The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, home of one of the most important collections of Asian art in North America. The department of Art of Asia was established in 1890 as the Department of Japanese Art, four years after the first Asian objects enter the Museum’s collection. It subsequently expanded to include first Chinese art, then Indian art, and eventually all of Asia, with a chronological spread from prehistoric cultures to contemporary art.
The roundtable will address the question of how best we can advance the understanding of Asian cultures through research on, and presentation of, the visual arts in an encyclopedic museum setting. How do current technologies and new ways of thinking about art affect our curatorial practices, as we expand the range of our collecting activity, continue to explore the vast collection built up over the past 150 years, and develop new ways to present Asian art to 21st-century audiences?
Following an introduction by the chair, five department members will speak briefly on current projects at the MFA. We then invite questions, discussion, and suggestions from our audience regarding these projects or any of our other activities.
Chair: Christina Yu Yu (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair)
Discussants, with the topics for their short presentations:
Laura Weinstein (Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art): Coping with the Canon: Exhibiting the Arts of Islamic Cultures
Fei’er Ying (Curatorial Research Associate of Chinese Art): A Transformative Gift: The Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy
Nancy Berliner (Wu Tung Senior Curator of Chinese Art): New Parameters for Chinese Art: Bapo Painting, Patchwork Textiles and Beyond
Hiroki Takezaki (Ishibashi Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art): Rediscovering Maruyama-Shijo School Paintings in the MFA Collection
Sarah Thompson (Curator, Japanese Art): Japanese Art, Visual Culture, and Digitization