The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society, on view March 6 through May 30, 2021. Initially planned for the Spring of 2020, the exhibition was on view for just three days before NOMA had to close its doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in its return to the museum, the exhibition presents nearly seventy of the finest examples of Asian art in the United States.
Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon showcases the broad range of bronzes, ceramics, and metalwork assembled by John D. Rockefeller 3rd (1906– 1978) and his wife Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller (1909–1992) between the 1940s and the 1970s. With highlights including Chinese vases, Indian Chola bronzes, and Southeast Asian sculptures, the collection reveals great achievements in Asian art spanning more than two millennia. Featuring works from across the Asian continent—Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam, the selection of masterpieces presented in Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon illuminates social and artistic histories from across Asia and underscores the visual arts’ capacity to encourage cross-cultural dialogue.
“The stunning range of works selected by Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller represent a multitude of cultures across Asia, showcasing the diversity and complexity of the region,” said Susan Taylor, Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “The collection rarely travels beyond its home at the Asia Society Museum in New York, and never with the range of objects presented in this exhibition. We are delighted to be able to bring this remarkable collection back to New Orleans to be safely enjoyed and admired.”
When Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller began collecting Asian art in the years after World War II, they chose to prioritize classical masterpieces that represented the great technical skill and creative breadth of Asian artistic practice. In addition to investigating themes of Buddhist sculpture, Hindu sculpture, and ceramics and metalwork, the exhibition also examines the Rockefellers’ collecting and exhibition practices in an age when political and economic circumstances informed the reception and availability of Asian artworks in the United States. With an emphasis on beauty, ingenuity, and tradition, Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon manifests the dynamic ideas and philosophies that animate histories of Asian art and renews the Rockefellers’ vision of promoting cross-cultural understanding.
Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society is co-organized by the American Federation of Arts and Asia Society. See tour schedule.
Buddha and Shiva, Lotus and Dragon: Masterworks from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection at Asia Society is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Adriana Proser, the former John H. Foster Senior Curator of Traditional Asian Art at Asia Society. Visit the NOMA shop online.