In the New York art world, the arrival of Asia Week is a little like a crocus -- a sign of spring. And whether or not spring has arrived, Asia Week certainly has, with a round of exhibitions, auctions and an art fair bringing the esthetic of the "Far East" home to the Big Apple. The events started on Friday, Mar. 13, 2009, and run through the end of this week and beyond.
The most substantial changes come on the art-fair front, as the bad economy prompted veteran fair-organizers Brian and Anna Haughton to cancel the 2009 installment of the International Asian Art Fair, the blue-ribbon event organized by at the Park Avenue Armory (and then at 583 Park Avenue last year).
Another bit of bad news for the Asian art market was the recent agreement with China that bans the import into the U.S. of many Chinese antiquities, from the Paleolithic to the end of the Tang dynasty in 907. Most of the Asian art trade involves artifacts in circulation before 1970, and is not affected by the ban. But the new rules are certain to boost prices -- and the black market -- for all the affected artworks.
As for the New York Arts of Pacific Asia Show, it has moved from its usual digs at the Lexington Avenue armory to the Merchandise Mart building at 7 West 34th Street, across from the Empire State Building (and home to the VOLTA art fair). Organized by Caskey Lees, the show presents almost 80 dealers, Mar. 14-18, 2009. General admission is $20. For details, click here
With the collapse of the Haughton fair, art dealers have taken matters into their own hands. A group of 16 dealers calling itself Asian Art Dealers of the Upper East Side (AADUE), led by Jiyoung Koo and Joan Mirviss, have arranged coordinated openings at galleries in the area, Mar. 14-20, 2009. For more info --and a useful map -- see www.aadueny.com
Galleries in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street have also joined together to present Asian art, with many dealers hosting colleagues from out of town -- Rossi & Rossi at Neuhoff Gallery, Nancy Wiener at Leo Kaplan, and so on. For a complete list of gallery exhibitions, click here
Another special exhibition is "Arts of Japan: An Exhibition by the Japanese Art Dealers Association," at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (also known as the Ukrainian Institute), around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 2 West 79th Street. Organized by a group of six dealers, the show features pre-modern works and runs Mar. 15-17, 2009. For more info, click here
For contemporary art fans, the A/P/A Institute at NYU (41-51 East 11th Street, 7th floor), is presenting "Art, Archives and Activism: Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings," Mar. 6-Dec. 18, 2009, a survey of material relating to the much-beloved late East Village artist Martin Wong (1946-99) and his circle. For details, see www.apa.nyu.edu
The auction action begins on Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2009, and runs for several days, with major sales at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s, and sales as well at Bonhams (480 Madison Avenue) and Doyle (175 East 87th Street).
And last but not least, the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils a new exhibition, "Art of the Korean Renaissance, 1400-1600," Mar. 17-June 21, 2009.