Three Permanent Galleries of Chinese Art Reinstalled This Summer at the Newark Museum

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The Newark Museum will re-install three permanent galleries devoted to Chinese art this summer.

“This re-installation provides a timely introduction of the Museum’s superior, but largely unknown, collection of Chinese art.” said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director and CEO of the Museum.

The Newark Museum will re-install three permanent galleries devoted to Chinese art this summer. Although the installation will feature a few select loans from distinguished private collections, the vast majority of objects are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection. The re-installation will exemplify not only superior works from centuries past, but also works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works of art will range from ancient Chinese bronzes, to carved jade, ivory, malachite, amber, amethyst and turquoise largely produced during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (fourteenth to nineteenth centuries). Chinese paintings will also be displayed along with ceramics, lacquer wares and enamel works and rare examples of imperial furniture.

“This re-installation provides a timely introduction of the Museum’s superior, but largely unknown, collection of Chinese art,” said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director and CEO of the Museum. “Many of the works have never before been shown. To our delight this installation reveals our historic collections’ strengths match recent collecting trends in the current market.”

Three themes will be highlighted in three sections: Re-Activating Chinese Antiquities: Honoring the Archaic in Art, 200 BC-2012 AD; China’s China: Porcelain, Earthenware, Stoneware & Glazes; and Buddhism, Taoism, Confucius and Cult of Mao: China’s Religious Arts.

Re-Activating Chinese Antiquities: Honoring the Archaic in Art, 200 BC-2012 AD

The sophistication of ancient Chinese bronze castings and jade carvings and the evolution of different calligraphic scripts have long fascinated Chinese artists and people worldwide. Chinese art — today, as over the past 3,000 years— strives to pay homage to the immense richness of Chinese cultural traditions and their constant re-invention through living artists of every era. For example, the so-called “hundred treasures” (baibao) include symbols of ancient bronze forms, jades, stone chimes and emblems of the four scholarly pursuits: calligraphy, poetry, painting and music.

Every succeeding period of Chinese history re-creates these honored cultural elements — through courtly arts, decorative arts, religious arts and though a scholarly lifestyle of the literati class. In addition to featuring ancient bronze and jade works, this exhibition will showcase carvings of bamboo, amber, lapis lazuli, malachite and ivory as well as ceramics, calligraphy and paintings that exemplify centuries of re-inventing and re-activating the ancient arts of China, including the thriving contemporary arts of the twenty-first century.

China’s China: Porcelain, Earthenware, Stoneware & Glazes

More than 2,000 years of ceramic excellence will be showcased with meaningful selections to feature a range of different techniques through both figural and practical forms. The selections date from seven different dynastic periods—stretching from the second century BC to contemporary works.

A brilliant range of colors of the glazes will be on view — from celadon greens to ox-blood reds, from baroque overlays of lime-green, pinks, and purples to the more familiar blue-and-whites wares.

“This installation demonstrates why the name of the country became a synonym for the ceramic arts while demonstrating an abridged introduction of some of the most significant and celebrated ceramic types in Chinese history,” said Katherine Anne Paul, the Museum’s Curator of the Arts of Asia.

Buddhism, Taoism, Confucius and Cult of Mao: China’s Religious Arts

Multiple religious arts populate the diverse regions of China. Some traditions, like Confucianism, Taoism and the Cult of Mao developed within China. Others religious traditions —Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — entered with foreign traders, missionaries and shifting populations. Through poignant groupings of devotional objects related to most of these traditions, the distinctions and interplay of Chinese aesthetics and religious meanings will be explored.

Additionally, a selection from the Museum’s collection of 51 badges of Chairman Mao—his profile, his calligraphy, and sacred and historic sites of his rise to power will illustrate this more recent devotional phenomenon.

Further information may be obtained on the Newark Museum website, http://www.newarkmuseum.org.

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Lisa Batitto
Newark Museum
(973) 596-6638
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