Born a prince of the Ming imperial house, Bada Shanren (1626–1705) lived a storied life, remaking himself as a secluded Buddhist monk and, later, as a professional painter and calligrapher. Featured in this exhibition are examples of his most daring and idiosyncratic works, demonstrating his unique visual vocabulary. The selection of painting and calligraphy includes some of Bada Shanren's best work, dating from the 1660s through his peak professional years in the 1680s and 1690s. Also represented is his late period in the early 1700s, when he sought solitude and harmony with the natural order.
Bold and Beautiful: Rinpa in Japanese Art
The modern term Rinpa (Rimpa) describes a remarkable group of Japanese artists who created simple, striking images for paintings, ceramics, textiles, and lacquerware. The term itself is based on the art name of Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716). Rinpa artists do not belong to a lineage of master and disciple. Instead, 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). The Rinpa style both resonates with tradition and continues to renew Japanese art and design today. This exhibition features thirty-seven paintings, ceramics, woodblock-printed books, and lacquers by Kōrin, his brother Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743), and later artists who were inspired by the brilliant simplicity of Rinpa design.
Abbas Kiarostami: Five Dedicated to Ozu
From July to September 2015, the Freer|Sackler features a series of programs highlighting contemporary moving-image works from Iran. The series opens with Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003, 74 minutes) by celebrated director Abbas Kiarostami. Presented as a single-screen projection, Five 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-scène 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 the series include screenings of works by documentary filmmaker Bahman Kiarostami and legendary poet Forough Farrokhzad. For more information, please visit asia.si.edu/exhibitions. 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.
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. Employing both archival material and Baladi’s own images, the work was transformed into a tapestry in 2007 through the use of a digital loom. Oum el Dounia reflects Baladi’s interest in the proliferation of images of Egypt, and in how technology and interactivity affect the creation, dissemination, and preservation of visual narratives.
Related programming for Perspectives: Lara Baladi focuses on Vox Populi, Archiving a Revolution in the Digital Age, an archive of images, videos, and texts documenting the 2011 events in Tahrir Square. Planned events include talks with the artist and curator, and panel discussions held in conjunction with the Middle East Institute.
Lineage of Elegance: Tawaraya Sōtatsu
Tawaraya Sotatsu (ca. 1570–ca. 1640), a fountainhead of Japanese painting and design, is one of the most influential yet elusive figures in Japanese culture. Sotatsu’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.
Lineage of Elegance is the first in-depth examination of this major Japanese artist. The exhibition convenes for the first time more than seventy of Sotatsu’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 Sotatsu 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 ExhibitionsPeacock Room REMIX
Through January 2, 2017
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