The Freer|Sackler Gallery is exhibiting The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran, thru August 5.The focus is on painted portraits and studio photographs in nineteenth-century Iran. The exhibition features a selection of about thirty works from the Freer and Sackler collections, including recent major gifts and acquisitions. Paintings on canvas, lacquerwares, and photographs “highlight Iran’s complex artistic and cultural interactions with the West as European conventions and new technologies were being introduced.”
Image below:Detail, Prince Jalal al-Din, son of Fath-Ali Shah (reigned 1797-1834)
The Freer|Sackler Gallery is exhibiting To Dye For: Ikats from Central Asia, thru July 29. The word ikats is derived from the Malaysian word for “to tie,” & refers to the distinct technique of making the textiles. Bundles of threads are patterned by repeated binding and dyeing before being woven. In present-day Uzbekistan and the Fergana Valley, the fabric is known as abri (cloud), and the technique is known as abrbandi (tying clouds), referring to the fluid yet bold motifs in bright colors. Modern designers, including the late Oscar de la Renta, included ikat designs in their collections.Ikat motifs have become ubiquitous and are used in many types of products. The exhibition features about thirty of the finest historical Central Asian ikat hangings and coats from the Freer|Sackler collections - donated by Guido Goldman - plus seven of Oscar de la Renta’s iconic creations.
Image below: Woman's robe (munisak); Central Asia, 1850-99; wool, cotton, and silk; Gift of Guido Goldman, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S2005.16
Ongoing exhibitions at the Freer|Sackler include: Now- thru October 2020: Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia - The exhibition expands the understanding of Buddhism in Asian art through both beautiful objects and immersive spaces. Image below: Detail, The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room from the Alice S. Kandell Collection Photograph: 2010 Objects: Tibet, China, and Mongolia, 13th–20th century Mixed media Gifts and promised gifts from the Alice S. Kandell Collection
Open indefinitely: Feast Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran - works dating from the first millennium BCE, beginning with the rule of the Achaemenid kings (550–330 BCE), to the early Islamic period. The installation explores the meaning behind these objects' over-arching artistic and technical characteristics.
Open indefinitely: Bells of Ancient China– An interactive exploration of ancient Chinese bells.
Image below: Bell (bo) with birds and tigers China, Yangzi River valley, ca. 1050–900 BCE Gift of Arthur M. Sackler Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
The Freer Gallery of Art is exhibiting Secrets of the Lacquer Buddha thru June 10, 2018. The exhibition “unites the only sixth-century, life-size Chinese lacquer buddha sculptures known: one from the Walters Art Museum, one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and one from the Freer Gallery of Art. The sculptures have never been exhibited together before.” The exhibition “explores how the sculptures were made, giving new insights into these deceptively simple objects. It also highlights how science can contribute to understanding art. The Freer|Sackler Department of Conservation and Scientific Research’s experts used specialized equipment and new methods to analyze the sculptures, exposing microscopic details.”
Image below: Buddha; China, Tang dynasty (681–907), early 7th century; hollow-core lacquer with pigment and gilding; Purchase—Charles Lang Freer Endowment; Freer Gallery of Art
Open thru June 24, 2018 - Artist Subodh Gupta's installation titled Terminal– The internationally-acclaimed artist transforms familiar household objects into wondrous structures. His monumental installation Terminal is composed of towers of brass containers connected by an intricate web of thread.