The Go-To Guide for 2015 Asia Week New York

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Portrait of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar (circa 1715), detail.

Today marks the kick-off of Asia Week New York, which boasts, as always, auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s Bonhams, Doyle, Auctionata, and iGavel Auctions, with art treasures spanning thousands of years. Coinciding with Art Basel in Hong Kong, Asia Week also includes an impressive schedule of exhibitions and events at 22 museums and cultural organizations, as well as 42 art dealers.

With Armory Week safely in the rear view mirror, it almost seemed like the New York art world could relax for a couple of months—but in this era of never-ending art fairs, is that ever really the case? Luckily, artnet News is here to guide you through yet another busy week of art-fueled happenings with a list of the highlights.

Plaque with image of seated Buddha (pagan period, 11th–13th century). Photo: Sean Dungan, courtesy the Bagan Archaeological Museum, Myanmar.

Plaque with image of seated Buddha (pagan period, 11th–13th century).
Photo: Sean Dungan, courtesy the Bagan Archaeological Museum, Myanmar.



Asia Art Fair New York

Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
March 13–17
Friday, 5 p.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday–Monday, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; Tuesday 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
$20 general admission
Dealers from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, and the Near East come together to present their paintings, drawings, rugs, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry. On Saturday at 2 p.m., the fair will host a lecture on images of Japanese netsuke (small sculptural objects traditionally used like pockets or tiny purses) in traditional woodblock prints.

Friday, March 13

Asia Week Launch Party

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at East 70th Street
6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Start off the week’s festivities with free admission to the museum, currently home to three exhibitions: “Buddhist Art of Myanmar,” with 70 pieces, some of which have never before left Myanmar (known as Burma until the end of British rule in 1989); “Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus,” with miniature landscape sculptures created from recycled materials specially for the museum; and “South and Southeast Asian Sculpture from the Asia Society Museum Collection.” In addition to offering docent tours of the two temporary exhibitions, the museum will host a pop up wine bar in the Garden Court Cafe, and Chef Eugene Saw will be selling Burmese specialties at a Burma Noodle Bar.

Utagawa Hiroshige, Cat Crossing to Eat (1830–44). Photo: courtesy the Japan Society, Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation.

Utagawa Hiroshige, Cat Crossing to Eat (1830–44).
Photo: courtesy the Japan Society, Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation.

Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection

Japan Society of America, 333 East 47th Street at First Avenue
6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Admission to the Japan Society is also free Friday night, in celebration of both Asia Week and the debut of the museum’s exhibition of 90 Edo-era woodblock ukiyo-e prints featuring cats. Also on view are manga, porcelain sculptures, and books starring our feline friends. From 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m., the museum will host “Playful Heart: Cats in Ukiyo-e Prints,” a conversation on how the playful nature of cats is often in evidence in the artwork of the Edo period. Tickets to the talk and the reception afterward are $18.

5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Even the Asia Week website doesn’t attempt to keep track of all the different events going on at galleries all over the city on Friday night, but rest assured if a dealer has a special Asia Week show, they’ll be celebrating the opening tonight.

Korea Day: A Celebration of Art & Culture at the Newark Museum. Photo: courtesy the Newark Museum.

Korea Day: A Celebration of Art & Culture at the Newark Museum.
Photo: courtesy the Newark Museum.

Saturday, March 14

Korea Day: A Celebration of Art & Culture

The Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark
12 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Paired with the museum’s current exhibition, “Korea, Land of the Diamond Mountains,” which features over 60 objects from the museum’s nearly 500-piece strong Korean art collection, Korea Day will feature traditional music and performances, as well as art-making workshops.

Sancai Phoenix Ewer, China, Tang Dynasty. Photo: courtesy auctionata.

Sancai Phoenix Ewer, China, Tang Dynasty.
Photo: courtesy auctionata.

Sunday, March 15

Asian Works of Art

12 p.m.
This online auction features ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, and paintings from China, Korea, Tibet, Japan, India, and Nepal. Standout lots include a gorgeous Tang Dynasty Sancai Phoenix Ewer in mottled tones of amber, blue, and green. Its $15,000 starting bid is among the higher prices at this affordable sale. Also offered at $15,000 is an 18th-century Sino-Tibetan bronze figure of Dakini, “a volatile Tantric priestess who ‘carried the souls of the dead to the sky.'” And for a starting bid of $5,000, bidders can vie for a carved white jade snuff bottle from 18th or 19th-century China.

Asia Society Museum Collectors Dinner Honoring  Dr. Pratapaditya Pal

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at East 70th Street
8 p.m.
$1,500 (and up)
This swanky yet intimate affair will feature a speech by Pal, a pioneering art historian in the fields of Tibetan, Nepali, and Indian art who has published more than 60 books.

Monday, March 16

Asian Works of Art

Doyle New York, 175 East 87th Street
10 a.m.
Another wide ranging auction, Doyle’s Asian Works of Art Sale looks to make up in scale what it lack in star-power with a pair of early 20th-century Chinese Cloisonné Elephants, each over six feet tall. Despite some slight damage to each piece, the duo is expected to carry a $70,000–90,000 price tag.

Wen Zhengming, Longqui tu (circa 1540s). Photo: courtesy Bonhams.

Wen Zhengming, Longqui tu (circa 1540s).
Photo: courtesy Bonhams.

Chinese Art from the Scholar’s Studio

Bonhams, 580 Madison Avenue, between East 56th and East 57th Street
11:45 a.m.
Each of the sale’s 165 refined, contemplative lots were produced by or for the Chinese literati. Among the anticipated highlights is Longqui tu, a hanging paper scroll painted by Hing dynasty “scholar-painter” Wen Zhengming, likely from the 1540s. The mountainous scene carries a pre-sale estimate of $250,000–400,000.

Asia Week Reception

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue at East 82nd Street
6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Holding this official Asia Week event at the Met is only fitting: 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the venerable museum’s Asian Art Department. The atmospheric Astor Chinese Garden Court is probably too small, but that’s where we’re imagining the invitation-only affair taking place.

Tuesday, March 17

The Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth

Christie’s, 20 Rockefeller Plaza at West 49th Street
6 p.m.
The auction house’s first-ever evening Asian art sale is the first of seven sales over 10 sessions to feature the collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, the pioneering Asian art dealer who died this past August at 85 (see Robert H. Ellsworth, King of Ming, Dead at 85 and World’s Largest Collection of Asian Art to Hit Auction Block). Expect multiple lots in excess of $1 million, including a “rare and highly important” ninth century Shiva Gangadhara Nataraja bronze from India that could hammer down between $2,000,000–3,000,000.

Asia Week Open House

China Institute, 125 East 65th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
This is your chance a free look at the new exhibition, “Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution,” a look at China’s brief 1968 obsession with mangoes as a symbol of Mao Zedong’s love of his people (it sounds like a long story). It’s also a final opportunity to see the China Institute at its Upper East Side home, before it moves to the Financial District this summer. Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, March 18

Important Chinese Works of Art

Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue
2 p.m.
This sale of roughly 300 lots drawn from private collections takes place over two days, beginning Tuesday. The top lots overall are two blue and white porcelains, a dish and a bowl, both which could sell in excess of $2.5 million–3.5 million.

Wu Tong. Photo: courtesy Asia Society.

Wu Tong.
Photo: courtesy Asia Society.

Thursday, March 19

Wu Tong: Song of the Sheng

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at East 70th Street
7 p.m. lecture, 8 p.m.–9:30 pm performance
An original member of the Silk Road Ensemble, a musical collective founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma known for its use of traditional instruments from the Silk Road region, Wu Tong is also the frontman of Chinese rock band Lunhul. This concert will feature a wide range of performances on the sheng, a kind of Chinese panpipes.

Asia Week Celebration

The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street
6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Party with the Rubin as it enters its second decade, and enjoy its current exhibition, “Becoming Another: The Power of Masks,” featuring five centuries of masks from Siberia, Mongolia, Japan, and the Himalayas. With cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a special performance, this could be the highlight of the week.

Friday, March 20

The Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth

Christie’s, 20 Rockefeller Plaza at West 49th Street
10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Part IV of the Ellsworth estate sale (see Tuesday, above).

Saturday, March 21

Noguchi as Photographer

The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City
1 p.m.
Round out the week with this lecture, held in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition of the same name. Associate curator Matthew Kirsch offers peek at travel photos from trips through Europe and Asia in 1949–50 taken by the Los Angeles–born sculptor and landscape artist Isamu Noguchi.


“Treasures from the Middle Kingdom”

Asian Art Studio, Los Angeles
Fuller Building, 41 East 47th Street, 7th floor
The centerpiece of the show is a pair of jade green imperial screens dating to the 18th century.

“Winter Lotus Garden: Nature in Contemporary Chinese Ink”

The Chinese Porcelain Company
475 Park Avenue
This contemporary ink art show features work by five artists inspired by the deep historical roots of the medium.

Portrait of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar (circa 1715).

Portrait of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar, detail (circa 1715).
Photo: courtesy Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd.

Indian Painting 1590–1870

Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch Ltd., London
9 East 82nd Street, Suite 1A
Included in this carefully curated show is a rare portrait of the Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar, who ruled from 1713 to 1719, bringing to light a forgotten ruler’s patronage of the arts.

Fabulous Beings: Japan & China & Sculpture by Hiroyuki Asano

Carole Davenport

Leigh Morse Fine Arts, 22 East 80th Street, 5th floor
Tigers loom larger than life at this exhibition, particularly in one 33-inch-wide, 57-inch-high scroll by Maruyama Ōkyo (1769), depicting two masterfully rendered, majestic cats in a landscape setting.

Happy Modern & Contemporary Korean Paintings

Kang Collection, 9 East 82nd Street, 3rd Floor
Three Korean-born contemporary artists now working in the US and Europe come together with modernist Korean ink artists for this exhibition, which marks the gallery’s 34th anniversary and explores the influence of classical Korean art traditions on today’s Korean artists.

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