Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Bicoastal Chinamania

[From The Met's Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art, left to right: Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662–1722) vase with Birthday Reception for General Guo Ziyi, China; Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period (1736–95) carved  red lacquer octagonal box with Scene of Immortals and Vignettes of Flowers, China; Ming dynasty, Wanli period (1573–1620) pot with Pine and Character for Longevity (Shou), China.]

In addition to the just-opened landmark exhibition, The Emperor's Private Paradise at PEM in Massachusetts, other East Coast shows highlighting Chinese Art this fall include The Met's Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art, on view through November 28, 2010, and The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty, September 28, 2010 to January 2, 2011.

 [Catalogue preview via The Met Store.]

The latter looks at art, in particular a wide range of decorative arts, from 1215 to 1368, encompassing paintings, textiles, ceramics, lacquer, sculpture, silver and more. What may surprise some decorative arts enthusiasts is that, despite being an era of Mongol occupation, creativity really flourished during the Yuan Dynasty. Notes The Met: "Chinese culture not only survived but was reinvigorated," and the upcoming show explores some of the reasons why.

[Click here for full credits. Images posted with permission from the Freer Gallery of Art.]

We've already talked about Chinamania, open further down the coast at Washington, D.C.'s Freer Gallery, but mentioning it again will help me transition to a California happening. This smaller show focuses on American expatriate painter James McNeill Whistler's affinity for Chinese decorative arts and the related craze for blue-and-white Chinese export porcelain that swept through Victorian England. Chinamania continues through early August 2011.

Heading out to the West Coast, the October exhibition at this year's San Francisco Fall Antiques Show is Chinoiserie: Rococo to Eco. So, the main focus here is design based on Western fantasies of China, as well as other Asian countries. (With fantasy being the key word.) It's all about the West's centuries-old love affair with Far Eastern aesthetics. Guest lecturers include David Beevers, Keeper of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent.

 [Derek Lam clutch.]

Also speaking is John S. Major, former professor at Dartmouth College and co-author of China Chic: East Meets West. Look for Major to delve into 21st-century fashion, specifically Chinese-American designers.

I was going through my past posts about chinoiserie and Asian art (Eighty-three just on chinoiserie; what was I thinking?) when I stumbled across a little tidbit on Art Media Resources, a publishing house specializing in Asian art, along with books for sale at the Asian Museum of Art in SF. Instead of ending with another for-the-wishlist title, I thought I'd highlight A Curious Affair: The Fascination between East and West by Forrest McGill. It explores five hundred lively years of interaction between Asia and Europe and is available for a sweet $12.95.

Related past post: A Red Luster Day. Image above is from Red Luster: Lacquer and Leatherworks of Asia, an exhibition now on view at Newark Museum. Click here for object details.


Carolina Elizabeth said...

I so want that blue and white ginger jar with the brass lid. It is fabulous. It needs to go in one of my paintings. Your blog is lovely!

Carolina Elizabeth said...

I so want that blue and white ginger jar with the brass lid. It is fabulous. It needs to go in one of my paintings. Your blog is lovely!

Style Court said...

Thank you Carolina Elizabeth!

It is a stunning jar.

Emile de Bruijn said...

I hadn't heard of that book - just ordered it. Thanks.

Craig said...

Just a quick note to say that Style Court just keeps getting better and better. Thanks so much, Courtney!

Style Court said...

Thanks so much Craig!

Emile, I'll be anxious to hear what you think. I still want the pricey "Hidden Meanings" book too :)