Asian art
April 10, 2003 11:59 AM   Subscribe is a great site which I've been enjoying lately. The online exhibitions are lovely and the articles are fascinating. They also link to several private galleries. If you like Asian art, spend some time here. [Via plep, who linked to Wood and Transience recently.]
posted by homunculus (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are more links on the Lukhang temple in this earlier post.
posted by homunculus at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2003

Why do you think that Asian art seems so shallow, gaudy and gimcracky? Why did it never develop the deep humanism of subject matter and awesome illusionistic power of Western European art? Why is it so lacking in innovation? Why are the Asian galleries in our major art museums always nearly empty -- even of Asians? Why does Asian art seem so oppressively conservative -- at least until it comes into contact with Western art? These are all things that occur to me as I look at this site...
posted by Faze at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2003

This photograph is fantastic. Thanks homunculus - I'll need to check the site out more thoroughly after work. For more contemporary Asian art, check out ShanghART featuring the paintings of Zhao Nengzhi and the creepy faceless/armless ceramic sculptures of Liu Jianhua, among others.
posted by snez at 1:12 PM on April 10, 2003

Hesse and the Asian Dream is an interesting article which sort of deals with why Asian art (esp. literature) appeals to some people and not to others, perceptions and expectations. Of course, it's not just the West which has influenced Asia; Asian art has had an influence on Western artists, too, and Hesse is a case in point. Via an old wood s lot.

'Lord Macaulay once famously declared that "a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia." It would be hard to imagine a statement more Eurocentric, yet so hard to dispute. For is not the Mahabharata rather bloated alongside the Iliad, or the Dhammapada so many raindrops in the thunderstorm of the Summa Theologica? On the other hand, we have the tendentious testimony of the Orientalist Thoreau, who believed that beside the timeless Bhagavad Gita "even our Shakespeare seems sometimes youthfully green and practical merely." In this view, whilst the West chatters away to no purpose, the East knows the truth to be ineffable, and accordingly it says - and writes - very little. But that little is correspondingly profound. To revise Macaulay, one might say that a single sentence of a good Asian book is worth the whole literature of Europe ... '

' ... We all know the American Dream. Put crassly, it is that hard slog should be rewarded with an SUV or the Presidency. As an alternative, Eddie Izzard offered the European Dream, which is to cruise around on a Vespa scooter, flash the peace sign, and purr the word "Ciao". What then is the Asian Dream? I would say that it is harmony, were harmony not used as a pretext for a massacre in Tiananmen Square. Or I would say that it is the power of faith, were this power not used as a pretext for mass murder in Manhattan. I think the closest Hesse comes to formulating the Asian Dream is when, told by the brooding H.H. that life is not just a game, Leo replies:'

"That is just what life is when it is beautiful and happy - a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier." '

'Beauty and happiness. Well, it ain't much -- neither a Vespa nor a six-figure salary (of which, incidentally, today's Asians are increasingly fond.) But what else should one expect of a dream except...hope?'

Western influence on Japanese art.
Japonisme: Japanese influence on Western art.
Van Gogh and Japonisme.
Asian roots, Western soil.
Hesse's Siddhartha. (popups)
Art is the product of the creativity of individuals, not of cultures...
posted by plep at 1:38 PM on April 10, 2003

Then, of course, there's the Magnificent Seven (after Kurosawa)...
posted by plep at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2003

Thanks for all the links, plep and snez!

Another contemporary artist who I'm really taken with, and who is on the site, is Chang Dai-Chien. Don't miss it.
posted by homunculus at 2:10 PM on April 10, 2003

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