The exhibition features more than 200 objects from Neolithic times to the 18th century, ranging from jade, silk, prints, and paintings to porcelain, lacquer, and bamboo carvings. Jiangnan’s lush, green scenery inspired artists to conceive it as heaven on earth. China’s Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta explores how this region gained a leading role in China’s artistic production and how it succeeded in setting cultural standards. This international exhibition presents works of art from private and public collections and museums in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan.
Colors of Kyoto: The Seifū Yohei Ceramic Studio showcases works in porcelain and stoneware made by the Kyoto-based studio of Seifū Yohei from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. While the studio is known for the role of Seifū Yohei III (1851–1914) as an Imperial Household Artist (Teishitsu gigei’in), it has only recently received sustained scholarly attention. The exhibition is the first in North America to comprehensively examine the studio’s output from the time of its founder, Seifū Yohei I (1801–1861), through that of its fourth-generation head, Seifū Yohei IV (1871–1951). This fulsome presentation of their creations is made possible through a gift of more than 100 individual and sets of works from the James and Christine Heusinger Collection, an assemblage strategically acquired over the past three decades with the goal of representing the full range of forms and styles produced under the Seifū Yohei name. The show and its catalogue also use the collection as a lens through which to analyze aspects of the modernization of Japan and to consider the history of international trade.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a particularly rich selection of liturgical textiles (textiles used during religious ceremonies) from the Middle Ages (about 500–1500). Textiles are particularly sensitive to light and accordingly they can only be exhibited for a limited period of time in order to preserve their colors and fabrics for later generations by keeping them in a dark, climate-controlled space.
How do we take hold of what is impermanent? This question is at the heart of Sonata for Smoke. Samson Young created the work while at an artist residency at the Zen temple Ryosoku-in in Kyoto. In that setting, he choreographed a sequence of ritualistic actions to trigger the emission of smoke, recording the image and sounds of that ephemeral substance on video. Throughout, the equipment used to capture the smoke is included in the video’s frame. This brings into focus the labor of grasping a transitory substance.
Fusing traditional Japanese art forms with contemporary digital animation, the Japanese artist Tabaimo’s 2009 artwork Blow will be on view at Transformer Station for the first time since its 2012 acquisition by the Cleveland Museum of Art. A pioneering video artist, she created Blow as a four-channel, immersive video installation that blurs lines between fantasy and reality.
Ranging from the Garden of Eden and courtly love gardens to the biblical deluge, prints and drawings in Love Gardens / Forbidden Fruit: Nature and Landscape before 1600 highlight humankind’s fraught but interdependent relationship with the natural world. The 60 works on paper in the exhibition, spanning the late medieval through the Renaissance periods (about 1460 to 1600), are assembled entirely from the CMA’s collection, including examples by the Master ES, Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, Fra Bartolommeo, Titian, Jacopo de’ Barbari, Giulio Campagnola, Giorgio Ghisi, Albrecht Altdorfer, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
This installation features images of animals made in Japan for a variety of purposes over the past 1,500 years and explores the often overlapping decorative, functional, and symbolic roles they have served.
When Salt Was Gold: Yangzhou, City of Riches and Art features more than a dozen paintings, from monumental wall hangings to intimate album leaves, from the museum and private collections that illustrate the artistic production of Yangzhou, the most flourishing city of 18th-century China.
This thematic display, including works by Lee Bul, Yun Hyong Keun, and Lee Ufan, explores how artists have manipulated materials and techniques as affective modes of communication to voice their thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.
In 2016, the museum acquired 37 photographs made by Raja Deen Dayal (1844–1905), hailed as the first great Indian photographer. This exhibition marks the Cleveland debut of these rare images, all of which come from a single album and were shot in 1886 and 1887, an important juncture in the artist’s life. On display alongside Dayal’s photographs are historical Indian paintings, textiles, clothing, and jewelry from the museum’s collection. These objects provide viewers with insight into the cultural context and help translate the objects in the photographs from monochrome into color.
Egyptian art has long served, and continues to serve, as a primary inspiration for fashion designers, solidifying the legacy of Egyptomania—the influence of the art of ancient Egypt. This exhibition, on view in the CMA’s textile and Egyptian galleries, brings together around 50 objects that explore the influence of Egyptomania in fashion by juxtaposing contemporary fashion and jewelry loaned from around the world with fine and decorative artworks from the CMA collection. Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession examines designers’ interpretations of themes such as Egyptian dress, funerary process, and religion that shape our contemporary perceptions of ancient Egyptian culture.
Newly on display from the permanent collection are two Diné (Navajo) garments from the late 1800s—a woman’s dress and a rug woven for the collector’s market, modeled on the Diné shoulder blanket. Also new on view is a watercolor from the 1920s by the Pueblo artist Ma Pe Wi (Velino Shije Herrera), who was key to a major development in Southwest Indigenous arts as Native people took control of representing their own cultures after centuries of marginalization.
The six textiles in the current installation from the permanent collection were made by weavers of the ancient Chimú civilization, which took root on Peru’s north coast in the year 1000. The garments—fabricated from undyed, white cotton and surely worn by Chimú nobility—represent the major articles of ancient Andean men’s wear. They embody important principles of the Chimú textile aesthetic, one being a love of combining different textures, some dense and sculptural and others so open and airy they are nearly invisible.