a large-scale tapestry based on a photographic collage.
Perspectives: Lara Baladi is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and is sponsored by Altria Group. Additional funding provided by the Gallery’s endowment for Contemporary Asian Art.
Sōtatsu: Making Waves
Tawaraya Sōtatsu (act. ca. 1600–40), a fountainhead of Japanese painting and design, is one of the most influential yet elusive figures in Japanese culture. Sōtatsu’s work is instantly recognized by its bold, abstracted style, lavish swaths of gold and silver, and rich jewel tones. Much of the artist’s life, however, remains a mystery. How a working-class owner of a Kyoto fan shop transformed into a sophisticated designer with a network of aristocratic collaborators is still an enigma.
Sōtatsu: Making Waves is the first in-depth examination of this major Japanese artist. The exhibition convenes for the first time more than seventy of Sōtatsu’s masterpieces from collections in Japan, Europe, and the United States, along with homage pieces by later artists that demonstrate his long-ranging influence. Highlights include Waves at Matsushima and Dragons and Clouds, along with fans, albums, hanging scrolls, and paintings. The Freer|Sackler is the only venue for this first major Sōtatsu retrospective in the Western Hemisphere.
Turquoise Mountain: Art and Transformation in AfghanistanThe exhibition at the Freer and Sackler Galleries will transform the International Gallery into an Afghan caravanserai, complete with artisan stalls and demonstrations of woodwork, calligraphy, ceramics, and jewelry. Artisans from Murad Khani will be present to share their expertise, allowing visitors to experience Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage and national pride. Videos and large-scale photographs contribute to making this an immersive experience that simulates a visit to Murad Khani. The exhibition will run from March through December 2016.
Current ExhibitionsEnigmas: The Art of Bada Shanren (1626–1705)
Through January 3, 2016
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Past exhibitionsLearn about past exhibitions from 2002 to the present.
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