Art in a Time of Chaos shows a side of Chinese history that has never been seen before. The juxtaposition of Northern and Southern Chinese tomb artifacts at the entrance of the exhibition offers insight into the differences between Northern and Southern Chinese cultures of Six-Dynasties China. Meanwhile, artifacts in the rear of the exhibition provide evidence of intercultural mingling between China and Persia. For more on those works, read Asian art curator Shawn Eichman’s Curator’s Notes blog posts on Art in a Time of Chaos parts 1, 2, and 3.
“It has been an honor to have this opportunity to work with China Institute, the Nanjing Museum, the Nanjing Municipal Museum and the Shanxi Museum to bring this exceptional exhibition to Honolulu,” says Eichman. “It was especially exciting to host the world premiere of several never-before-seen archeological discoveries that have changed our understanding of world history, and through the exhibition our audience has been able to gain a deeper appreciation for the Six Dynasties period and its impact on later art. I am thankful to the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Freeman Foundation for making this exhibition possible.”
The museum is home to the largest collection of woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige in the world—which gives the museum the freedom to curate Japanese print exhibitions in ways no other museum is capable. In Hiroshige’s City: From Edo to Tokyo, curator of Japanese art Stephen Salel presents works from Hiroshige’s renowned One Hundred Famous Views of Edo series in a way that illustrates the evolution of the world’s biggest megalopolis from a marshy wetland to a sprawling hub of economic activity.
“Visitors to the Honolulu Museum of Art often arrive with the earnest hope of viewing a world-renowned Japanese woodblock print,” says Salel. ”I am proud to say that since February, we have been able to display some of the most famous works in our woodblock print collection—the last suite of landscape prints designed by Hiroshige. The exhibition also offered a spotlight on the contemporary artists Motoda Hisaharu and Yoshimura Ayako, whose work brilliantly complimented Hiroshige’s well-known images. The show also raises important political issues and, I hope, has led visitors to passionate discussions about the dangers of urban sprawl. I am deeply grateful to Ms. Yoshimura and Mr. Motoda for their willingness to display their artwork as well as to Hawaiian Airlines, JCB, and the Freeman Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the exhibition.”
For more on Hiroshige’s City: From Edo to Tokyo read Salel’s Curator’s Notes blog post.