The Art Institute of Chicago is having a special exhibit of Japanese screens from June 26 until September 27, 2009.
We went to see them, today, my mother and I. Unfortunately, I was unable to take photographs of them (the staff frowned severely on me and my camera), but I will post a few of my favorites here:
The screen on the wall of this home was on display today. It’s called Dragon Knows Dragon, and I found it on Architectural Digest above this caption: “With his clients’ collection of Asian art in mind, California-based designer Ron Mann refurbished a modern penthouse in London overlooking the Thames. In the main living area is Dragon Knows Dragon, a four-panel lacquered screen by Shiryu Morita.”
But, the really cool part about Dragon Knows Dragon is the translation which the Art Institute wrote next to the screen: a phrase meaning “to recognize greatness is greatness.” I’d like to think that’s true…
Another of my favorite screens is called Mountain Lake Screen Tachi by Okura Jiro. It was made from trees in the woods of Virginia, and it looks like this:
Of course, this is again photographed outside of the museum where the artist had completed his work. But, I loved what the caption said by its display: “It is the artist’s intention that over time, bits of the gold leaf will fall from the screens and the wood will return to its natural state. His acceptance of the gradual transformation of his art can be taken as a metaphor for the ever changing condition of nature stressed in Buddhism.”
I loved looking at these screens today from the first one which was painted in 1969 to some that were over 500 years old done in pen and ink. I bought a few things from this collection for prizes during the Japanese Literature Challenge 3, so be on the lookout for them to reappear sometime soon…