The Art History Newsletter

Asia Category Archives

Ai Weiwei

15 April 2011 | Asia, Contemporary, Current Events

As the Chinese government’s detention of artist Ai Weiwei approaches the two-week mark, brings together the latest developments. Ai was arrested in Beijing on April 3, an event his studio assistants recorded on Twitter (translation here).  Evan Osnos reported on the day’s events in a New Yorker dispatch.  Police claim that Ai is being investigated [...]


The Empresses Impress

2 February 2011 | Asia, Awards, Books

Women collectors are the subject of several recent publications including the Morey Award nominee Empresses, Art, and Agency in Song Dynasty China by Hui-shu Lee, who notes that “studies of imperial involvement in the arts in China have scanted the role of women.” This is the first art history book I’ve read that opens with [...]


‘The Intelligence of Tradition’

19 January 2011 | Asia, Awards, Books

Having reviewed the nominees (1,2,3) for the Alfred Barr, Jr., Award for museum catalogues, I move on now to The Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, which “honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in any language between September 1, 2009, and August 31, 2010.” The shortlist: Molly Emma Aitken, The Intelligence [...]


China’s Other Avant-Garde

11 January 2011 | Asia, Awards, Books, Museums

On to the third and final nominee for the Alfred Barr, Jr., Award: The exhibition catalogue Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in Twentieth-Century China, edited by Xiaoneng Yang, is another doorstop of a volume, 450 pages on heavy paper, on which feature a variety of gorgeous and painstakingly assembled illustrations. “All [...]


Kanthas & Sycophancy

5 January 2011 | Asia, Books, Museums

The College Art Association today announces the winner of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award for best exhibition catalogue. I’m in the midst of reviewing the shortlist, selected this year by: Anna Chave, Graduate Center, CUNY (chair) Andrea Bayer, Metropolitan Museum of Art Virginia Fields, LACMA Erica Hirshler, MFA Boston Anne Woollett, J. Paul Getty [...]


‘Pictures for Use and Pleasure’

21 September 2010 | Asia, Books

Despite suffering major heart problems, James Cahill, the CAA “lifetime achievement” award-winner noted for “championing previously ignored painters and restoring them to a more prominent place in the artistic pantheon,” has brought to completion a new, amply illustrated book titled Pictures for Use and Pleasure: Vernacular Painting in High Qing China. These lesser known paintings [...]


‘Objects of Translation’

9 April 2010 | Asia, Books, Islamic, Theory

From the introduction of Finbarr Barry Flood’s recently published book Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval ‘Hindu-Muslim’ Encounter (Princeton, 2009): … I am aware of the paradox inherent in adopting linguistic models for a book that champions the value of material culture. I am also aware that, in doing so, I am to some [...]


Contemporary Japanese Art Misunderstood

19 March 2010 | Asia, Contemporary

The Japan Times interviews “Shihoko Iida, who late last year resigned from one of Tokyo’s most progressive contemporary art venues, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, and is now six months into a two-year sojourn at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia”: Working in Australia has also opened Iida’s eyes to how her nation’s art [...]


Surveying Chinese Contemporary Art

3 April 2009 | Asia, Books

In the March/April ’09 ArtAsiaPacific, Don J. Cohn reviews three recent books: … Melissa Chiu, museum director at Asia Society in New York, and the author/editor of several catalogs for exhibitions of Chinese contemporary art (herein Chicona, AAP’s, not Chiu’s, neologism), has written a brief, intimidatingly titled book that offers an elementary “paint by the [...]


Stuart Cary Welch Remembered

30 March 2009 | Asia

The most recent issue of Artibus Asiae (2008) contains a long, thoughtful appreciation by Helmut Brinker of the recently deceased Asian art scholar Dietrich Seckel. It also contains an obituary of scholar/curator/collector Stuart Cary Welch written by artist/collector Howard Hodgkin: Stuart Cary Welch was undoubtedly the most important expert in the field of Moghul painting; [...]


Decoding the ‘mysteries of the East’

18 March 2009 | Asia, Books, Museums

In, Donald F. McCallum writes on a recent collaboration by Gregory Levine and Yukio Lippit: The exhibition Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan and its accompanying catalogue constitute a landmark in the study of Japanese art. The paintings displayed at the Japan Society Gallery were of both high quality and significance, and the [...]


Profile: ­Mitchell ­Abdul Karim Crites

14 February 2009 | Architecture, Asia

From The National of Abu Dhabi: “Basically, I am an art historian,” he says by way of ­introduction, but this is a typically modest description. Since the 1970s, he has been one of the world’s leading forces behind the ­renaissance of traditional Islamic and Indian craftsmanship, arguing ­continually for their protection and that of those [...]


‘Was Roxanna Brown an Art-World Fraud?’

29 October 2008 | Asia

“Her questionable death in federal custody means we may never know,” writes Rick Anderson in a long article in the Seattle Weekly. “The American-born, Bangkok-based museum director” died in prison of an untreated ulcer: [A] one-paragraph document issued by a Los Angeles grand jury accuses her of aiding and abetting a scheme to defraud the [...]


Old Is New Again Dept.

21 October 2008 | Asia

In her introduction to the recently published conference volume Asian Art History in the Twenty-First Century, Asia Society director Vishaka Desai writes: More than a century ago, great luminaries of Asian art Ernest Fenollosa, Okakura Kakuz?, and Ananda Coomaraswamy … began to argue for the rightful place of Asian art in the field of art [...]


‘India’s Artists And The Avant-garde, 1922-1947′

11 January 2008 | Asia, Contemporary, Modern

Partha Mitter, Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex, has recently published The Triumph Of Modernism: India’s Artists And The Avant-garde, 1922-1947. One interviewer notes that He has earlier published Art And Nationalism In Colonial India, 1850-1922 (1994) and Much Maligned Monsters: A History Of European Reactions To Indian Art (1977). He [...]


The City Dissolved in Images

7 January 2008 | Asia, Contemporary

When every inch of every building is covered in posters, and the posters change daily, how do you find your way home? In a recent issue of South Asian Popular Culture (5:1), Iftikhar Dadi writes on “Political Posters in Karachi: 1988-1999.” During this time, “Pakistan attempted to ‘return’ to parliamentary democracy.” Consequently, the existence of [...]


An ‘Asia Biennale’?

26 October 2007 | Asia, Contemporary

In a recent issue of Art India, Beth Citron reports on “Elective Affinities, Constitutive Differences: Contemporary Art in Asia,” a three-day seminar held in Delhi in March “to motivate dialogue on a potential Delhi Biennale”: Introductions by Parul Dave Mukherji and Geeta Kapur reflected on Edward Said’s Orientalism, with Mukherji emphasizing the need to critically [...]


‘Art under Control’

17 October 2007 | Asia

In the latest issue of the Journal of the History of Collections (XIX, 1), J.E. Hoare reviews Jane Portal’s Art under Control in North Korea, The only permanent display of North Korean art in the West is at the British Museum, and it is fitting that Jane Portal, the curator who started this collection, has [...]


‘The Great Mughals’

11 October 2007 | Asia, Books

Also reviewed in the April 2007 Art History is The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture by Annemarie Schimmel. Gregory Minnisale writes: Professor Annemarie Schimmel passed away in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2003 at the age of eighty. One of the world’s foremost experts on Islamic culture, history and thought, her [...]


‘Indian Renaissance’

10 October 2007 | Asia, Modern

Also reviewed in the April 2007 Art History is Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art and the Prospect of India by Hermione de Almeida and George H. Gilpin. Prasannajit de Silva writes: The idea of a second intellectual Renaissance in Europe, taking place in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and driven by the arrival [...]