The Freer|Sackler Galleries focuses on photography & prints in two complementary exhibitions on display thru January 21. Japan Modern: Photography from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection celebrates the recent acquisition of a major Japanese photography collection including iconic works dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. The photos “focus on Japanese artists’ search for a sense of place in a rapidly changing country. A selection of photobooks and experimental films add to this multifaceted exploration.” Japan Modern: Prints in the Age of Photographyexplores Japanese artists’ reactions to the challenges of modernity from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. The exhibition “first examines the collapse of the traditional woodblock-printmaking industry in the face of the printing press and photography. Then, it traces the medium’s resurrection as an art form, through which printmakers recorded scenes of their changing country in striking new ways.”
The Freer Sackler Gallery is exhibiting Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran, through September 2019.The exhibition of ceramics produced in northwestern Iran“highlights animal-shaped vessels as well as jars and bowls decorated with animal figures. The ceramics, the most common objects to survive from ancient Iran, date from the Chalcolithic period (5200 BCE–3400 BCE) to the Parthian period (250 BCE–225 CE). Their distinct shapes and lively decoration illustrate the creative attempts of potters to experiment with clay and to lend originality and even whimsy to utilitarian vessels thousands of years ago.”
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
Chase F. Robinson, who is president of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a professor of Middle Eastern history and culture, has been named the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian.The two museums comprise the Smithsonian’s national Asian art museums. Mr. Robinson succeeds Julian Raby, who retired in December 2017. Richard Kurin has served as Acting Director of the museums since Raby’s retirement.Robinson will assume his new position on December 10. Mr. Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his doctorate from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Mr. Robinson was a member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford andchaired its faculty board from 2003 to 2005.A scholar of Islamic history and culture, Robinson has authored or edited nine books and more than 40 articles that span the geographical and chronological breadth of the pre- and early-modern Islamic Middle East. A recent book, titled Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years (2016) was translated into Arabic and Portuguese. Mr. Robinson has commented that “The collections in the Freer and Sackler galleries, embedded as they are within the encyclopedic resources of the Smithsonian Institution, are extraordinary in their own right and powerful tools for fostering cultural understanding.”