The Brooklyn Museum Presents Arts of Korea, a Celebration of Its Historic Collection
The exhibition is the first phase of a major reinstallation of the anticipated Arts of Asia and the Middle East Galleries.
Opens September 15, 2017
The Brooklyn Museum is pleased to unveil Arts of Korea, a celebration of the Museum’s historic Korean collection and a preview of the future Arts of Asia and the Middle East galleries. The renovated Arts of Korea gallery is triple its original size and will display more than three times the amount of artworks and objects, many of which will be on view for the first time or after multiple decades in storage. Arts of Koreaopens September 15, 2017, and is made possible by generous support from the National Museum of Korea.
A pioneer in the collection and display of Korean art, the Brooklyn Museum has amassed one of the country’s premier Korean collections and was one of the first museums in the United States to establish a permanent Korean art gallery. Arts of Korea presents 80 works of art, including a stunning selection of ceramics— from early stoneware funerary vessels and inlaid celadons to later wares with freely painted underglaze decoration— and rare examples of metalwork, furniture, painting, jewelry, and costume.
“The Brooklyn Museum was one of the first to acknowledge the importance of Korean art,” said Joan Cummins, the Museum’s Lisa and Bernard Selz Senior Curator of Asian Art. “Stewart Culin, our first Curator of Ethnology, traveled to Seoul in 1913, and this early commitment to Korean art attracted great gifts over the years. With this larger gallery, we’re excited to showcase the depth and breadth of the collection.”
Arts of Korea presents 1,800 years of the region’s varied and distinctive art making through highlighted artworks and objects, including a twelfth-century Ewer in the Shape of a Lotus Bud, considered one of the world’s finest Korean ceramics on account of its delicate modeling and restrained decoration; a recent curatorial discovery of an extremely rare early nineteenth-century wide-brimmed Official’s Hat for Ceremonial Occasions, later banned for its extravagant scale; and an elaborate sixth-century Pair of Earrings that demonstrates the diffusion of art-making techniques across the Silk Road trade routes that connected East and West. In addition, a heavily embroidered cloak worn by nineteenth-century Korean brides, called a hwalot, will be on view for the first time since its acquisition in 1927 after undergoing extensive conservation treatments.
In addition to Arts of Korea, visitors will have the opportunity to preview signature works from the anticipated reinstallation of the Arts of Asia and the Middle East galleries on the Museum’s renovated second floor. Those masterworks include an exquisite bronze animal-form wine vessel of China’s Shang dynasty (thirteenth to eleventh century B.C.E.); a sixth-century sandstone head from Cambodia; a highly prized bronze icon of the Hindu god Shiva as Chandrashekhara (circa 970 C.E.); a glowering, larger than life-size head of a Japanese guardian figure; a wonderfully preserved thirteenth-century image of a seated Maitreya from Tibet; an inlaid brass candlestick from the Middle East; a large portrait of an Iranian prince from the Qajar Dynasty of Iran; and a Georgian-style silver urn made by a Cantonese master.
Arts of Korea is organized by Joan Cummins, Lisa and Bernard Selz Senior Curator of Asian Art, and Susan L. Beningson, Assistant Curator of Asian Art. The reinstallation of the Korea collection was made possible by three generous grants from the National Museum of Korea.
About the Arts of Asia and the Middle East Galleries
The Museum’s Arts of Asia and the Middle East collection consists of nearly 20,000 objects, including works considered among the most significant examples of the creative and artistic achievement of the regions. Once reinstalled, the renovated galleries will both celebrate the diversity that has long existed within all of the nations of the continent and demonstrate the exchange of goods and ideas across national boundaries. In addition to Arts of Korea, the display of the Arts of Asia and the Middle East collection will include galleries devoted to Arts of Japan; Arts of China; Arts of South Asia; Arts of Buddhism; Arts of Southeast Asia; Arts of the Himalayas; Arts of Asian Trade Routes; and Arts of the Middle East.
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