Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Books on Vietnamese Art

Here are five books on Vietnamese art. We are keen to build up our selection of quality books on Vietnamese art; do contact us if you are a publisher or distributor with such titles.
  • Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea. Once a strategic trading post that channelled the flow of riches and ideas among countries situated along the South China Sea and places as far away as India and Rome, Vietnam has a fascinating history and an artistic heritage to match it. This lavishly produced catalogue, published to accompany an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (September 2009 to January 2010) and the Asia Society and Museum (February to May 2010), will help introduce English-speaking audiences to Vietnam's amazing body of artwork, ranging from the first millennium B.C. to the 18th century. The authors begin by discussing, for example, the elegant burial jars, iron axes, bronze artefacts, and jewellery of the early Sa Huynh culture; the bronze ritual drums of the Dong Son; and the jewelled gold pieces, excavated from the walled center of Oc Eo in the kingdom of Fu Nan. New scholarship investigates the trade in gold and Chinese ceramics between Cham and the Philippine kingdom of Butuan. The final section is devoted to art from Hoi An, once a major international port. Of note are the ceramic wares produced in northern and central Vietnam from the 16th to 18th century.
  • Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art by Nora Annesley Taylor. With Vietnamese painting gaining prominence in the contemporary art circuits of Southeast Asia, many artists have found fame and fortune, yet Vietnamese painting is generally overlooked in art history surveys of the region. Nora Taylor sets out to change that with this book. Painters in Hanoi engages with 20th-century Vietnam through its artists and their works, providing a new angle on a country most often portrayed through the lens of war and politics. Drawing on interviews with artists, curators, art critics and others in Hanoi, the author surveys the impact artists have had on intellectual life in Vietnam. The book shows them within their own complex community, one fraught with tensions, politiking, and favoritism, yet also a sense of belonging. It describes their education, the role of the government in their arts, the rise and fall of individual artists, their influence as active players in the politics of place and gender, the audience for their work, and how tourism and the international art market have influenced it. By presenting artists as individuals actively involved in national life, this book offers a truly innovative perspective on modern Vietnamese history. Paperback reissue.
  • Post Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After 1990 (12 May 20 08 To 28 Sept 2008). This book, published to complement the 2008 exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum, sheds light on the background of the exhibits and on artistic developments in Vietnam since the 1986 post-Doi Moi changes. The introductory essay overviews the country's art scene and discusses some of its distinctive features including the styles of artistic abstraction and the tradition of lacquer painting. Photographs and commentaries are given for some 60 examples of painting and other artwork in the exhibition. With biographical summaries.
  • Viet Nam: From Myth to Modernity edited by Heidi Tan. Published to accompany the 2008 exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum, this extensively illustrated catalogue includes essays on Vietnam's history and art by international specialists. Illustrations of selected artefacts complement the accounts of the four main periods in Vietnam's history. The religious and everyday purposes of the exhibits illustrated are discussed and provenance details given. The exhibits have been drawn from Vietnam's and international museums and private collections. With chronology and bibliography.
  • Impressions And Expressions: Vietnamese Contemporary Painting by Shireen Naziree and Phan Cam Thuong. This book is an introduction to contemporary Vietnamese painting. In the first part, art historian Shireen Naziree covers the background of contemporary Vietnamese painting and places it in the context of Southeast Asia. There is a section on how lacquer paintings are made, followed by profiles of 15 prominent artists written by the Vietnamese art historian and critic Phan Cam Thuong. Many of the artists started their careers during the mid-1980s, and may thus be labelled the "doi moi generation". Although there had been many talented artists of the older generation, the artists of the doi moi generation were the first to break free from more conventional painting styles.

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