With a Stellar Panel of Collectors, Curators, Gallerists and Auction House Experts, Asia Week New York Zooms-in on Collecting Contemporary Asian Art

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • November 29, 2021

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The Diane and Arthur Abbey Collection of Japanese Bamboo Baskets at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  
(Courtesy Diane and Arthur Abbey)

Continuing their series of lively and thought-provoking webinars, Asia Week New York is pleased to present Ahead of the Curve: Collecting Contemporary Asian Art, a webinar on Thursday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. EST. To register click here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4ZviiQjzQruACvCh40kdNA 

As contemporary Asian artists find more inventive forms, styles and media to express their creativity, there are more opportunities to entice collectors–both novice and seasoned–to start or build upon a new or existing collection. Whether it’s a geometric-shaped Japanese bamboo basket, a complex Chinese ink drawing from a young emerging artist, a dramatic contemporary Japanese photograph or a contemporary Indian painting, there is one thing that unites them: the collector’s discerning eye.

lluminating Earth 148, 2019, gelatin silver print, © Yojiro Imasaka (Courtesy of Miyako Yoshinaga) lluminating Earth 148, 2019, gelatin silver print, © Yojiro Imasaka      
(Courtesy of Miyako Yoshinaga)

In partnership with Joan B Mirviss LTD, the panel discussion will spotlight four areas of contemporary Asian art: Chinese ink painting, bamboo art, South Asian art, and Asian photography. With expert insights from gallery owners, auction house experts and curators, alongside their passionate collecting clients, Ahead of the Curve will examine how this flourishing of contemporary Asian art has opened up exciting avenues of interest for savvy collectors. The panelists will discuss the challenges of being at the forefront of their fields: in introducing and promoting an unfamiliar medium, changing public perceptions, establishing new relationships with artists, and illuminating their quality and artistic merits to institutions and the general public. This essential discussion will be moderated by Joan Mirviss, who herself has pioneered the collecting of contemporary Japanese ceramics.

The distinguished panel includes:

Diane and Arthur Abbey have been collecting Japanese bamboo baskets for over 25 years. The culmination of their collecting resulted in a 2017-2018 groundbreaking eight-month exhibition of 90 of their pieces in the Japanese galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, attended by more than 400,000 visitors. Their outstanding collection, which has been gifted to The Met, helped fill a museum gap in the Met’s Japanese Collection. The couple worked closely with the entire Met’s Asian Department–particularly with Monika Bincsik, who served as curator of the exhibition and presently occupies The Diane and Arthur Abbey Curatorship for Japanese Decorative Arts, the first endowed position in the field in the Museum’s history.  The Abbey Collection was based upon both emotional and visual appeal more than who the artist was.  Some of the pieces are by artists who have been designated as Living National Treasures and some are by artists who are relatively unknown. 

Nasreen Mohamedi, Untitled, Oil on canvas board, circa 1964, 47 x 35 in. (119.3 x 88.9 cm.) , sold for $437,500, a world auction record for the artist, March 16, 2020
(Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Anne Havinga is the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Chair of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has been a staff member at the MFA since 1989 and has led the Museum’s Photography section since 2001. Now that Photography has become its own separate department at the MFA, she is its first Chair. Havinga has strengthened the MFA’s photography collection in a number of ways, including the building up of its nineteenth century holdings, and the development of a concerted plan—with Anne Nishimura Morse, the MFA’s William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art—to collect Japanese photography. Havinga has organized a variety of exhibitions, ranging from early photography to contemporary.

John and Denise Knight collect contemporary ink art and Chinese ceramics. Their collection also includes some examples of recent Western art by artists such as Brice Marden and Joan Mitchell. The Knights are engaged intellectually and aesthetically in the fields they collect and are particularly interested in art that embodies an East/West Asian cultural dialogue. The Knights have spent half of their adult lives in Asia and the Middle East and the remainder in New York, where they currently reside.

Bharti Malkani is a New York-based art collector and philanthropist. She believes in the transformative power of education and has been championing systemic education reform in her native India for many years. Malkani earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and began her career in Investor Relations representing small-cap, publicly traded technology companies to the investing community. After several years she left the corporate world for entrepreneurial pursuits and now devotes her time to several non-profit entities including as a member of the Director's Council at the Penn Museum, Philadelphia. Her art collecting journey started in the late 1990's, and her primary focus is on Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art. 

Manjari Sihare Sutin heads sales for the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Department at Sotheby’s for the Americas.  She joined the auction house in 2015 and brings a breadth and depth of knowledge to her role acquired over eighteen years of experience in the field. Manjari has worked extensively with a range of cultural institutions and private collections in India and the United States. She holds two graduate degrees in Art History and Visual Arts Administration: from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, and New York University, respectively. 

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Stanford in 2006, Margo Thoma moved to Santa Fe, where she co-founded the gallery Eight Modern in 2007. In 2014, Thoma purchased the Santa-Fe based TAI Gallery, merging it with her American contemporary art gallery, Eight Modern, and the result is TAI Modern. She and bamboo expert, Koichiro Okada, have continued gallery founder Rob Coffland’s mission of encouraging and advocating for Japanese bamboo art world-wide.  Works by TAI Modern artists have been placed in some of the country’s most prestigious institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.

Craig L. Yee is a co-founding director of INK Studio, a Beijing and New York-based gallery and experimental art space devoted to researching, documenting and exhibiting ink as a medium, language and discourse for the creation of contemporary art. Mr. Yee has played a central organizational and editorial role in a number of major university and museum research projects on classical Chinese painting including New Songs on Ancient Tunes (2007) at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Selected Masterworks of Modern Chinese Painting (2010) at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and Alternative Dreams (2016), a multi-year research and exhibition program on seventeenth-century Chinese painting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Originally from Japan, Miyako Yoshinaga founded her namesake gallery in 1999 in New York City, MIYAKO YOSHINAGA. It has flourished as a premier showcase promoting international artists with a focus on innovation and cross-boundary practices. The gallery has also been at the forefront of establishing Japanese and other Asian photography as a viable component in the international art arena. She has been curating survey exhibitions for Japanese and Korean master photographers with a scholarly emphasis, while fostering younger artists’ careers and ambitious projects through exhibitions and international art fairs.  

About Asia Week New York

The collaboration of top-tier international Asian art galleries, the six major auction houses, Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Heritage Auctions, iGavel, and Sotheby’s, and numerous museums and Asian cultural institutions, Asia Week New York is a week-long celebration filled with a non-stop schedule of simultaneous gallery open houses, Asian art auctions as well as numerous museum exhibitions, lectures, and special events. Participants from Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, and the United States unveil an extraordinary array of museum-quality treasures from China, India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, and Korea.

Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade membership organization registered with the state of New York. For more information visit www.AsiaWeekNewYork.com @asiaweekny #asiaweekny

About Songtsam, Presenting Sponsor

Founded by Baima Duoji, in 2000, the Songtsam Group is the only collection of luxury Tibetan-style retreats found across the Tibetan Plateau that offers guests sophisticated elegance, refined design, modern amenities, and unobtrusive service in places of natural beauty and cultural interest. With his long-standing and strong interest in Chinese, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian art, Mr. Baima started collecting art long before he established his first hotel, Songtsam Lodge Shangri-La, which is located next to the famous Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La. Many of the properties across the Tibetan plateau are decorated with Mr. Baima’s personal collection, with each hotel acting as a private art museum. For more information, visit www.songtsam.com.

 


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