Thursday, February 2, 2012

Titles on the Arts from Selections 106: Part 1

We had a number of titles on the Arts in Selections 106.  We will feature five of those titles in this post:

Sanyu: Catalogue Raisonné Oil Paintings: Volume Two by Rita Wong. Sanyu (1901-1966) was a Chinese artist from Sichuan province who lived and died in Paris. Integrating traditional Chinese aesthetics with Western modernist tenets, Sanyu has created a unique painterly language that is all his own. Dedicated to discovering as much as possible about Sanyu, the author has interviewed Sanyu's friends and gathered records pertaining to Sanyu's life. This is the second volume of her catalogue, which in addition to listing Sanyu's works, attempts to construct Sanyu's life in the form of an extended chronology.

The Arts of Kashmir by Pratapaditya Pal. This is a magisterial survey by a leading authority on the artistic achievements of the Kashmiri culture. Published in conjunction with the Asia Society's major international loan exhibition Arts of Kashmir, this comprehensive catalogue by leading academics in the visual culture of Kashmir explores Kashmir's rich artistic and intellectual ferment between the 4th and 19th centuries. The catalogue, featuring 125 objects of exemplary quality, includes both religious and secular arts, providing a holistic view of the cultural achievements of the people of Kashmir. Examples of Kashmir's little-known works of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic art are presented along with famed crafts works, ranging from furniture and papier-maché work to carpets and embroidery, to provide a sense of the broad artistic contributions of this region. The essays discuss early painting, textile, sculptural and literary traditions in Kashmir, with a particular focus on the intersection of these traditions with artistic, religious and cultural practices in the local and wider regions. With bibliography and index.

Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in the Twentieth-Century China by Yang Xiaoneng. This substantial volume examines a crucial turning point in the development of Chinese ink painting in the twentieth century, a change represented by the beautiful and innovative work of four artists, Wu Changshuo (1844-1927), Qi Baishi (1863-1957), Huang Binhong (1864-1955), and Pan Tianshou (1897-1971). With careers spanning over a century of radical change in China, these artists were instrumental in propelling the ancient tradition of Chinese ink painting into the modern era in the face of compelling Western influences. As a group, their work represents an alternative approach to questions of relevance and modernity. This lavish book illuminates the context in which these artists worked, describes their overall contribution to the history of Chinese art, and highlights their individual ideas and achievements. In his introductory essay, Xiaoneng Yang offers a brief historical background for the evolution of modern Chinese painting. Richard E. Vinograd analyzes the "alternative modernism" represented by these artists, each of whom worked in the brush-and-ink idiom, confronted the shift toward practices of the West, and gave new life through this confrontation to cherished traditions. Essays devoted to each artist are followed by individual entries discussing their works. Featuring more than one hundred works of both painting and calligraphy by the four artists, the book, which is published to accompany a traveling exhibition, also includes a glossary, an index and detailed bibliography.

Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity and Evolution by Bruce Carpenter, A. J. Guerreiro and P. Heurtault. Ethnic Jewellery from Indonesia: Continuity and Evolution is a compelling introduction to the little-known and visually-powerful body adornments of the ethnic peoples of Indonesia's outer islands, including Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Sumba and Maluku. The history of the jewellery is told from the perspective of the materials used, including gold, silver, brass, ivory, shell and animal teeth. Illustrated with nearly 600 photographs of rare jewellery amassed over 30 years by collector Manfred Giehmann, this book explores the depth and breadth of an ancient and magnificent tradition of the Indonesian people. It will provide information on the origin, meaning and purpose of the jewellery, as well as unique insights into the people who crafted and wore the jewellery for ritual or ceremonial functions. Ethnic Jewellery: Continuity and Evolution is a definitive work on the subject and a testimony to the living traditions of cultures usually shrouded in mystery.
 
Negotiating Home History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011. Assembling over 70 works from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, this exhibition showcases the visual brilliance and conceptual purpose of recent Southeast Asian practice. Providing regional comparisons, it illuminates the common themes, aesthetic approaches, and conceptual tendencies that have surfaced since the early 1990s. Commonalities coming to the fore include story-telling, the meshing of idea and visual seduction, and a belief in art-as-social-voice. Arguing for a view of the region's visual production on the region's terms, the curatorial references used to contextuatise the pieces are mined in Southeast Asian history, geography, and culture. The exhibition proposes the confluence of recent political history, profound social shifts, and artists' confidence vis-à-vis their deep-rooted cultural baggage as significant to the creation of the visually potent and conceptually original art of the last two decades.

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